Who are we and what is important to Frog Bikes?
19 February 2021
The Philosophy behind Frog’s new Company Values
From a small business culture to a fast-paced organisation – Shelley Lawson, Owner and Director at Frog Bikes explains why their original ‘Company Values’ no longer gave the company the right identity.
Every business has a unique culture – a blend of the type of people it employs, their individual values, and the way that they work together and interact with wider society. It is reflected in the language they use, their objectives, and their day to day behaviour. So, the values that a company holds will affect the way that teams work together, how happy people are in that environment and even how productive the business is.
VALUES AT INCEPTION
Not long after we started Frog, Jerry (Owner and Director at Frog Bikes) and I wrote down the values we wanted our business to embody, under the 4 headings of People, Planet, Product and Profit. The values outlined the types of behaviour that we felt were positive (e.g. ask
does this affect anyone else), and those we wanted to avoid (e.g.
don’t’ be a martyr). Back then, we were a very small team, all working in one room together, so a simple set of values were sufficient.
However, as the business grew and became more successful – at times quite fast – the values no longer supported the company's vision. I think perhaps we didn’t always land the values with our new team members, or they just didn’t buy into them.
TIME FOR CHANGE
In 2018-9 we had a period of increased pressure at Frog. We implemented a transformative ERP system which changed almost everyone’s roles to some extent. People were working under increased strain and cracks began to show. We realised that we needed a clear set of values to help employees understand what the business truly stands for, and that would be lived and breathed through our people, inside and outside of the company. To do that we needed to apply some cultural changes. It felt that the old values now rang hollow.
STAFF SURVEY RESULTS
A staff survey in Sept 2019 helped to show what needed rethinking, and what people wanted to see differently, especially from leaders and managers. Four project teams were created, led by some of our rising stars - deliberately not led by the board members, although with their full support. The projects tackled areas that the team felt could be improved at Frog. Nadine Pantazis, Marketing Executive for DACH and Scandinavia and one of the project team leads, commented:
A major takeaway from an employee focus group that we held, that looked at the future of leadership at Frog Bikes, was the statement, ‘We do not know what our values are at Frog Bikes and what they mean to me and my day to day working life.’ and that initiated the project to re-define the Company Values.
STARTING WITH A BLANK PAGE
It was apparent early on that rather than re-working and altering the existing values, we needed to start with a blank page, but still refer to the key containers. The 4 pillars People, Product, Profit and Planet – and start by emptying them and filling them back up again, with new, more relevant content. We intended to develop fresh and appropriate values and to make declarations onto that blank page about the true ‘self’ of Frog Bikes, and all its’ team members.
This project coincided with an externally led leadership course, that a few team members had already started attending, so it was decided that the new values project would be undertaken in conjunction with the learnings of the course.
FILLING THE CONTAINERS BACK UP
It was on the leadership course the team were introduced to various concepts of leadership, sustainability and motivation. Within the group of course participants, they began to fill the first container ‘People’ with a new set of values that underpin how Frog Bikes work together - finding solutions, communicating respectfully, with honesty, humility and integrity. The values included a future-based, generative language to allow for inspiration and guidance, creating possibilities and vision for the future.
With the people values re-defined, the product, profit and planet values needed to be shaped. Using what they’d learned in the leadership course, the project leads built teams among Frog Bikes personnel, leveraging the expertise of all departments to gain different perspectives and to ensure the values would be relevant to the broader community. Nadine commented
Commitment to values is easier to achieve when a high number of team members have been involved.
Staying true to the concept of creating new values from the input of those involved, and working collaboratively with members of the team who would normally not work with each other, really helped Frog grow as a family!
LIVING THE VALUES
The journey does not end with the values that we created and inscribed. We are working cooperatively to try and live by them day-by-day, and discover ways of sharing them in our internal and external communications. We are making them real for people, visualizing them on the shop floor in our factory, in the office (for when we can return) and digitally for home working. We are now actively including the new values in the induction of new employees and all the team’s objectives.
Most importantly, this experience has not merely been about identifying Frog Bike’s new values. It is about committing to them, as individuals, and as a company. And, it has also assisted to elevate team spirit, to ascertain the true self of the company, and to look positively into the future with enthusiasm.
THE END RESULT
The result is a fantastic, authentic set of values that we all recognise and relate to, which reflect our team’s view of our culture and our aspirations. Keeping to the framework of our original 4 P’s, we have developed what they stand for:
- 👥 People: We collaborate to find solutions, communicating respectfully with honesty, humility and integrity looking forward with positivity to the future.
- 🚲 Product: Innovation inspired by our customers, using our specialist knowledge, skilled manufacturing and attention to detail to create market-leading bikes.
- 📈 Profit: We build positive, long-term relationships with our colleagues, customers and suppliers, sourcing responsibly and spending thoughtfully.
- 🌍 Planet: We protect our natural resources by integrating sustainability into all aspects of our lives, sharing best practice both at home and at work.
We are very proud of these, and of all the work that went into their creation.
In a few years, the business may evolve again, and it will be time to get the flip charts out once more. The 4 pillars of our values will not change, but as the organisation grows, so will the priorities and the needs of our people.