Keep your values front and center

By Beth Caron

Recently I wrote about Great Clips’ positive company culture and how important it is to our professional and personal success. I mentioned that cultures don’t just materialize—at least the good ones don’t. They are carefully designed and nurtured, based on company values.

You can’t have one—a positive culture—without the other—clearly articulated values. And having good values isn’t enough. They have to be clearly communicated, then practiced.

We do have core values at the Great Clips corporate office and we do live by them. We’re proud of them and they certainly aren’t a secret.

But we may not have been as diligent in describing them as clearly and talking about them as often as we should. Great companies, large or small, franchisor or franchisee, keep their values front and center. So recently, Great Clips CEO Rhoda Olsen has been working on defining our values in a way that makes them easy to communicate.

Rhoda says it’s still a work in progress, but here are her early thoughts on “What Makes Us Great,” and the behaviors that support those values and contribute to our successful company culture.

We start here, with these statements of philosophy:

“At Great Clips, strong relationships are at the heart of our individual and company success. The relationships we build with each other and our franchisees are grounded in our core values.”

Our first core value is, “We are kind.”

Whether you are an individual or a firm, that’s a straightforward statement that can’t help but form the basis of good character. And I don’t think it’s insignificant that kindness is first on our list of values. It is truly at the heart of our company and we show it every day in how we treat each other through these Supporting Behaviors:

  • Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
  • Be humble and act honorably.
  • Express gratitude.
  • Respect and value everyone’s role in our company’s success – home office employees, franchisees, managers and stylists.
  • Support each other’s success.

We believe that kindness is so critical to our business model that we use it as a guide when qualifying prospective franchisees. Butch Gladden, a Franchise Development Manager with Great Clips, said there have been times when he had to tell candidates he didn’t think Great Clips was the right business model for them.  One example was when a candidate treated people rudely. “This is a people business,” says Butch. “If you’re not good with people, this is not the business for you. That’s okay.”

We have other values focused on communication, integrity, excellence and innovation, but I think it says a lot about a company when the first one is so simple: Be kind.

What’s the first value at your company? How does it impact how you do business?

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