Monday, 22 October 2012

Creating a compass for your business life

Some businesses are value-led: they have a strong sense of purpose, they have a mission or an ethos, they only work with certain types of clients. It can be easier making decisions in a value-led business - if the organisation gets lost or struggles with how to make a decision, they can check against their values. Those values become part of the operating manual for the business.

When I was on my trip to Barcelona at the beginning of October I found a delightful neighbourhood coffee shop - Cafe Cosmo, on Carrer d'Enric Granados. I felt instantly at home there and as I sat with my espresso I got out my notepad and without thinking, started a list. I headed it ‘My Charter’ and there and then, with no editing, quickly cranked out a list of twenty do’s and don’ts. I hadn’t planned doing it, but the vibe in Cafe Cosmo that morning gave me a sudden focus and clarity to articulate what matters most in my business life.

Until last Thursday that list was just between me and the pages of my Moleskine. But then I happened to have a coffee with David Hieatt, (ex-founder of howies clothing, founder of The Do Lectures, the entrepreneur behind Hiut Denim). We were talking about the values behind David’s restaurant venture The 25 Mile. And as we talked about the values at the heart of his business life, I remembered something that used to be on the walls of the howies shops he’d founded. It was a big list in the changing rooms of twenty seven lessons he’d learned, there for everyone to see.

As I remembered David’s list I realised something - my Barcelona list captured my values: this is my own compass to guide me when I get lost. For when I don’t know whether to take that meeting, to work with that client, how to take that decision: I can look at my charter. David’s story encouraged me to go further and post my list up on my own ‘shop wall’ - here it is below.

(thanks for helping to connect the dots David...)

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