What if your business had a “Values Day?”

Look at the Slideshare above, and specifically head on over to Slide No. 32. It should look something like this:

Business Values Day

This seems like a good idea. Think about it like this: when you’re a kid, a lot of schools have a Field Day/Color Day/some such at the end of the year. This is usually pretty aspirational and kids look forward to it for weeks, if not months. (I’m a rather simple person, admittedly, but I know I looked forward to it.)

What if companies did the same thing?

So it’s a little bit bigger than just a massive company picnic (which ESPN, where I used to work, does) but it’s a combination of (a) celebration, (b) families coming together, and (c) some time to talk openly and honestly about what the company is and how that’s changed in the past year or so.

The problem with most places I’ve worked or observed is that these types of conversations only happen at the senior leadership level, and then the rest of us are told “OK, this is the value structure going forward.” That doesn’t work. Values/missions/ideas about purpose/communication are too big conceptually to be handed to other people. They need to be developed in concert with other people; it’s a little bit like “story-making” vs. “story-telling.”

If you think about base human psychology — and/or something the travel industry has been doing pretty well, marketing-wise, for decades — a lot of anything is about anticipation. You set something up, be it a trip, a date with your spouse, a purchase that will arrive in a week, a guys’ weekend, etc. Once you set up, about 50 percent of the total value of the actual end product is anticipating that it will come.

So what if companies set up “Values Day” and it was this really big spectacle of an event where everyone was together — multiple offices, remote employees — and it began with real discussions, a few breakouts, and some modeling of where things should head? And then the afternoon/evening was a big party?

I feel this could work, because you’d be hitting these concepts:

  • Shared purpose-building
  • Families
  • Celebration
  • Partying
  • Anticipation
  • Transparent communication
  • Bringing people together

This definitely feels more tangible than a bunch of C-Suiters coming and telling me, “Now we’re focused on shared values and communication, but in reality we just want to hit margins and 11 percent growth and hope you drive towards that for us.”

Could this idea go over where you work?

Ted Bauer


  1. Thank you for reminding us of of this. I used to talk about values over lunch once every three months to our entire team. I guess, over time, busyness overtook good intentions. I am starting this again this month itself.
    Thank you for your posts which, as a business owner I find rather insightful and helps me keep the team happier and more committed.

    Ashit Luthra

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