I have spent some time this week looking into growth opportunities for our company. When I am in need of inspiration, I often read articles and books by authors with experience in areas I am thinking about. I also will have discussions (one-on-one) with people whose opinion I trust and value to get an outside view of where we are and what I have in mind for the future.

Oddly enough, I was forced to look at my own advice to a friend this week. In a meeting with this friend, who is also a client, I shared something with him that I thought was vital to his upcoming business venture. That advice was “Be true to yourself and who you are as a company.” The next day, while reading a book on business principles, I read a similar comment by the author.

Is it really that simple? Have I been making it harder than it needs to be? Yes, on both counts!

At this point, I was reminded that this advice applied to me, as well.

The Core Values of a Company

After a bit of contemplation on my part, I started wondering about my company’s core values and who we are professionally. It struck me that I might be trying to become something I am not or to lead my company down a path that does not align with who we are at the core.

I wanted to pass along my musings in this area, so that maybe they would help others who are facing the same situations in their professional life. I certainly don’t claim to have all of the answers. I am still exploring this concept myself.

Truth in Business

I’m not really certain what constitutes Truth in a business. Mostly, I feel it is being comfortable with what makes your company different from the rest. Personally, the best Steve I can be is the Steve who is really me. I guess you would say authentic.

The same is true of a company. While this will look different from one company to the next, we will all be evaluated by the work we do, how we do that work and the clients we serve.

The Difference Is the Key

No two people are alike and by the same token, no two businesses are alike, either.

For example, there are lots of differences between my friend and myself. These differences stem from both personality traits and the way we deal with others. You see, my friend is an extrovert and I am an Introvert.

As an Introvert, I tend to internalize things and think on them for a long time before I make a move. As I said, I will read and take advice from one-on-one meetings with others.

My friend, the Extrovert, is more likely to seek counsel from a group mentality. You know, a brainstorming session with several colleagues. We each have different methods that work for us.

The trouble arises when we try to be something that we are not!

Transgressions of  Trust

This is something I have come to realize is true of many businesses. Sometimes in an effort to grow a business, companies will forget their “Roots” and start working toward goals that don’t fit well into their corporate identity. This becomes evident when the company forgets about their clients and tries to target an area that does not align with their core values.

Some recent examples can be seen with campaigns that totally missed the mark, by giants like Dove and Pepsi. Another example of a company that has taken fire recently for seeming to have lost its core vision, is Facebook.

Facebook is currently under fire for its part in the last presidential election and for the way it handles the ads which are viewed on their platform. Critics claim that Facebook has gotten away from their core foundation as a social (person-to-person) site. They took their eyes off the ball and are paying a price for that transgression of trust.

I’m not saying we should never change, grow or adapt. What I am getting at is that we stay true to who we are as we change, grow and adapt.

Why Is Trust Important for a Business?

After typing that headline, it occurred to me that if you have to ask that question, maybe we are in bigger trouble than I thought. I am not going to go into detail about why trust is important as a business. I am just going to give you a few reminder points.

  • People buy from people and businesses they trust.
  • People trust those who prove themselves trustworthy.
  • Trusted businesses stand out from the crowd.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I’m not really sure where this is all leading, at least on my end. I am just beginning to evaluate what it means to be me, both personally and professionally. I have tried to keep my business life simple, if that is possible. I have long lived under the mantra that ” I work to live, but I don’t live to work.” For me, family has always come first, but as my children branch out into their own lives, I am evaluating what that means, now.

I do know that it is about balance. That is the way I have always run my business and my life.

Checking In

If you have made it this far in this post, I wonder what your thoughts are on this matter. Where does your truth belong in your business life? Leave a message in the comments and let me know.