This series covers the 12 Habits of Effective Entrepreneurs. Click here to view previous articles.
Habit #6 – Principles
One of the most beneficial exercises you can do as an entrepreneur is define your values-based principles.
This serves as the guiding light for business decisions and practices. It helps you weigh opportunities. And operating according to those principles engenders trust on the part of your team and those you serve.
Building a business on values-based principles not only helps you know what to do; it also helps you know what not to do.
But it doesn’t happen by accident. Living and leading by principle is a habit you must practice every day.
How can you develop this practice?
Learn Your Values
What are your non-negotiables? What is important to you? What makes you angry? What causes you stress? What fulfills you?
Underlying these questions are values. Here are some examples:
- If lack of action or missing goals makes you angry, results may be a value.
- If working all the time drains you and your team, work-life balance may be a value.
- If meeting needs is important to you, service may be a value.
- If an inferior product frustrates you, quality may be a value.
- If inequity bothers you, fairness may be a value.
- If working out each morning is a non-negotiable, then health may be a value for you.
- If ideas are your lifeblood, then innovation may be a value.
Define Your Principles
Take time to dig into your core value set. Then develop your one to five defining principles based on them.
- If results is a value, then a principle would be that you clearly define and communicate goals on a regular basis in order achieve results.
- If work-life balance is a value, then a principle would be that you set clear boundaries and expectations with your team and those you serve.
- If service is a value, then a principle would be that you provide excellent service.
- If quality is a value, then a principle would be that you have established quality control measures and accountability standards.
The core value is your foundation, and the principle is your stake in the sand of what you will or will not do in the business. It is important that you take the time to think through these and to write them down.
Review Your Values-Based Principles Regularly
Pull them out weekly, monthly, or at least quarterly, and ask yourself if you and the organization are holding true to them. Better yet, post them where you and your team can seem them daily.
Examples of the questions to ask are below.
- Have I clearly defined and communicated the goals for next quarter?
- Are we clear on expectations with the team, and is the workload achievable?
- Are we providing excellent service?
- How are we measuring up to the quality standards we have set?
It is a good idea to also review these regularly with your team.
Good principles are like a compass. They help keep your business going in the right direction. If you adhere to the principles, you support your core values. Making them a habit creates trust across the team and across your customer base. When people know your principles and observe your consistent attention to them, they will respect you and the organization built upon those principles.
- Do you know your core values?
- Have you defined your principles – in writing?
- Do you review them regularly to ensure you are on track?
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer, and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, and using the Maxwell Method, Deb helps leaders and teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results