Four years ago I wrote a blog about work culture, in relation to my previous business, digital strategic consultancy, Zuni. Today, I’m the co-founder of another startup marketing agency, Banter Group. Our small and growing team has achieved amazing results in the six months since we started.

As our team grows, the importance of culture surfaced again and I re-read my previous blog. I still agree with all the sentiments, but it was humbling to realise I had admitted my mistake in creating my previous business core values in isolation from the team.

Starting Banter Group provided an opportunity do approach things differently. A fresh start. And with my new-found startup experience, we started with creating our core values together, led by a professional facilitator that could draw out the insights from each of us and yet pull them together cohesively. That amazing facilitator was Lucinda Mitchell from Tangello, who I was lucky enough to meet through a Herd Conversation@Collab down at The Mill.

We thought we were clear about the vision for the business, the core values, the expectations, and yet the process highlighted this wasn’t wholly the case. Through collaborating with our foundation team, it meant the outcome was concise, aligned, agreed and, quite simply terrific. Our new vision uncovered our core values… which made me ask myself, what exactly is a value? And that’s when I re-read my old blog. Values aren’t statement words. Values are behaviours.

I still believe in the values and behaviours I articulated in 2014, however the one that stands out as essential is to treat the business as if it were your own. If everyone in the team applies this behaviour to their decision making, risk taking and work ethic, you’re well on your way to having the right recipe for success. It requires trust and respect between eachother, along with being respectful of our clients’ business details and the intimacy of knowledge about their brands. But it is paramount in creating the culture that then breeds within.

The benefits of this behaviour, core to the culture, is essentially delivering freedom to create the most flexible and rewarding working environment you can imagine.

Behaviours breed culture. Culture breeds freedom. Freedom breeds happiness. And a happy, cohesive and aligned team creates great outcomes. Exciting times!

Image credit: Eiko Ojala