Organisational Values: How we walk the talk

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There are countless organisations who speak about their values openly and proudly. They rattle off their impressive suite including words like ‘integrity’, ‘teamwork’ and so on. But what do these words actually mean? How do these organisations implement their values and how do they help guide behaviour? It’s one thing to write down a list of words that sound good but implementing them daily is a whole other kettle of fish.

Interchange is an extremely values-driven business, and we encourage our clients to be the same way. If you spent even one day with the Interchange team, you would see just how embedded our values are in the way we work.

We recruit against them, they act as a decision-making framework, we use them to structure our feedback and we incorporate them into our everyday language internally and externally.

We even use them in our Monday morning WIP meetings, where each team member awards a ‘value share’, specifically giving kudos to a colleague who has demonstrated one (or a multitude) of our values during the week gone by.

Though in saying all of this, what we have realised is that we haven’t yet put on public display how we live our values. For an organisation that helps businesses align their values to their purpose, strategy and culture, it seems rather odd that we haven’t done that yet. If we’re going to talk the talk, we kind of have to show you how we walk the walk, right? So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

 

What is valuable to us?

Ahem *clears throat* the Interchange values are as follows:

  • Creativity
  • Accountability
  • Results
  • Excellence
  • Shits and Giggles

Each one of these words come together to form the acronym ‘C.A.R.E.S’, a word that also plays a part in our suite of values. In fact, ‘Cares’ acts as our overarching one, encompassing everything that we do.

If we’re going to be fully transparent though, we are going to have to do a little more than just list them, aren’t we? By this point I’m sure you’re dying to know exactly how we implement things like ‘creativity’ and ‘shits and giggles’ into our day-to-day. Well, here comes the breakdown.

 

The team in Daylesford during our 2019 conference

 

Creativity:

As a management consultancy that specialises in creative solutions, this value is firmly placed at the top of the list. When preparing for an internal or external project, one of the first things we ask ourselves is ‘what is the creative element in this project?’.

We love to surprise the market with our offerings, providing never before seen solutions that are sure to engage and entertain the intended audience.

To draw out our inventive talents, we ensure that we create a space where people feel safe and comfortable enough to shed the ways of old and explore all of their ideas – no matter how wacky they may be. We bounce off one another in brainstorming sessions, iterating an idea over and over, allowing it to grow larger and more creative as we go along. We also engage in inclusive decision making, ensuring that every team member feels heard and that their ideas are valued.

Accountability:

Accountability is a big one for us. As a small business, it is essential that each team member is accountable equally for their work, actions and behaviours. We encourage vulnerability and autonomy within our team and by doing so, we inspire individuals to feel comfortable stepping up and making decisions.

Each Interchanger holds their position with us for a myriad of reasons, but in order for them to unleash their full potential, our team must feel empowered to lead their portion of the business. Though with that, comes a strong need for accountability – one cannot exist without the other.

Before any project, we set clear expectations so that each team member knows exactly what they need to deliver on and in what timeframe. From there, we charge forward, taking full responsibility over the progress and outcomes of our work and our actions.

 

Salty always takes accountability over his work

 

Results:

For all businesses, results are rather essential. It is obvious, but if teams aren’t achieving results, then it’s unlikely that the business will be standing for much longer. Whilst this does ring true for us, there is also an additional context in which our results value resides.

At Interchange, we not only value our own success, but we are also invested in the results that our clients achieve too. Each time we finish up a project, you’ll never see us dust off our hands and disappear into the sunset. No. We’ll be more like your biggest hype team, cheering you on as you move forward.

As a consultancy, we pride ourselves on being able to scope out the areas of opportunity within a business and then back it up with a foolproof solution. We’re not about ticking boxes around here. We truly thrive on how meaningful our work is to our clients. Their results are our results – we are a team.

 

Excellence: 

When conducting our daily dealings, our aim will never be to simply meet expectations. To some that may be enough. Some clients may even believe it is enough. To us though? Never.

We like to see the expectations laid out in front of us and then absolutely smash them out of the park. No matter what the project is, we will always be chasing that ‘wow’, ‘mind-blown’, ‘this is way better than we ever imagined’ kind of reaction.

Before wrapping up any of our design phases, we ask ourselves ‘Is this creative enough? How can we push it one step further? How can we make it excellent?’ This line of questioning is just part of our workflow. It’s what takes our work to a whole other level, leaving clients reeling in amazement.

 

Shits and Giggles:

Ah, the art of shits and giggles. It sounds contradictory, but this is a value we take quite seriously. To embody the Interchange ethos, we always make time to have a laugh with one another and share stories from our personal lives – this is just our day-to-day and a huge contributor to our incredible organisational culture.

You can often find us having lunch together or celebrating team members birthdays over cake. We even go as far as to host our much-anticipated monthly team days, where we get out of the office and partake in somewhat unique and invigorating activities to bond as a team. Just this week we went indoor skydiving as part of our monthly team days!

We absolutely love to have a giggle and spend time together outside of the work context. The conscious effort makes for one very close-knit, energetic team and it also keeps the positive and collaborative working culture bubbling away.

 

Melissa during her indoor skydiving flight

 

Cares:

Due to the fact that the Interchange team somewhat resembles a (well-functioning) family, the ‘cares’ value is rather intuitive for us. Every single one of us brings our whole self to work, meaning that we talk openly about what is going on in our lives. We trust and know each other like we do our friends, which in turn means that we care and have empathy for one another.

So, when we know that someone in our team isn’t doing so well, or we sense that something may be a little off, we always go to the effort to reach out and check in with them. Without thinking, we will always offer up our support in whatever form is needed at the time. Through thick and thin, we know that the Interchange team has each other’s back.

 

Now it’s your turn

So, there you have it. The inside scoop on the Interchange ethos. We don’t just harp on about values for the sake of it. We truly practice what we preach while walking the talk. Believe us when we say that we wouldn’t be where we are today without our strong approach to values. Now it’s time for every business to pull the dusty book of values off the shelf and give them a bit of a freshen up. If you need a hand, you know where to find us!

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