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The Importance of Values

Last week I gave a presentation to a group of CEOs, and was asked to talk about some of the challenges and lessons in growing a successful company. One of the areas that I focused on was the need to determine what values you wanted your company to have. As a part of that process you also determine the culture that the company will develop.

As mentioned many times through this blog I am a Steven Covey fan and his belief is that companies should be based upon sound principles. If you develop these principles and always adhere to them, even through tough times, then you build a sound foundation for the future. I absolutely agree with that point of view.

Eagle's core values represent our company principles and are expressed in three words ... Team, Integrity and Excellence. These three words lie at the core of every decision we make at Eagle. Over the years this has been very helpful when we have been faced by challenges ... even if the decision has cost us money or opportunities, we have always felt that by being true to our core principles we were doing the right thing.

If your company does "whatever it takes" to win business then how can that be an ethical company?

If you are willing to compromise your values to get ahead then what kind of person are you?

If all companies played by ethical rules then perhaps we would not have had the Enron, Worldcom and Tyco type of situations. Perhaps governments would not have needed to bring in laws that cost companies enormous amounts of money to ensure that shareholders are not defrauded.

Where does that level of deception begin? If you found a company based upon dubious moral ground, then you can bet it isn't going to get any better! We all know the companies that "do anything for a buck", are willing to bend rules to suit their needs, ignore the fact that their actions might be a "little dubious". Do good people really want to work for places like that? How do they keep going?

All I know is that I am proud of what we do at Eagle, and I am happy that any decision we make is one that everyone in the company can be proud of!

So my advice to budding entrepreneurs is to pay close attention to what kind of company they are creating, and build a company on a sound foundation that anyone would be proud to work for!