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Episode #200
Sam Zipursky

How the Founders of Consulting Success Use Values to Supercharge Consulting Businesses

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Summary

Most business owners tend not to see the importance of establishing values. However, business values are the compass that ensures your organization aligns with whatever vision you have for the company. Joining Michael Zipursky in this special episode is his cousin and co-founder of Consulting Success, Sam Zipursky. Together, they share the values behind Consulting Success and break down how they developed the values they live by today. They also explain why it’s important for any business, big or small, to have values in place and how it’s important not only within the organization but also for clients. Learn how to supercharge your business by crafting the right values in this episode!

This is a special episode because we have my cousin, the one and only, Sam Zipursky, Cofounder at Consulting Success. It’s great to have you on, Sam.

I’m happy to be here.

We were chatting about this. It’s a special episode. This is going to officially be episode 200. First of all, a big thank you to all of you who are reading and sharing. If you’ve given a rating and review on iTunes, I appreciate that. It does mean a lot. The way these platforms work is the more comments, the more ratings, the reviews that we get, the more that they will share it in the algorithm, the more people will see it. Not only does that make us happy, but it also spreads the word and allows us to add a value and make a greater impact on more consultants around the world and in the community. A big thank you to all of you, our readers.

With that being said, we’re going to be talking about a very special topic around values. Sam and I are going to be going through and sharing our experience of developing our values. Some of the maybe issues or challenges or mindset that people have when it comes to values, do you need values if you’re just a solo consultant or what size do values become important? We’re going to go through and talk about our progression and thinking around this, how this all got started. How does that sound to you?

It sounds great. It’s something that’s been on our mind for a long time. Now we’re in the last months, maybe. We’ve been working more on values and getting them out into the community, into the world, getting them out for you, guys, so you, our team, our clients know us way better, and even ourselves know us in how we operate within our business way better. What we’ve come up with is exciting for us. It will all benefit and give you value as well as we share our process. You can apply this to yourself, whether you’re a solo consultant or a full team of consultants and you’re a founder that’s reading this. You want to get more in line with your team, and with your clients, with how you and your founders or you and your key people run the business. It’s exciting. We’re going to dive in and have some fun with you, guys.

Before we get into the process, let’s explain what values are, why they’re so important, and why we even decided to make the investment of time and resources and developing this and sharing with our team. We’ll also talk on how we’re applying to use our values, because this is not something that you just create and file away. You actively want to bring into your business because that’s where the real benefits come from. To begin, what are values, this is not going to be the Webster definition of values. Quite frankly, I haven’t checked what the Webster definition of values is but for us, this is what we believe. It’s how we operate. It’s the core of what is important to us, what we then use to make decisions. Sam, what else would you add to that in terms of how do you think about values and what they are to the business without getting into the specific values yet?

Values are the way we see our business, the way we see our life, and the way we see how things should be. Click To Tweet

The way I see it in terms of the values is it’s a set of principles. We did a show a couple of years ago on our guiding principles. It’s related to that in many ways. I’m sure some of you have heard that or you can go find it. It’s a classic episode that Michael and I did together. Values is the way we see our business, the way we see our life, and the way we see how things should be. The way I look at it as the values are an extension of Michael and myself, and what we’ve originally created here, but then it goes way beyond that to affect everyone around us from family, the clients, and the team. We’ll explain about this. Values is your guiding principles to how you see things should be run, to how life should be lived.

In terms of why you might want to do this, there’s a lot of benefits that come with developing your values. To begin with, if you’re not clear on what your values are, it’s going to be very hard for you to, number one, take on the right clients. When you understand what your values are, you can start to see whether the clients that are coming into your world have those same values, share those same values. If you haven’t defined what your values are, you might start to see that you’re taking on all kinds of work with all different types of clients that don’t share the same set of values. Therefore, you’re not enjoying the process of working with them.

Before we even developed the formal values that we’re going to share with you, several years ago, we developed a mini-documentary that gives you a glimpse into how Sam and I started the business, our families, our parents, our grandparents, where we came from, what our journey was like to build Consulting Success into what it is now. You can go to ConsultingSuccess.com, click on the story or our story link there on the top of the site and watch that video. Around that time, when we started working with a mentor of ours to start to figure out how to communicate and tell our story. That’s where we start to see the benefits of communicating our values, of sharing our values. To that point, we weren’t very actively sharing what we believed in, what our values were. We didn’t think to do that.

What we’ve noticed in our business is that as we started becoming much more proactive and intentional with sharing our values, we started to attract a lot more of the right types of clients into our community and our world. If you think about that for a moment, it makes a lot of sense. If you put out what your values are, if you put out into the world what you believe in, there will be some people who look at that and they’re turned off by it. It doesn’t resonate with them. Therefore, they’re not going to engage with you, but that’s okay because they’re not the people that you would want to build a business with or engage with because they don’t share the same values and beliefs.

Those who share the same values and beliefs, they will look at that and go, “Here’s an organization, a brand, a person, and a group of people who have the same values that I have. I feel that resonates with me. It connects with me.” They’re much more likely to want to engage with you. It will repel the wrong people while attracting the right people. Sam, anything else you want to add to that as well?

No, those are all great points. The only other things I want to add is also when it comes to team building, if you are hiring a team or bringing internal stuff to help build your mission, values are great because it gets your team excited. It aligns the team. The other thing that I’ve been thinking about lately as an owner or as a Cofounder, even for us, it gives us almost more freedom to operate the way we are because we’re living by our values within this company, within this brand. We’re being more natural to our clients, our team, and to ourselves.

 

It’s a feeling that gives a lot of freedom once you spend time understanding what the company or brand values are. Also, I would even highly recommend you do this for yourself and make sure you’re living in align with your own values throughout your life. That can be another whole interesting thing. There’ll be definite connections between your company values and your values if you’re doing this properly.

The team building part, it’s an important point. I’m glad that you brought that up because when you’re going through that process, whether you’re looking to work with contractors, part-time people, full-time people, especially when you have a long-term mindset, one of the greatest assets or probably the greatest asset of any business is its people. It’s a classic saying. It’s very true that when you have good people around you, you’re unstoppable. You can realize great potential and make a massive impact. We were talking about this. You can have somebody who has great skills, but if they don’t share the same values, it’s unlikely that you’re going to enjoy working with that person for the long-term.

Whereas if you have somebody who has mediocre skills but they’re coachable and the ability to develop, but they share the same values, the beliefs that you have, or at least some of them, you’re going to be able to build that person for the long-term as long as they are open to coaching and support and improving their skillset. That’s the kind of person that you want. As you’re going through the hiring process, whether it’s part-time, full-time, regardless of the structure of it, knowing your values, you can start to take these values and put them into your job descriptions.

Put them into your messaging in many different formats, which we’ll talk more about afterwards in terms of how we plan to use or how we are already using our values that we’ve developed. Those are a few things that hopefully illustrate the importance of developing your values and why do you want to spend some time on this process yourself, regardless of whether you’re getting started or you’ve developed a consulting firm with many people on your team. Let’s go ahead, Sam.

I want to make it clear because a lot of our readers might be thinking, we thought years ago, values are only for big corporations. I know I heard McDonald’s has values and this company has values, and Walmart and whatever. What we’re trying to impress upon you is even if you’re a solo consultant or a small team or a team of ten or whatever, values can be very important, strategic, crucial, and feel good to work on this. It’s for you, guys. It’s not just for big corporations. I wanted to clarify that.

Let’s set the stage. We began this journey several years ago, where we made an intentional decision to start telling our story a lot more. Before that, it was at the back, it was certainly not at the forefront. We led with focusing on talking about consulting and much more of that technical/professional image but what we felt over time is that we needed to tell more of our story. We got some coaching and guidance around that, which was very beneficial.

Values are your guiding principles to how you see things should be run, to how life should be lived. Click To Tweet

As we went through that journey of first, developing and defining our mission and what our company is about, then creating this little mini-documentary, which was a fun and interesting project by itself to then being a lot more open with some of our vulnerabilities and lessons learned and challenges as well as our successes. Again, it seems to resonate with people. Sam and I went away on a little mastermind retreat. Sam, you want me to set up the stage, give some nice imagery painted, some people are brought into the room with us were like?

Obviously, the whole global pandemic going on, we’re looking to get away. Some travel restrictions are being eased. Mike and I, we try and do mastermind retreat every quarter, if possible, get away from the day-to-day. That might be a whole other show we can do. We planned out this little getaway. We thought, “Let’s get something cool and nice.” We went up the coast in British Columbia to a place called Sunshine Coast. It’s only sunny three months of the year, but the name is misleading, Sunshine Coast.

We rented a beautiful cabin or house on the water there. We treated ourselves. We got some good food to cook. Mike’s a good cook. I’m a decent cook as well. We had some good drinks and some good cooking. We spent the daytimes, hours discussing our plans, strategies, and values, which we’re going to share, what’s going on in the business. It was a great experience. We went on hikes each day after we finished our work and then cooked meals and hung out. We got creative and we got away from our day-to-day. We produced so much great work including these values. That’s a little bit about the setting and why we got away. It was a beautiful ocean view and hot tub and all these things you could imagine. It was great.

First of all, great job setting up there, Sam. It was clear, hopefully, for everybody. The one key for that as well as that in order to start to develop our values and give the attention this deserves, we changed our environment. We do not just meet at the office or sit down in our usual work setting. We changed things up. Often you do that, that’s where creativity happens, by changing your location. I know for me, in writing some of the first books, I wrote them at coffee shops. I couldn’t write them at my desk. That wasn’t conducive for me to be creative.

For some of you, you might find that changing your environment, going away even for an hour or a half day or a full day, can help you to start to think about things and see things in a way that is different because you’re in a different environment, to identify what is most important to you. With that being said, what we did, we started off and said, “Let’s think about what our values are.” We didn’t use any formal process. There are likely more formal processes around this. We’re going to share with you all what we did.

There may be better ways to do this, but we found this worked well for us. We got some guidance along the way, but for this first phase, it was the two of us sitting down having a conversation. The way we thought about our values to begin with in this first round. It’s three rounds that we went through. The first round, we broke this down into parts. One was, what do we think and what do we feel that our values are at the company level? That means both for Sam and I, as owners. Also, in terms of our team members, what do we feel are those values?

 

Secondary to that is what do we feel our values are for our clients? The purpose of that distinction is you’ll see that there was a lot of overlap between the two, but we want to start to think about from the perspective of our ideal clients, what is important to them. The reason why I think that’s critical is because the more that we can identify what’s important to our ideal clients, the more that we can then see again how it relates to what’s important to us. We can also then start to use that information to look at our content creation or our workshops or our programs or whatever it might be and think about, “Are we communicating around the topics that are important to our ideal clients?”

Likewise, we also asked ourselves, what are some of the values that are critical to our ideal clients and what are the opposite? What are some things maybe that would be a turn off to our ideal clients? If we think about some clients that we have not enjoyed working with as much, what are some of the things that they have beliefs around that are different than what our true ideal clients have? With that being said, Sam, do you want me to start and list off bullet point, what are some of those initial values that we identified at the company level?

I’m going to read through the list that I have. This was our first-round initial brainstorm. Family relationships, teamwork, that’s one. Strategic, strong communication, growth mindset, profitable and lean, health, lifestyle, flexibility, giving clients amazing service, multicultural, gratitude, openness, transparency, honesty, and trust. That was our initial, what Michael and I felt strong about in ourselves, our company, and our team on the internal side of things.

To point out here, they’re bullet points. They’re like keywords. We weren’t going deeper and you’ll see how we took these keywords and develop them in round 2 and round 3 into something much more powerful and compelling and more of a true statement. We start off by thinking about what are the keywords that are important to us and that we feel that are important to our team? The next thing we wrote down is what are the values that our clients have? Sam, maybe go through what those are.

A lot of these will tie, they’ll seem even similar and they can go on either side. Remember that our values aren’t necessarily not our ideal. They’re probably both. You’ll see there are some similarities. International citizen mindset, multicultural, openness, action taker, entrepreneurial, freedom and flexibility, family and community, health and wealth conscious, and invest in personal development and growth.

You can see there’s a lot of overlap between what we’ve identified that are the values for our clients and what are the values that our team has. What we did at this point, we felt good about, first of all, getting these down on paper. It’s common to say, “I know what our values are. I know whatever it is that the topic is about,” but not have it written down. There’s something powerful that happens when you write something down, put pen to paper, or in this case, type it up. We started by putting pen to paper.

The more that we can identify what's important to our ideal clients, the more we can see how it relates to what's important to us. Click To Tweet

We had a whiteboard with a Sharpie and everything. We brought it with us. We’re nerds when it comes to that. We had fun there, too, but we did bring a whiteboard and some Sharpies. We did that whole thing.

Here’s the next thing that we did, when we came back from that weekend away or that time away, we have a team meeting every Thursday and we got the team together. We went through what these values were. The approach we used was not to say, “As the founders and owners of the business, here are the values.” We did not do that. What we did is we told a bit of a story of how we went about developing this, what we thought why we want to develop these values. We said, “Here’s what we initially identified. We want your feedback and your input on these.” What was interesting about that is that every team member was smiling on the call saying like, “This is so great.” Saying things like, “I’m so glad to be working for a company like this. These are awesome.” These are the comments that we got.

For me, it felt good because again, it shows there’s an alignment between our team members and ourselves around our values. It also helped to give us a little bit more confidence to say, “We’re on the right track with these values. Now we can talk about moving to the next step.” Sam, any other impressions or feedback?

Before we move to our next step or our round two, as we call it of the values, when we brought it up with the team, they were smiling, saying, “This is amazing.” They seemed visibly excited about it. That was the great thing about it. The other thing was we also asked them, “Did we miss anything that’s of value to you, guys?” We had asked them that question and they added a couple. We refined it a little bit, even this initial list based on what our team had said.

It’s important to mention that it wasn’t just us making it up and saying, “This is what it is. You have to be like this.” Without even knowing, we hired to this already. We didn’t have this all written out when we had hired those team members. Now for newer members, we have it more clear. It was interesting because they resonated with the team that was at that meeting. It showed that we already had been communicating it through the video, our actions, and what we did. Now when we put words to it, they got even more excited, they took part in it, and even added a couple more.

The next step that we then took is we share this every week with our clients in our Clarity Coaching Program. We do a group call every week in addition to all of the one-to-one calls our clients have with coaches and so forth. In that call, what we often do every week is we share best practices and things that we’re doing in our own business that are working well, that we think clients can also benefit from. Certain clients will share their experiences and do presentations. It’s like a mini workshop around a topic and we open up that call for Q&A to give people a lot of feedback and get a different breakout room, so there are lots of opportunity for people to have all their questions answered.

CSP 200 | Values

 

What we did for one of these sessions is we shared our values. We shared this process that we were going through with all of our clients on the call. We said very clearly, “This is in draft form, but here’s what we’re doing. Here’s why we’re doing it.” It’s similar to what we’re doing and sharing with you now in the show. We also do this with our clients. It went through this list. It was by no means polished. It was just the keywords. Again, it gave us further validation confirmation because the feedback that we got from clients was fantastic. On point, it resonated with so many of them, and there was a lot of discussion around that afterwards. Once we have that confirmation, then we decide, “Let’s move to our more formal second round,” where we took these keywords, because there’s a lot of different keywords.

If you have any experience with values and being able to use those values, they have to be memorable and fewer. You can’t use 10 or 15 values effectively because it’s too hard for people to remember. You want to narrow that down. We start to look at all the different values that we had and thought, “How can we consolidate these? How can we take the company values, the client values, prioritize, identify the most important ones and then start to consolidate them into a smaller number of values?” Our second round, Sam, do you want me to read out what we narrowed down for round two?

This is round two. We took that list of twenty something values between the client side and the internal side. We came up with four points. Number one, always do what’s right, treating all like family, long-term mindset. Number two, always look for improvements, growth strategy mindset. Number three, always take care of body and mind, health, fitness, lifestyle, study. Number four, last but not least, always open to the world, travel, diversity, multicultural.

This was a big step in the right direction from taking many different keywords and consolidating them, combining them into four main themes. We put some keywords below each of those themes to add a little bit more context and color to it as well. These by themselves didn’t speak to us the way that we want. They weren’t necessarily as memorable. They’re probably a little bit too corporate or dry. The next stage was, Sam, going through these and starting to bring more life to them and give them a little bit more character and make them more memorable. This was our third and final round for this initial stage of developing our values. Why don’t you go ahead, Sam, read through what those four values are that we ended up with?

I’ll explain first. We came up with a strong keyword that would represent a category. We went in and described that category and what it meant to us, our clients, our community, from all of these previous steps we’ve been talking about. Here’s the most current and final round. It can always update later. We always talk about imperfect action here. We’re willing to update it as time goes on, but for now this is what we’re happy with. We’ve got great feedback from people as well and we’d love to hear your feedback. The values we live and breathe by, la familia. Family is life and it’s at the heart of our company. The founders are cousins and we treat our team, clients, and whole entire community like one big family with respect, care, trust, openness, and honesty. That’s number one. Obviously, that is, for all you Spanish speaking folks and people who don’t speak Spanish, you know what la familia means. It’s family.

Number two, entrepreneurial. Growth and improvement make life and business fun and challenging. Always growing, taking actions, surrounding ourselves with smart, ambitious, and inspiring people, and reaching new levels of personal and business success is what we’re all about. Number three, health is wealth. We prioritize health, mental health, daily physical exercise, and having a flexible schedule that allows us to recharge and create amazing life experiences inside and outside of work are key to how we operate and run our businesses. Last but not least, and this is with an excellent exclamation mark. We worldwide the people, the languages, the cultures, the food, and the geography. Make this place we call earth a truly spectacular and unique gift to us all. We celebrate this through travel, deep exploration, and by happily working with people of all backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities. There you have it. I’m excited about these. Mike, take it away from there.

Values are going to attract the right people and repel the wrong people. Click To Tweet

That’s a great job of summing it up. When Sam initially developed that and sent it over, I reviewed it. There were a few little things we discussed and go to this final polished version. Even as now, Sam, as you read it, internally, I feel good in hearing that. It resonates like it’s that warm, glowing feeling. It feels saying confident that we can stand behind that we can be proud of, that we’d want to protect. Again, this comes back to the power of values. When you have something that you believe in, you want to share it. We’re excited to take these values and share them with the world, the community, our clients, and our team because they resonate with us. We know, through our own experiences, that by putting this out in front of more people, more of the right people will come into our world because we all want to do great work with great people. That’s the power of having these values.

Now that we have them, how are we using them? What is our plan for them? Number one, we’re using them now on the show with you. We’re sharing them with you. Why? Again, because it’s important for us that you, as part of the community, are valued part of the Consulting Success community. I know some of you are our clients. We have a lot of clients who are readers to the show. Some of you may be new to the Consulting Success community and world. We’re glad to have you here. We want to share what’s important with us with you because we know that if that resonates with you, it’ll also make you feel good and excited. That’s one thing. We’ve started to actively use it in our content. It’s going to go up on our story page.

It’s already there.

Good job, Sam.

I know I read them and it’s hard to remember that thing, but if you want a visual representation, we designed it nicely. It’s on our story page. You can clearly read our values, ConsultingSuccess.com. Click on Our Story, you can find our values there. Our final ones that we read.

I’m glad that you mentioned that because I didn’t even know they were up. I love it. Great team. We’re now incorporating in our website. That’s the natural thing, when somebody is interested in working with you, they’re going to go to your About page. If you’ve developed your values, you want to put them on your website so that your ideal clients can read, see them, and maybe hear them in videos, in podcast, or whatever it might be. Your ideal clients, it’s going to attract the right people and it’s going to repel the wrong people. This becomes almost a bit of a qualifying mechanism for you. That’s powerful. That’s what effective marketing is. It will push away the wrong people but attract more of the right people. That’s what we want to do. We put it on our website. It’s in the podcast.

CSP 200 | Values

 

We’re starting to include this in our in our job descriptions. We actively bring our values into the job descriptions for the exact same reason. We want the right candidates, the right people to be attracted to this. We want people who look at this and go like, “I don’t value health. I don’t value being entrepreneurial. I don’t value family.” That would push them away and that’s fine because we want people who value family. They value loved ones, relationships, the idea of being action-takers and being entrepreneurial and developing their physical health and their mental health and all that stuff. They’re open worldwide. Sam, anything else in terms of how are we planning to use it, or any thoughts before we wrap up?

I was excited to be here. I would love to come on more shows and share things that we’re doing internally. It’s exciting for Mike and I to be able to do this together as cousins. In terms of values, experiment with trying to do a few of your own within your business, within your brand, maybe personally, whatever works for you, based on the formula we broke down, it was easier than I initially thought. That’s one takeaway for me. It was also way more fun than I thought. The last thing I would say is, as a Founder here, it’s given me a new sense of energy and excitement even inside the company even more so than before. We’re all clear, our team.

As far as Cofounders, we were so clear on our principles and our values and it’s clearly out there. It’s an exciting time. We’re obviously very proud to have these out there and that’s why we wanted to share it with you. Hopefully, this session could give you some tips or even inspire you to create your values. Also, get to know us better as well, since you are an audience to this show and part of our community that we value.

I also want to give a shout out to a great client and friend, Bobby G. He gave some wise words around the development of values as we share them with our clients in that session that I mentioned. That feedback certainly helped and we incorporate that as we went through this process. There you have it, everyone. I hope this has been helpful and inspiring for you that you’re going to further develop your values or begin developing your values and work this into your business. It’s a sign that we clearly believe in that’s why we’re sharing this with you.

If you want to see the actual values and read through them, go to ConsultingSuccess.com and click on Our Story or you can always shoot us a message. We always love hearing from you guys. Let us know if you enjoy this show and if you’d like more show with the cousins on it and what topics you’d like us to cover. We always do our best to bring on great guests and experts and other successful consultants to share their journeys and stories with you. Ultimately, what drives us to do what we do is you.

That’s why we value you being in the community here and being an audience and sharing this with others. If you haven’t yet, please go ahead, head over to iTunes. Give a quick rating and review. It does mean a lot to us. Reach out and let us know where you’re at, what stage you’re at in your consulting journey, and how we can support you. Whether you’re getting started or you’re already running a successful consulting business but you want to take it to that next level. We’ve worked with a lot of consultants and that’s our focus in everything that we do here. Thank you, everyone, so much. Sam, it’s great to have you on. I’m looking forward on the next episode.

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