Make Your Corporate Values Mean Something

My first good boss was so much better than good. Her name was Camille and she was incredible. Camille taught me more about work and life than I believe she’ll ever know. I credit her for seeing my potential and starting my marketing career.

See, my first job at the company was in sales. As I learned more about what Camille did every day and how marketing worked, I was intrigued. I liked the idea of lead generation so much more than cold-calling. Then, Camille took me on my first business lunch to offer me a job. She introduced me to sushi that day, too. It’s my favorite food now. 

From day 1, Camille treated me like a friend and someone she trusted with every lesson she had to learn the hard way. I had 0 experience and she treated me like an equal. As I launched and have grown Three Ears Media, I wanted to be Camille for my team. I wanted to be a “good boss.” It was one of the earliest company values – my values. 

Writing The Rules: Why I’m Not Creating Corporate Values

But where do a big company’s values originate? Why do they exist? Often, companies have no clue. I know. I talk to them. But when it came to creating my own, I realized values weren’t going to work. Still, I wanted something my team could unify around that felt like more than words on the wall.

Our customer experience will never exceed the employee experience. So instead of values, I made promises. 

What’s the difference? Values tend to be full of buzzwords and words that make the company’s success so much more important than the people. On the other hand, promises focused on our commitment to each other. Work is not a solitary act, and promises are reminders that we need one another. 

To be Camille, I have to create a genuinely value-oriented team centered on caring for each other and how we can facilitate that growth together. Something different than what I’ve experienced in corporate America. 

The Three Ears Media Promise

As someone trying to create a company where people lead with their heart and get inspired by ideas, it only felt right that we get inspired by a new idea and a fresh take on values. 

in the spirit of transparency, I want to share our first draft with all of you.

  1. Perfection isn’t the goal. Promise you’ll start. 
  2. We only deliver work we’re proud of. 
  3. We carry each other. We each carry our weight.
  4. Make space for flow. Work time doesn’t mean all tasks or pondering realistic dreams. 

I call it a draft because I’m not under the impression they are complete or that they ever will be. We are continually evolving and growing. 

But this is where we will begin. 

I hope you can find a new beginning in this idea too. It doesn’t always make sense to create corporate values. Consider your mission and create content that fits your team and who you want to be.

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Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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