Let me start with bit of pre-history. A little more than three years ago Agro-Know family found its new permanent “laaarge” home (I put quotes because we don’t fit there anymore) . Day by day, month by month the AK family was growing. It was obtaining all the usual attributes of the corporate family – defined job positions, teams and departments, organizational structure, rules here and there… You can read about our organizational changes and structure in the earlier post. Still one of the bright characteristics of AK always was quite a flexible atmosphere without much need for formal discussions and meetings, despite of hard-working schedule. But as long as we added more people at a faster rate, the same internal culture and habits were no more working and were demanding a change.
It was the time for AK management to search for an alternative – to oversee the way we work and to define what our culture is.
In this way, our CEO Nikos Manouselis involved each and every one of the AK team members in conducting the core values of the company. He collected answers on the questions like “How we want to behave?”, “What is the most important in our everyday working life?”, “What are our values?” After quite a short time the long list with the values was drawn; and in a very simple way we selected the top ten of our corporate values.
Here we arrived to the second round of the values’ selection. Again, by involving every one of the AK team members, we refined all the values and adjusted them to our common understanding and beliefs. You would ask why we take it so seriously. The answer is quite simple. We are in the process of establishing a “Constitution” of our company, “declaration of Agro-Know’ers rights” if you like this definition better, which we will protect and defend. Moreover, Agro-Know due to its Athenian location, the birthplace of democracy, does not have any other choice than to function according to the Ancient Greek principles 🙂
And now we are in front of our third and, I believe, one of the most difficult tasks; values to be embedded and socialized, values to come alive in the organization, by constantly and consciously reinforcing them in multiple ways – storytelling, establishing value of the month, hands-on sessions, through identifying examples from our everyday work life. As the first step, we have run one hands-on seminar dedicated to AK core values few days ago, where some real examples and stories from the past and everyday work life, illustrating how and where one of the core values was in action (or maybe was not!!!). When ending hands-on session we asked each team member to think and share a story on how they see and interpret one of our ten core values:
1. Focus on value. We put every resource that we have in good use by focusing only on what brings value to our company, our clients and our colleagues. To achieve this, we are always setting clear goals and we are working towards them.
2. Our people are doers. We enjoy doing things. We love cracking the hard problems. We cannot resist a new challenge. We will be the ones to do the dirty job and make it shine.
3. Learn, Develop, Grow. We embrace change in our business with a view on learning and developing ourselves and our mission. We know that inside each team member there is more potential than we even realize. We work to constantly unlock that potential, both in ourselves and our co-workers. Everyone is open and looking forward to feedback.
4. Respect everyone and be fair. We commit to act with respect and consideration towards our colleagues and clients. We have zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior, independently of the hierarchical level of the aggressor. When we act inappropriately, we apologize promptly – and if needed, publicly. We have the obligation to stand up to our values. We listen to and treat each voice with respect, objectively and non-hierarchically.
5. Empowered people. We trust and believe in our people as the foundation of success. We give our team authority to decide what’s right and act upon their belief. We encourage each and every one of our colleagues to act as a business owner.
6. Creativity, risk and experimentation. We encourage our people to take calculated risks and engage in playful experimentation. We welcome “trial and error” as a cornerstone of learning. We are not afraid to make mistakes because, after all, that’s often the best way to learn. We take risks and are open to are colleagues taking risks too, as long as we learn from them as a team and use them to make better decisions in the future.
7. Serve people, not solutions. We listen to our customer needs and work in order to find ways to serve them. We understand their workflows and the problems that we can help with. We deliver more value than our customers expect. We are all involved in customer service delivery and happiness, regardless of the position or level.
8. Proud delivery. We only undertake work that we can deliver with the highest quality standards that will make us proud; our reputation is more important than any single project.
9. Mother earth inspiration. Our work is not “just a job”, it serves a higher goal and is beyond making profit. Our users are people working on pressing societal challenges and who are trying to find solutions to the problems of this planet. We serve these users because we believe in a better future for ourselves and our children, and it’s part of our work every day to make sure that we can play our role in achieving this.
10. One happy family. We want to build a family, not just a team. We manage our teams fairly, effectively and with a sharp focus on our common goals. We serve those we lead by removing obstacles and enabling our people to succeed. We watch out for each other and care for each other’s happiness.
We will start infiltration of the values on our next Happy Friday on 14th of February – luckily named “Value’ntine’s Day”. I would ask once again each one of Agro-Know’ers to have a look at the list of our values, choose one or two (or all of them) and prepare a short story from our everyday work life, which you would like to share with all the team during this Happy Value’ntine’s Day. And pay the double attention and extra thought on our value of the month! And the first surprise is not that long to wait!
In the comments to this post feel free to speak out your thoughts about the values, express ideas, comments, give examples or even just upload a photo/picture that represents the way you understand the value.
Your contribution is not obligatory in our blog, but we would like to see 18 different comments!! 😉
We will start with the less-voted value and finish with the most-wanted one.
The value of February is – Our people are doers
“We enjoy doing things. We love cracking the hard problems but also devote out effort and energy to deliver the smallest tasks with great care and efficiency. We cannot resist a new challenge. We will be the ones to do the dirty job and make it shine.”