What are your core values and why are they important?

Not only do you need core values, you already have them.  Every business does.  I wrote last week that “as goes the leadership team so goes the company.”  What this means is a company, from top to bottom needs to move forward under the rules of its core values – the personality of your company (of you).

What are core values?

  • Those characteristics that define your culture and who you truly are as people.
  • They already exist – but they get lost in the day to day chaos.
  • They are the essence of what the company believes.

You will be most successful by aligning all of the actions of your company to your core values.  Everyone has to have a clear understanding of what they are and know that they are the driving force of the company and the decisions made.

Glenn Smith, founder of the Growth Coach has seven reasons why it is important to know and document what your core values are:

  1. They determine your company distinctives. What makes you different from everyone else in your industry or in your field. What differentiates you? One way to do this is with your core values. You want to be clear about what those are.
  2. They dictate personal involvement and alignment. When you go to hire staff and employees, you want people who are in alignment with your core values. You can train them in skills. But they must be in alignment with your core values.
  3. They communicate what is important. What’s important to you, the employees, and the company.
  4. They influence overall behavior. The core values influence how the staff act, and you can see it. They live it out, and you want that to happen in your company.
  5. The inspire people to action. People take positive action because they aspire to live up to those core values.
  6. They contribute to the overall success of the organization.
  7. They shape the organizational culture.

So you agree that you must document your core values.  How do you go about it?  Follow these steps from Gino Wickman’s book traction:

  • You and your management team create a list of three people that, if you could clone them, would lead to market domination.
  • From that list, what are the characteristics of each person that are truly valuable?  Right them down.
  • Narrow this list down to 15 items.
  • Prioritize the list from most important to lease important.  Pick the top 3-7.  These are going to closely represent your core values.

Lots of good stuff to think about.  Why be mediocre when you can be great?  Why struggle when you can flourish?  It starts with your core values.

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