How do you define what is really important to you? Your fundamental values, both personally and in business. You just kind of know them right? Have you ever tried to clearly express what those things are? Its surprisingly difficult to do!
Earlier in the year I did some work with my business coach and we did an exercise to identify my ‘Guiding Principles’. I’ve heard it called various names on podcasts or interviews and had actually already done the exercise previously but then hadn’t followed through to work out how to make it useful until I went through it with Roland.
It is quite simple – write down 100 sentences starting with “At *Maike Design* we strive to…”
The thing with 100 sentences is that there aren’t 100 completely different things you can write. I didn’t manage 100, I think I got to 80 or so. I started off with all the obvious ones …listen to my clients, design to engage all the senses, support local craftspeople, respond to context and site, etc… and when I got to about 20 and I’d run out.
Then it started to get interesting, because 20 isn’t enough, you’ve got to keep going. I started to repeat myself but each time it went a little deeper and was a little more specific. The sweeping statements I’d made early on were being unpacked and examined more closely.
Once I had it all written down, looking at my sentences I began to re-arrange them into groups. I saw that my aspirations fell into 4 main categories: Design, Clients, Personal and Business. Within each of these groups I looked at how similar statements could be further grouped and summarised into more concise sentences.
The key to the Guiding Principles is that there are to be no grey areas. They are actionable and focussed statements that will always be at the core of everything I do. It took a couple of goes to find just the right words. It really helped to have someone to work through them with, so find a buddy if you’re going to do it. I am really happy with what I’ve ended up with – they do reflect how I strive to run my business and its nice having them clearly expressed and easy to communicate.
Our design projects are a team effort. We listen and value the input of our clients, builders and consultants.
We work with nice people:
We conduct ourselves considerately, respectfully and with care and choose to work with people who will behave in the same way.
We work with dedicated people:
We are dedicated to providing a quality outcome for all our projects and have worked to put in place carefully considered systems and processes. We choose to work with people who are also dedicated to our processes and the successful completion of our projects.
We create thoughtful design:
We believe that the best designs are a delight to experience and we work to ensure our designs are a unique reflection of each project’s context and client.
We believe in the importance of details:
We create spaces that celebrate the nuances of daily domestic rituals as a balance of beauty and function. We value quality construction, craftsmanship, bespoke detailing and honest materiality.
We communicate efficiently and honestly:
We take responsibility for our projects and provide solution-oriented support for our clients throughout our process. We do not shy away from transparent and upfront communication even when the news isn’t good.
We are thorough:
Documentation is the best way to communicate the design to others, so we ensure our process is thorough and documentation is concise.
We charge fees that allow us to do great work:
Our fees reflect the quality of our work and the time taken to create unique, thoughtful spaces and ensure our projects run as smoothly as possible. To do this we work on projects that have realistic budgets and clients who understand the value we can bring to their project.
We look after everyone involved:
The process of building a home takes time. Its success depends on forming a solid and lasting relationship with those involved. Family is a key consideration in everything we do. This includes our actual family, professional family and client’s family. As an organisation we care for everyone immediately involved in our process as well extending to the people that they care about as well.