Expressing your values is facilitated when you are able to describe in one or two sentences how each value will be implemented. We call these descriptions of values in action, Operating Principles. The purpose of an Operating Principle is to provide a necessary frame of reference to help balance conflicting motivations and priorities when making decisions on what to do and how to act in different situations.
If one of your values is teamwork, then an operating principle could be:
“The team will meet on a weekly basis to ensure that everyone is informed of issues that affect our business. These meetings will give us an opportunity to share information and knowledge with each other, address any issues or concerns and make sure each member of the team is focused on doing all the right things to move the business forward.”
Operating principles become guiding lights that help people decide how to act in different situations. To the extent that they are well thought out and reinforced consistently, they ensure that decisions and actions are focused on doing all the right things, not simply doing some things right.
In building out your Business Plan, you will describe the four to six values that describe what is important to you. In describing your Operating Principles, you will illustrate how you are going to do it.