A few years ago I read a book called “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh. He was one of those behind the success of Zappos shoes.
“Who?” you say? Well they are a US outfit that Amazon purchased for 1.2 billlllllion dollars! (*best Dr Evil voice*)
In Zappos they developed a set of core values.
Now I’ve seen this before. The corporation that I worked for before I was a photographer did it and the values were meaningless to me.
Tony encourages companies to build their own value set. Zappos even publish theirs onine. http://about.zappos.com/our-unique-culture/zappos-core-values These guys really live their values at work and also at home.
Well we started pondering what our own values were and what we brought to our business. It was quite a ponder and took us many weeks (and a fair few bottles of wine!) but we got there. Actually it was quite a cathartic exercise as it now allows us freedom to focus on things through this prism. We did borrow from Zappos here and there. These values are pretty much how we live our lives and key elements we want to bring to our business.
Because Zappos found that publishing their values to the world helped them. Well why not?!
This is what we came up with. This is what you’re dealing with when you hire us to do photography for you.
- Family comes first. This is the top of all our values. Everything we do is for our family & all the photos I take are for families both now and in the future.
- Treat clients like friends. We value friendship and wish to do as we would be done by so honesty, loyalty & doing the right thing are important.
- Be passionate. Not only am I an old romantic but I don’t believe in just “going through the motions”: be passionate about it or don’t bother.
- Wow them. Let our passion help us to wow our clients, to exceed their expectations, over deliver, surprise them.
- Be quirky. Why be boring? Life should be fun. Be a bit quirky, creative, eccentric.
- Grow organically. There is no point risking all that we have built so grow slow but grow steady. Many new clients we hope will come to us from current ones.
- Keep things simple. Whether it is a process to book someone, how I edit an image or design an album. Keep it streamlined & smooth – avoid the over complicated stuff I used to have to deal with.
- Support the small guys. Where we can we support the small businesses. Buying quirky, artisan, handmade items suits all of the above values. Buy local. Make friends.
- More haste less speed. I hated the corporate rush that went nowhere. A steady river still reaches the sea. Phlegmatic & tranquil progress, calm and unhurried but always moving forward. Glaciers can move mountains.
That’s it. Our 9 core values. If you ever feel we are falling outside of them feel free to pull us up and point it out because this stuff matters to us!
Having mentioned one book there it seems only right and proper to promote a few that have influenced me a lot over the years. All the links below are Amazon UK and not affiliate links.
I’m an avid reader of “self-development” books and business books. Whether it’s Richard Branson’s autobiography Losing My Virginity, and the follow-up Screw It Let’s Do It, or something more like Adam Braun – The Promise Of A Pencil there is usually something of interest for me in there.
Some have influenced me greatly: others I’ve come away with just a single quote from – for example Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski’s, “The map is not the territory” stays with me today both on my long walks over the hills and when I hit obstacles that weren’t in my plans.
Many of these books I like so much that I’ve gifted copies of them to people. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but some that may be of interest if your values click with my values above.
First and foremost is Dr Susan Jeffers – Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway that one book changed how I viewed the world. Seriously. Other books by her such as End The Struggle And Dance With Life and Feel The Fear… And Beyond are worth a look too.
Jack Black’s book Mindstore made me think differently too.
Tony Hsieh – Delivering Happiness as mentioned above.
Tony Robbins – Awaken The Giant Within is a classic that I got much from.
Many have related to things like personal finance such as George S Clason – The Richest Man In Babylon.
Others books, like Dr Spencer Johnson – Who Moved My Cheese, have kept me curious about things changing around me.
Naponeon Hill – Think and Grow Rich could easily have been one of the finance ones but it is far more important to me than that because it introduced me properly, outside of the corporate world, to the Mastermind. Through this I met two of my very best friends who, to this day, every month have a virtual meeting with me to talk about our businesses.
Happiness can be elusive but The Dali Lama – The Art Of Happiness is a great place to start.
No such list would be complete without Stephen R. Covey – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
One that, whilst not an easy reader, has had much impact on me in accepting what I have in life and finding happiness with it is Victor Frankl – Man’s Search For Meaning.
And finally, I’ve linked to a quote from this one on my Cookies page as it’s a quote once handed to me on a bit of A4 (before the days when we had email circulars or Facebook memes) it resonates with me particularly. Here’s the quote about Warm Milk And Cookies and here’s the book from Robert Fulghum – All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.