Corporate core values not only support your company vision, they are the driving force for your corporate identity and decision making framework. It’s critical that they’ve not only been thoughtfully identified and written down, but that they are routinely verbalized and ingrained in your team’s daily work ethos.
What are YOUR company’s core values?
If you can’t quickly articulate three to four core values of your business, then you have some work to do. If you can articulate them, but you ask a team member to do the same and they cannot, then you definitely have some work to do.
In addition to being critical to your identity and driving your decision making, corporate core values are also important in attracting and retaining today’s workforce talent. Study after study on the millennial generation highlights their desire for purpose beyond the bottom line. 6 in 10 millenials seek a “sense of purpose” in their job and use it as one of the factors in determining whether to accept an offer or stay with a company longer.
In a wonderful 2015 article in Forbes magazine by Greg Satell, four considerations are outlined for considering your corporate values.
- Values have a cost.
In other words, if you can’t withstand the “pain” of adhering to the value, don’t write it down.
- Values have a purpose.
Since corporate values drive your business decision-making framework, it’s important to ensure you understand each values purpose.
- Values lead to action.
When defining your values, consider the action(s) that may be required to live up to the values and ensure you are willing to take those actions. Otherwise, don’t write it down.
- Values must further the greater mission of the enterprise.
Don’t confuse values with beliefs. Or perhaps better put, don’t confuse actual values (what you are) with aspirational values (what you hope to be).
The four considerations outlined by Mr. Satell provide an useful framework for narrowing down your corporate values. This ties nicely to an exercise we completed recently with our LXCouncil groups. We discussed the importance of corporate values and identified one possible strategy for defining them.
How to define your company core values.
In the referenced strategy above, our CEO/Business Owner members were provided a list of approximately 75 words representing potential core values. It was not an exhaustive list by any stretch, but the words included things like, “accessibility, accomplishment, anticipation, candor, empathy, excellence, fun, generosity, impact, kindness, progress, proactive, structured, timely, visionary, and wisdom.”
Each LXCouncil member was asked to identify their top ten words from this list, or from other words that were already part of their core values statement. From there, they were asked to identify what behaviors would support or protect these values, as well as identify what behaviors could damage these values. Working through this exercise, many members were able to pare their list down to the top three to five that truly defined their corporate identity.
In working through this exercise, several of our CEOs / business owners were able to formulate their corporate values for the first time, and for many others they were able to refine/enhance their existing corporate value statements.
So … what are your corporate core values? Are they defined, written down, and ingrained in your team? If not, give this exercise a try.
“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave them all over everything you do.”
~ Elvis Presley
If you are ready to kick start the growth of your business in a strategic way, LXCouncil is great place to start. Let’s start a conversation and unchain your infinite entrepreneurial potential!
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