How to Build a Values-Aligned Business: Practicals for Business Owners
Some people start a business to have an impact on the world. Others do it to make money. We believe the highest calling in business is to start companies that do both. But when reality sets in, it’s easy to lose sight of everything except the bottom line.
In this post, OneAscent’s founder and CEO, Harry Pearson, shares his thoughts on starting and building a values-aligned business. To do this, business leaders must focus on both the fundamental values that guide the impact they hope to have on the world and core measures of business success. Maintaining this focus is challenging, but it is also tremendously rewarding.
This is our second blog in a series based on an interview with Harry. Click here to read the first post in the series.
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A Vision for a Values-Aligned Business
Your vision, mission, and core values are the foundation for building a values-aligned business. What matters most to you, and what impact do you want to have? Harry wanted to build a career that harmonized his love for people, passion for finance, and desire to build a business that would serve people well.
But his vision, mission, and values are centered around one fundamental question. Who is the owner?
If you are the owner, you can build your business for personal gain with little regard for its impact on others. But if God is the owner, we are in a different role with a different standard. When God is the owner, we are the steward, and our actions must be pleasing to him.
In remembering that God is the owner, Harry developed a vision that has helped guide the countless decisions and processes involved in building a values-aligned business. It also helped Harry develop a perspective on helping clients grow in stewardship, contentment, generosity, and faith.
What Makes A Values-Aligned Business Different?
When running a business, most day-to-day decisions center around three questions:
- How do I get more clients?
- How do I deliver value to the clients I am currently serving?
- How do I run a profitable business?
Those are important questions that every business must answer, but they don’t say much about your vision, mission, and core values. With his perspective as a steward running a business owned by God, Harry adds 2 additional questions to this list.
- How do we develop our team?
- How can we be ambassadors for the gospel?
Developing a Team
Harry instituted a focus on team development by building an Organizational Development department that plays the role carried out by Human Resources in most organizations. Our Organizational Development department exists to find and equip the right people, spur innovation, and budget time and resources for professional and personal development for each employee.
Harry believes every person has a unique calling and empowering OneAscent team members to live that calling out aligns with his vision. So each OneAscent team member has time every quarter to work on dreams and goals for their future, and OneAscent helps them turn their vision into a personal development plan. For Harry and OneAscent, investing in our people is one of the most important aspects of living aligned with our values.
Ambassadors for the Gospel
Because God is the owner, Harry sees our work as a ministry. This means we must be mindful of our role as ambassadors of the gospel, both individually and as a team.
We want to be generous with our time, talents, and treasure as a company and individually, so OneAscent partners with six strategic ministries. The company takes the lead by donating 20% of our net income to these ministry partners.
We also have ministry KPIs that build on our business KPIs. For example, we keep up with how often employees share the gospel. When an employee goes on their first local or international mission trip, we pay the total cost for the employee and 50% for their spouse.
Challenges in Maintaining A Values-Aligned Business
As you build your business around your vision, mission, and values, you will face numerous challenges prioritizing values alignment. A slow quarter might increase the focus on profits. Seasons of rapid growth might prioritize business agility and quick decision-making.
One of the best ways to stay on track is to surround yourself with trusted mentors who can keep you grounded and hold you accountable. Do you have a care or advisory team that has the same desires and passions for a values-aligned business as you? Harry recommends maintaining an active relationship with both spiritual and business mentors. And the best advice will usually come from individuals who bring wisdom from both perspectives.
Your Next Step
Building a values-aligned business isn’t a checklist but a journey. Our advisors work with businesses like yours to discover how they can impact the world around them while prospering.
To learn more about values-aligned investing and how you can get involved, click here.
Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation! We would love to walk with you through this journey.