Carl-Johan Hamilton is a co-founder of a recruitment company in Sweden called Ants, which was founded in 2004. Today, the company has grown into a small group where Carl-Johan mainly works with recruitment business Code at Heart, which specializes in finding the best IT skills.
All of us want to grow and become better, and this process requires us to create structures and values which can enable us to scale. A lot of people find it quite difficult to figure out how to establish the values, and don’t have patience to wait for values to grow. In this blogpost, I would like to highlight a few tips from Carl-Johan on how to make this path easier.
The leaders at Ants believe that if they have some clear values or strategies that they know about, they follow those strategies and will end up as a successful company.
If this is reached, you can spread this conversation about the values to people around you, get people to understand them and build a culture around it. Carl-Johan thinks that this strategy doesn’t always work, but it does push things in the right direction, in the general way and gives people the ability to act and do things on their own rather than being pointed in one direction.
Carl-Johan thinks that people should work with values continuously. It’s not something you can do once, and move on. You have to make sure that a value is instilled in the culture and that’s a continuous job. And the fact that it is continuous is the tricky part about setting yourself up to success.
One thing that can really help to work on the values is meetings with other people to make sure that the values are still in all the goals. And together with others, you try to build that culture. Every so often you have to look back at the values and re-evaluate them, to see if they still work for you or if they have meanwhile changed. That happens every few years, and it’s not always a dramatic change in values, but it might need some adjusting from your side.
Carl-Johan says that it’s easy to sit down and think about strategies or values that you think would work, but at the end they might not lead to a successful company or don’t work the way you want them to, or don’t lead you where you want them to lead you. I think it’s an important point to remember – it’s OK to be wrong when trying to nail down what you believe in into several value words or statements. It’s essential to get into action and try things, instead of sitting for too long working on the theoretical side of things, or not do the work on defining your values at all due to the fear of not getting it right.
One thing that might help is doing a storyboard, sketches and trying to put into words what exactly you are expecting or looking for in your company. But sometimes wording is not enough, and what actually shows whether you were successful with establishing the values is exercising them. If it’s easy to follow them in your daily operations – then you can move on, if not – you should stop and re-evaluate again.
If you are interested in learning more about Ants’ journey of getting through two crises and lessons learned from these journeys, how to understand that you are in the right place at the right time, listen to the whole episode here.
Stay tuned and be genius!