Liongard founder and CEO Joe Alapat recently discussed the importance of living and breathing your core values with Sunny Kaila, founder and CEO of IT By Design. The two-part conversation provided a number of takeaways for MSPs looking toward sustainable growth.
Listen to Part 1 >
Listen to Part 2 >
In Part 1 of this blog series, we covered how core values can help guide your recruiting and hiring strategies. Now, we’ll explore how you and your team can live by your MSP’s core values, day in and day out.
Evaluate Your Core Values Against Those of Your Customers
It’s hard to turn business down—and even harder to let an established customer go—but that’s exactly what may be necessary when core values don’t line up and you want to preserve yours, according to both Alapat and Kaila.
As they explain, when you and your customer are on the same page, your team is firing on all cylinders and the positive energy flows. But when you have constant friction with a customer, it negatively impacts your team’s mood and their ability to deliver on your core values.
A big part of being a good vendor is both teaching and listening/learning, which happen to be two of Liongard’s core values. To make sure expectations match tone from the beginning, core values are explained in Liongard’s customer onboarding materials, and everyone on the team knows the importance of outwardly expressing those values at every turn. It helps raise the bar, Alapat says.
Kaila’s company used to let things slide when core values didn’t match up, but he’s learned through experience that it’s usually not going to be a good fit—for either team—to try to continue with a mismatched set of values. Now, his team implements a “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” process—if communication and education attempts don’t move the needle, it’s time for both parties to move on.
The danger of staying in that type of relationship can have a ripple effect on your people, your other customers and your culture as a whole. Smart, skilled team members will leave if your company allows its core values to be violated, and your other customers will be able to feel negative energy seeping in.
Recognize Your Core Values in Action
You know your core values have taken hold when team members use them by name to evaluate actions and plans. Kaila and Alapat both make it part of their company cultures to call out behaviors that match or embody their core values. For example, Kaila hosts a weekly staff call and asks team leaders to highlight instances of their core values in action. And as teams continue working from home, it’s essential to celebrate these wins, since they’re not as easily seen these days.
Intentionally and frequently calling attention to core values makes everybody more aware of what they should be striving for.
Keep Your Core Values in Focus – Even While Working from Home
With most MSPs now experiencing a more distributed workforce during the pandemic, focusing on core values is more important than ever to remain a cohesive unit.
For IT By Design’s three locations across two countries, team members were already collaborating heavily via Zoom and other platforms. But the shift away from office working, with its many micro-interactions and hallway chatter, still required intentionality in order to keep their core values front and center. That’s why the company created a Culture Team, which develops team-bonding activities like book and movie clubs, yoga, meditation sessions and more.
Alapat has taken a similar approach to being deliberate about encouraging peer-to-peer interaction amidst the work-from-home setting. The Liongard team organizes book clubs, virtual coffee talks, weekly scavenger hunts and a host of other culture-promoting activities to keep spirits up and core values intact.
Both leaders estimate that peer-to-peer interaction has actually increased since going remote—a testament to their commitment to living by their core values, no matter what the world throws their way.
Read more about Liongard’s core values to see how they align with those of your MSP. Then, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of Joe Alapat’s chat with IT By Design’s Sunny Kaila for more insights on the importance of living and breathing your core values.