Our Values and Why They Matter

by Joanne Verkuilen, Founder + Managing Partner

“The basic philosophy, spirit and drive of an organization have far more to do with its success than do technological or economic resources, structure, innovation and timing.” – In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters

Defined organizational values deeply matter to the health and growth of an organization. This is not a ground-breaking statement.

But, can the right values help drive strategy? Can they serve to catalyze your team and your collective effort to create something meaningful?

When I asked a private equity client recently what his five-year goal was for the firm, his answer blew me away.  He said:

 “Right now, we support 10 families in total.  A good goal would to be to support 20 families in five years.”

What a great example of a value-system that drives strategy, and helps to define success for them as an organization and as individuals. It goes without saying we are extremely proud to call this particular firm a client.

It’s my goal to not just pay lip service to our defined values. We live them, day in and day out. They are quickly becoming the fabric that underlies our work and passion. And I believe that for values to truly matter within an organization, they need to not only be understood by the team, but adopted as their own at the individual level. 

We decided – as a team – that the following values would be our guide in our work. And you will notice again that these values are not “organization values.”  They are more individual in nature. Aren’t organizations simply groups of individuals?  We check in weekly and have even developed KPIs that are helping to track our success towards them:

Joanne Verkuilen MiddleM Creative

1. Enjoy the process. 

Sounds simple, but it is so fundamental. We truly believe that working each day from a place of joy is not only a decision we can make, but drives our performance from a creative and productivity standpoint. When we are happy, our results show it.  If we are struggling and not enjoying something, we speak up and figure out a solution together as a team. Read more about how we approach joy and fulfillment every single day

2. Have a growth mindset.    

Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking research in fixed versus growth mindset has demonstrated the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, and how changing even the simplest of them can have a profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives. We believe in having a growth mindset in which we thrive on challenge and see failure as a springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. We are constantly challenging ourselves, what we believe, what we can learn and how to be better in both our jobs and in our lives.

3. Be proactive and provide the best work possible.  

On every assignment, project and client engagement, we serve to bring our full creativity to bear and execute with excellence and integrity. We provide ideas, solutions and work to create an environment where we are providing greater value than expected. 

4. Be transparent, honest and don’t complain.

What you see is what you get with us. We will provide direct and honest communication, and recommend solutions that fit the problem. We refrain from complaining about situations, other people and things we cannot control.  We recognize that sometimes this will be the path less traveled, but we will embrace it accordingly.

Joanne Verkuilen