Case Study – How a startup rapidly increased their pace of delivery and innovation through operationalised values.

The Client

Our client was a three-year old startup with about 30 employees. They’d secured funding and were starting to see that the business had legs and the potential of major success. They had an audacious five-year plan and big dreams about how the business would disrupt the industry.

The Problem

The founders started noticing that the bigger the company grew, the more the pace of the organisation slowed down. They found that they couldn’t innovate at pace. They couldn’t recruit and hire at pace. When they hired new employees, it took several months before they were properly onboarded and adding value.

They couldn’t innovate at pace because they hadn’t transferred the ownership of innovation to their employees to enable entrepreneurial innovation culture. The pace of recruitment was impacted by a couple of hiring false starts. Because they hadn’t defined their internal values, it was difficult to know if there was a values match between the company and a candidate. They were struggling to deliver at pace, because they were unsure of their priorities and often said YES to things that they should have said NO to. These things were causing them to lose focus and momentum.

The founders recognised that this drop in pace was not going to be solved by simply telling everyone to “work faster!” It was a culture and values issue. The founders needed everyone to step up as if it was their own company — they needed an innovative entrepreneurial culture within the organisation.

The Solution

The founders engaged Solutioneers to develop a Vision and Mission, as well as a set of Value Statements that could be operationalised for the business. Solutioneers then developed an Employee Hand Guide and Employee Onboarding Manual with checklists and processes for the business, as well as recruitment tools to ensure good fits occupied the chairs.

Culture Workshop

We kicked things off with a culture workshop — a fun team building session to get everyone at the company thinking creatively about the company and what it stood for.

What we’ve found at Solutioneers is that when we awaken the inner child in people, great ideas are bound to follow. So we set the workshop participants the task of making an edible superhero and supplied them with sugar paste, food colouring and paintbrushes!

While we don’t use the same approach with every company we work with, this session was the perfect way to get the employees of this particular company thinking about something as abstract as company values in a whole new way.

When the employees shared how their superhero represented the company, we got many pivotal insights.

Culture Survey

Our next step was to do a comprehensive culture survey. We interviewed employees at all levels of the organisation, asking them questions about their perception of the company’s vision, mission and values.

The Solutioneers team then did qualitative analysis on the data from both the workshop and the survey and compiled it into a presentation for a group of people in the company called the “Inner Circle.”

Inner Circle Finalises Cultural Artefacts of Mission, Vision and Values

The Inner Circle was a cohort of employees that represented all departments and levels of the organisation and who had shown interest in shaping the company’s future. Solutioneers presented their findings to the Inner Circle, and then it was time for this group to thrash out the ideas and arrive at a final vision, mission, and set of value statements.

Operationalising Values

The Solutioneers team also developed an employee recruitment and onboarding process and an Employee Onboarding Manual in order to operationalise the company’s values and ensure good hiring practices that secured great-fit employees. We advised the leadership on how to ensure that the values remained relevant and conversational. This is a key step in ensuring that the vision, mission and values are infused into the employees’ day-to-day work. It gives the employees a clear picture of where they are going, how to carry out their work, and what the values look like when they are being lived out.

The Result

Two weeks after the Inner Circle session, the Managing Director announced the company’s vision, mission and values. In some companies, this kind of announcement may have been greeted with indifference, but in this company, the employees were delighted — it felt like them.

The Solutioneer’s collaborative approach meant that every employee in the company had contributed to the creation of the vision. There was a whole lot of hype around what the final vision would be — especially after the superhero-themed culture workshop. Most importantly, there was universal buy-in from the employees and new clarity about the work they were doing.

On a strategic level, the company was now set up to increase the pace of delivery, innovation, and hiring great-fit employees — all because their vision, mission and values were clear and operationalised. Onboarding time for new employees drastically decreased thanks to the clear Employee Onboarding Manual, meaning that new employees could effectively “hit the ground running” and contribute value within their first week at the company.

It was immensely rewarding for the Solutioneers team to observe the transformation that happened in the company. The business was a successful startup, but they knew if they wanted to scale, they needed help with communicating their big audacious dreams as a clear, strategic vision that the whole company could adopt as their own.

Solutioneers is thrilled to have facilitated the process of visioning, operationalising values, and supporting the employees to adopt a more entrepreneurial mindset. We are confident that this investment will support the company’s sustained growth and propel them to their next level of success.

  • Is it time for your company to revamp its vision, mission, and values?
  • Does your company need support with operationalising its values?
  • Would you like to shift your company’s culture to become more customer-centric and entrepreneurial, but are not sure where to start?
  • Do you need a fresh pair of eyes on your company’s systems and processes so that you can increase the pace of delivery, innovation, and/or recruitment?

If so, book a call with the Solutioneers team to explore whether working together could take your company to its next level.