How to Incorporate Purpose and Values to Build a Thriving Workplace

How to Incorporate Purpose and Values to Build a Thriving Workplace

In this interview preview, Nick Hughes shares how purpose and values can be integrated into the workplace for greater success.

Nick Hughes: Founder, Founders Live, Elevating Entrepreneurial Equality Around The World.

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How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?

Nick: It starts from valuing transparency and communication within the organization. If you think about the basis of your question, it’s frankly around, do people feel their voice matters? That definitely comes from the leadership that institutes values that are baked into what it means to be an employee of that organization.

It shouldn’t matter what level people are at the organization. People should feel that their voice matters.

It also revolves around the DNA of the organization. From leadership down, what it means to be a member of that organization? How does their voice matter and are they heard? I think communication and the methods of communication implemented throughout the organization are very important.

For example, weekly touchpoint and all-hands meetings. Even large tech companies still do town hall or all-hands meetings that may be viewed or listened to virtually. But people are gathering where the CEO and/or leaders are open to addressing and answering questions in a very honest, open, and authentic way. Those are just some examples of how you can bake those types of experiences into the organization providing a mechanism to recognize voices.

What’s interesting is that having an open idea forum fosters innovation within the organization. Let’s say a junior employee brings ideas to the table that end up being implemented and become a revenue-generating new feature or product. If we recognize them as the original idea generator for this new feature that is now publicly known, then recognizing people for something like that goes a long way in having voices heard.

You’ve created a global community for entrepreneurs that has attracted over 10,000 members and a network of over 40 local groups worldwide. What is it about Founders Live that has allowed it to flourish when so many other entrepreneurial groups exist already?

Nick: Founders Live is a community that is both an online Internet community and a local event. It’s also a global system and platform for entrepreneurship. What seem to be attractive are our core values and the things we baked into it that make it meaningful. So you’re right, there are many startup entrepreneurial communities, but I don’t see many that so openly speak about their core values. I don’t even see they have them.

The first core value is about respectful authenticity, embracing the uniqueness of everyone, and including people of all genders, races, and background.

The first core value is respectful authenticity. In actuality, it’s really about inclusion and respecting each person as an individual. Not only are you there as your authentic self but you also respect everyone else. This is also about inclusion and accepting all people because entrepreneurship is about everyone. It doesn’t look like a certain skin color or gender. Unfortunately, many communities don’t act that way. Our first core value is about respectful authenticity, embracing the uniqueness of everyone, and including people of all genders, races, and background. That’s why people are very much interested in Founders Live. It’s our core number one value.

The second core value is storytelling. As an entrepreneur, you need to craft a compelling story about what you’re building or creating. What problem are you solving? What’s your solution? What product are you bringing to the market? Why is it important? Crafting a story that inspires people to follow you and use your product—that’s hugely important. Successful companies have figured out a way to market and tell a story that brings people together. Storytelling is our second core value. It’s about how to embrace storytelling in a unique way.

The third value is open the door. That’s about doing great things for people without expecting a return. It’s about helping others without expecting to get paid because it will come back to you. When you help someone else, it will come back to you in an unexpected way. It’s that energetic yin and yang. You’re in a great community when people do that for each other.

The last core value is what we call no name tags. It’s an analogy for how we strive to create a fun, enjoyable atmosphere without the awkwardness. If you’ve been to any business networking events, they can be awkward. We’ve placed a value on keeping things fun and fresh, recognizing there are certain things you include in an event that keep them loose and enjoyable.

People find Founders Live attractive because there’s a purpose behind it. What I’ve learned is that building a community is putting meaningfulness and purpose behind it. With the right core values, you attract the right people and you probably repel some people. It makes sense.

In an interview here, Jon Mertz introduced the idea of workplaces as communities. As the founder of a successful worldwide community, how does that idea translate into the workplace from your point of view?

Nick: As Founders Live internal organization and operating team grow, we’ll bring a lot of that thinking into our organization. I believe what he’s saying is that the basis of community is the commonality of values that people either outwardly or inwardly accept. Communities can be identified by their values.

When you look at your workplace, incorporate your purpose and values in the way that a community communicates and in the way people treat each other.

If you go the opposite direction and proclaim these are our rules, it’s a very stern environment. A community is more about shared values, communication, and openness. How does the leadership relate toward everyone else? What’s the communication style? How are we respecting everyone? How is our voice valued? That’s all community based.

Note: This is a preview of the full interview. The complete interview was selected by Apress for publication and continues in The Future of the Workplace.