Founder, what are your company’s vision and values?

Shoham Levy

The Israeli IDF has been surrounded by myths for years. A small and poor army defeated enemies for years on end? How did it develop such sophisticated technology and tactics? 

Unfortunately, officers and soldiers have never been able to enjoy many luxuries of resources and budgets. But they still fight and dedicate their lives to the mission. They sometimes heard something in their homes before joining the army, and that made an impression on their minds. From the very beginnings of the state of Israel, the feelings and narrative of giving all you have to the country become a value.  Those values stem from the mission soldiers were given: we have no choice but to win the battle and sometimes we are weaker than our enemies. Winning or dying.

Even though it seems so crucial when establishing a company, values are not always part of the first steps.  Today, many tech companies fail to follow this rule. Perhaps it is the competition abroad, or perhaps it has something to do with the past. Regardless, values and mission are at the heart of everything you do. The employees who don’t have it would get lost, or just leave whenever they feel they are doing what they are doing for no reason. 

As employees face obstacles and challenges, that is why values are meaningful. Values affect our mental thinking, recognition, and how we act in situations. Values are recognized among potential clients and not only by your employees. In order to succeed in business, you need to define values that employees and clients can articulate with their peers.  

When money becomes a value, what happens?

Employees are more likely to adhere to the company’s mission if values are embedded in its culture. Maintaining the mission at all times is quite evident when the team works together. 

When money becomes the value of the company occasionally, bad things can happen. Assume there is a negative economic cycle and the founder decides to call a meeting with all the employees. “The company will not touch your salary during these hard times, but we will not be able to fund company events”, the Co-Founder and CEO told his employees in a meeting following the Nasdaq crash. 

Management has a problem when employees leave these meetings feeling they are about to leave. In life, money is important, as are other benefits, but when they are the main reason to stay in a job, there is something wrong. 

How can the mission be defined in such a way that employees will adhere to it?

It’s not a simple question. As an employer, you must think like your employees and what motivates them. The founders, employees, and mission of the organization are all aligned. If you define the company’s mission accurately, all the company’s goals will be achieved together.

Since the job market has changed dramatically in recent years, keep that in mind when defining the company’s mission. The reason is not just the Covid 19 crisis, but also the dominance of the Z and Y generations, who are totally different from previous generations. Younger generations are always searching for meaning. Neither do they want to waste their lives or their days doing nothing but work. 

What are the values and who to define values?

Values are derived from the main mission of the company.

Values are not only set for the founding of a company, but also for a very active approach in everything we do. Starting from the very first day that employees begin their new roles and continuing as the company achieves new milestones. When external powers grow stronger, it is more difficult to obey these rules. Take the new technology ecosystem, for instance. Ecosystem norms affect your business as well and sometimes contradict your values.

In Startups are not flooded with funding, venture capitalists are more cautious about investing because Nasdaq-listed companies didn’t meet the expectations. This is a different situation from before.

Money is the biggest threat on values

No matter what you do, money hurts values. Money is the biggest threat to keeping your values ahead in a tech world flooded with prosperity and successful stories. 

Every startup has to overcome that obstacle. Success brings challenges. Take a look at a unicorn startup. Employees at this company have worked very hard in the recent years to achieve this great success, and the feeling is that it’s time to celebrate. Since other unicorns have caused huge events in the past, should we put the values aside this time and just celebrate? In hosting an event, what messages are being sent to the outside world? The answers to these questions are not simple. Every solution has its own consequences. We tell our employees that our main mission is to focus on them when we stick to our values and choose the modest approach. There will be a team building event, allowing participants to meet the other parts of the organization, their cultures, and their day jobs. Even if the particular assignment has nothing to do with what they do for a living, we know that others will be able to assist us. Values are what matter.