Many of them had taken time to reflect upon their life and where they were vs. where they wanted to be, i.e. their ideal situation. Several of them had been in coaching programmes where they have worked on developing and clarifying their visions, dream and values in life. This led to concrete actions of change where one main decision was to redefine their working situation and align it with their values.
As a coach, understanding the importance of value alignment in all aspects of life is crucial in order to help the client to live a fulfilled life. As work is such a big part of most people’s lives it is important to align it to one’s values. By asking powerful questions about work satisfaction and value alignment the coach can support the client to identify what changes they have to do in order to achieve a fulfilled life. It is also important that the coach support the client in exploring what challenges they might face along the way and different options to overcome those challenges.
Becoming an entrepreneur is often a large transformational change for many people wherefore reframing perspectives can be a good tool to use. Some examples can be from fear to trust, from doubt to confidence and from back seat to drivers seat. These can all be discussed and explored to make the client more aware and confident in how to handle the changes in their working life. What values can be specifically important to guide someone to become an entrepreneur and how can those be brought into a company? Some Native American Tribes in the US have developed an “Entrepreneurship Curriculum” for growing a business in Indian country that can serve as a guide for many of us: bravery, vision. respect for self and others, trust, honesty, generosity and fortitude.
An entrepreneur’s most valuable possession in the business world is his or her reputation and the trust it has commenced. Entrepreneurs who are guided by a set of clear values enhance their credibility in the marketplace and draw others who want to do business with them. Trust and honesty are values that traditionally have built reputation and respect for business owners and will continue to do so.
When a client has explored and defined their personal value foundation they can use it as a base for their own company’s values. An entrepreneur often become one with the company they have founded. What they stand for equals what the company stands for. To define and explain the company’s values in a statement is important when starting a new business. This value statement should be visible for customers, employees, partners and the public, for example on the company website or in a company presentation. The values will also serve to attract potential employees that can align the company values with their own values, leading to circle of value alignment.
How lack of value-alignment can drive people to leave corporates and become entrepreneurs
For entrepreneurs of today it is very important that their business is based on their core values, which is also confirmed in the survey. Many have left corporates disillusioned and disappointed of the lack of values, respect and humanity that they have experienced. Instead greed, arrogance, bureaucracy and politics have taken a front seat in many of today’s corporates. The trend is that people no longer accept this type of corporate culture but instead choose to start their own business, create their own culture and drive their destiny. As one respondent in the survey mentioned: “I believe corporates will fail to meet the needs of common people and in the end it will result to the rise of entrepreneurship”.
When asked about the difference between working for a corporate and having your own business, one respondent said the following:
When you are in the corporate world, you are a small fish in a huge pond. Everything around you is predetermined and you oblige to follow the rules. Compare to being entrepreneur I would say you are a big fish in a small pond which is much more appealing for me.
True empowerment and accountability was other differences between corporates and entrepreneurs that were highlighted as well as being able to leave a legacy behind and build something of your own.
Several respondents in the survey expressed that leaving the corporate world and becoming an entrepreneur was the best thing they had ever done. It was expressed as a consequence of listening to and following an inner voice telling them to go for their dreams and work accordingly to their core values. The majority of the respondents have a minimum 10-15 years of corporate experience behind them before becoming entrepreneurs, focusing on their own field of expertise or passion. When reaching their 40’s many of them had come to the insight that life is too short to stay in a corporate job where you are often treated as a machine instead of a human being. Instead they trusted themselves to follow their passions and starting their own businesses, aligned with the values they felt was most important in life.
The transformation towards living by values
None of the respondents had regrets about having left the corporate world and started their own business even if fear of failure and of the unknown had been part of the experience for many. Instead they expressed feelings of liberation, excitement and enthusiasm over becoming an entrepreneur and being in charge of their own life. Many of them have changed their lives quite significantly when it comes to their working situation, often involving longer working hours and less financial assets. However, all of them felt a great satisfaction with their choice of becoming an entrepreneur.
The transformation process they had been going through was focused on creating a clear vision based on their dreams and passions, then transferring the vision into an actionable plan that would achieve their objectives. The timespan varied from months to several years to reach the decision to become an entrepreneur where for some a coaching programme had led to the change of working life. Few of the respondents would consider ever going back to corporate life, the only reason would be if they are forced due to lack of cash-flow which seems to be the biggest worry for most entrepreneurs. However, they recognise that being in charge of your own destiny actually makes you less vulnerable than being in a corporate and more satisfied with your life.