At Mercury Creative Group we define Essential Value as identifying the authenticity of your organization through the people that work there and the clients or members that utilize your services. It is a word or two that highlights the common thread that resonates with your leaders, team members, clients, members, partners and community.
It’s then woven into your communications so your ideal clients, members, and team members can self-identify that you are the organization for them. If you’re like me you might be thinking – ugh – authenticity – again (insert eye roll here).
Every person, place and thing claims to be authentic lately. This word seems to be taking the same path as descriptions like “gluten-free” or “awesome”. When everything makes the same claim, it starts to lose its impact. Let’s not let that happen to authenticity. It’s a great word with a powerful meaning.
As the resident word nerd for Mercury Creative Group, I took some time to look it up. Yep, I looked up the authentic definition of authentic (insert second eye roll here). “Authentic” has its origin in Greek language. Autos meaning self and hentes meaning doer. This evolved to authentes, one acting on one’s own authority and later authentikos, original and genuine.
When we help our clients identify their Essential Value we go through a series of exercises and discovery sessions to uncover their autos + hentes; who they are and what they do.
Essential Value In Action
We practice what we preach, so we conducted discovery sessions with our own team and identified our own essential value words that resonate with our organization, our clients, our team members and our community.
We landed on Clarity + Alignment.
Clarity: The quality of being easy to understand in appearance, thought and style.
Alignment: a condition of close cooperation, parts of something that are in the proper position relative to each other, an alliance of groups.
Knowing your organization’s Essential Value will help you and your team create consistent communications. As you’re looking to identify your authenticity here’s an exercise to get you started:
Ask your leadership team to recall a specific story when they felt proud of your organization. Stories should be about specific people and moments. Outcomes can affect one person or thousands. These stories are not about money or other metrics; they are about what you have given, not what you have received. Impact stories are about something meaningful and they elicit an emotion.
Listen to each team member tell their story then, using a whiteboard and markers or the chat function in your virtual meeting, ask each member of the group to list their favorite words or short phrases from the stories they heard. This list is gold. It is the beginning of a word map that can help you identify common threads and themes that resonate with your organization. Some of these words and phrases may lead you to identify your Essential Value.
You will also walk away with original, genuine, dare I say – authentic, stories about your organization that you’ll remember forever.