Your ideology is made up of your business’ values and purpose. But you can’t create it. It’s a journey of discovery. Once you’ve begun this journey though, you’ll find business decision easier to make. You’ll prevent yourself from making poor business decisions, and you’ll motivate your employees.
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In a couple of episodes previous to this one, we talked about the two components that make up your company’s ideology: the values and the purpose. It takes some digging to discover these two things, but once you do, you’ve found your company’s ideology.
Not Created, but Discovered
According to an hbr.org article that I read, your company’s ideology isn’t created. Even if you were to hire a consulting company to help you, they’d still be helping you to discover your ideology.
This entire process is a path to discovery. But once you identify those values and your company’s purpose, it will help you with all internal decision-making issues.
Guiding Your Business Decision-Making
If any opportunity comes along, you can revert back to whether it holds to your values or serves the company’s purpose.
No matter your business size, going on this journey helps you stay true to your business.
If you’re an entrepreneur listening to this, you’ve probably experienced a situation in which you did anything if you got paid for it. Entrepreneurs are very susceptible to saying “yes” when they shouldn’t. Even to the point where it draws them away from their core ideology and what makes them the happiest.
This can happen in big businesses too. When certain businesses acquire other businesses, sometimes you say, “Oh, that’s, that’s interesting. I wouldn’t have expected them to buy that.”
It could be possible that the company is attempting to purchase infrastructure or talent to further business goals that are tied to their ideology.
However, it can also be a sign that they had an opportunity to buy another business, so they did. This could be drawing them further away from their ideology.
Getting Back on Track!
One great example of a company realigning with their ideology was 3M, who divested themselves of certain parts of their business to get back to what their purpose was.
Another example that comes to mind is of L-3, a company I used to work for. They had a business component, which was language services for the government, which they packaged up and sold off to the company I ended up working for, CACI International Inc.
I have to imagine that had you been a fly in the room where those decisions were made, it might’ve been just that: the language services.
While yes, a vital service to the government and it did bring in money, didn’t line up with L-3’s vision for the future and ideology. That’s a reason why a company may choose to divest themselves of certain business divisions that they hold, even if those divisions are profitable.
Authenticity in the Modern Era
You cannot create ideology, because that would be inauthentic. And we are in the era of supremely authentic marketing. If you are not authentic in your marketing, everyone can tell. You have to stay true to yourself.
Your Ideology Lies Beyond Simple Ethics
And keep in mind that it’s a journey, so it’s not something that you do in a day. You want to be an ethical business person. When you look at your values beyond that, you have to specifically decide what matters to you.
If You’re a Small Business…
If you’re a small business, it’s fine if your ideology is still evolving in the first few years of your business. You will learn new things about yourself, as well as your business.
Your ideology should be the beacon that lights the way into your future. It should be something similar to a rallying cry.
If You’re a Solo Business…
If you’re a solo business, it should be something you can always go back to. That’s the soul of your business.
If You Have Employees…
But if you’re a business with employees, your ideology should be something that lights the fire in your employees. It could serve as a qualifier or disqualifier for new employees.
So it’s not like a differentiating factor that you would use in your marketing, but you could be more motivated. Your employees could be more motivated because they believe in your ideologies.
The results of holding that ideology tightly to one’s chest are that your employees may outperform your competitors’ employees because they truly believe in the ideology that you’ve set.
Stable, but Shifting when Necessary
The big thing here is that your ideology should endure, in spite of this ever-changing, technologically advanced world. And if there’s ever any part of your ideology that just doesn’t feel right, then you have to let it go.
Most entrepreneurs change the way they express their ideology, even if the ideology itself stays the same. The words that you use to express your ideology may change. This change is a great opportunity to help your employees better resonate with your ideology.
All right, so that’s us wrapping up our series on company ideologies. Don’t forget the two key components: your values and your purpose wrapped together, which creates your company’s reason for existing.
This has been an episode of The Defiant Business Podcast. Go ahead and leave us a comment, wherever it is that you’ve found us. We’d love to have a discussion with you.