Cooperation between startups and corporations has numerous benefits for both. It could accelerate startup’s growth and for the corporations, it could be a source of new ideas and new businesses. In the last article I mentioned top 10 burning questions which startups and corporations should answer before they start cooperating. Failing to answer those questions could lead to bigger consequences than lost opportunity. In this article I would like to cover the first, and probably the most important question from the list: “What are your core values and how not to lose them?”
Startups, especially in their early stage, are usually not aware what their core value is and whether they even have one. What they need to know is that their own core values will reflect to the values of the startup. Because, founders of the company are the company they are trying to build. By failing to understand what the values of the team are and what motivates them, this “Startup” ship will not reach its destination. Founders should make sure that every crew member of the ship paddles in the same direction or startup will never succeed.
Move Fast, Break Things (Facebook)
Some of the biggest companies in the history have unique and recognizable core values. When we look at those companies, we see that they are living up to it every day. In the letter to its investors, Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.” Since the early days, when Facebook was comprised from a couple of people, mentioned core value was one of the main drivers for the facebook and the facebook team. Looking back at their magnificent growth and expansion, we see that they lived up to their values and shipped some amazing products.
Deliver WOW Through Service (Zappos)
For the Zappos, one of the world’s biggest online shoe and clothing shops, core values helped the company stay on its tracks trough good and bad times. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, realized that whenever new employee joins the company, he is bringing his own core values to the company. And to make sure that company do not loses its focus; each and every new employee should understand and have the same core values as Zappos. Main value that drives Zappos is the “Deliver WOW through service”. It means doing something unconventionally and innovative every day. Employees should do something beyond expected deeds to their colleagues, clients and partners.
3 steps to kick-ass bullet-proof core values
#1 Start within! The best starting point in developing core values is to ask yourself and your employees, “What motivates me to do what I am doing every day?” Find out what their personal core values are, what they want to change in the world, and how they want to live.
#2 Endure it! Acting according to your core values during the good times is easy. It is only when it comes to the hard times when core values are needed the most. When the hard times come, and I assure you they will, your core values will help in guiding your ship through the storm. If you fail to stick to your core values during hard times, you should ask yourself, if these were your real core values.
#2 Integrate them! Having core values doesn’t mean just having them written on some wall, or to have them buried on some subpage on your corporate web page. Having them means truly acting accordingly every day. Your corporate recruiting, reimbursement and firing should be aligned with the core values your organization nurtures.
Watch out! Corporations don’t live by their core values
When startups want to work with corporations, they should know that corporations have their own set of core values. What is more important is that corporations usually do not live by their core values. That’s why when trying to find a way how to make corporation interested in your startup, you should actually focus on the person you are talking with. You should find out what are the core values of the person which holds your destiny. If your core values are not aligned with the ones of your gatekeeper, it is not the end of the world, but you will have some tough time in front of you. Lucky for you, I have already been there and know how to help you. In the next article I will go in-depth and help you go through the process of aligning your own core values with the ones of the corporation you want to cooperate with. Make sure not to miss the next article from the series by subscribing here.
What are your core values? What are core values of your partners? How would you reconcile differences between them? Tell us in the comments below!