In setting up LitheSpeed, at one point we were trying to define what it was what we wanted to do. After going around for a while without coming to definite conclusions, we decided to take the approach that is popular in the Agile world — begin from a foundation of values. Just as agile methods build on the Agile Manifesto, and the Agile Project Leadership Network (APLN) defined the Declaration of Inter-dependence, it’s now easier for us to articulate our definition of business success based on our values. Here’s what we evolved:

• We generate immense value for our clients, ourselves and our communities.
• We always strive for the edge.
• We give back.
• We prepare our industries for the next generation.
• We don’t do anything we don’t enjoy.
• We don’t do anything that compromises our family life.

So, when I read this article, A Purpose-driven Business that management consultant Brad Dawson mailed to me yesterday, it brought more clarity to what we had been trying to do when we defined our values. Brad’s advice to develop an outward mission, combat the contractor mentality, adopt a work to live attitude, choose the road less traveled, and to prioritize what is important to you brought it home in a very tangible and succint way.

Brad makes a strong push for small businesses as positive forces, especially in their local communities. For those of us in the Agile community, with our insistence on small teams, that’s certainly a message that resonates. But, since the merger-and-acquisition trend in industry doesn’t seem like it’s going to reverse anytime soon what about the majority of folks who work within large organizations? Perhaps, there’s something to be said for defining how to operate “small” within large corporate entities. More on this later.