Establishing core values and sticking to them
Oftentimes when working with a business owner we’ll encounter a situation where they feel like either they or their staff are slowly drifting out of alignment. More often than not this cognitive dissonance is brought on by a lack of defined and consistent company core values. After all, it’s easy to focus on the obvious things when building a business such as systems, job-specific tasks, etc. However, it’s important to determine the core values on which your company is going to be based on. These core values will set the tone and standard for everything from your brand’s culture to its operating ethics. A good example of having clear core values comes from one of the greatest anti-heroes to ever grace the television screen. Does anybody out there remember The Wire? You know, one of the single greatest television shows ever created. Well, there was a prolific character named Omar on this show who had a quote that’s stuck with me since the first time I heard it, “A man gotta have a code.”. Omar might not have exemplified the exact traits that a business owner should abide by… but he was a man of strong conventions when it came to his code. Once it was defined, he never broke it or betrayed it. He let it guide him towards his success and was never compromised by the beliefs of others. So let me ask you this, if a shotgun-toting stickup boy can maintain strong values in the slums of Baltimore, what’s stopping you from doing the same with your business?
What are core values and how do I define mine?
Core values are defined as the main traits and standards that a company and its employees should hold themselves to. It is important when defining one’s core values to consider what’s best for the business owner specifically. After all, we like to say that the business exists to serve the business owner, so the core values should reflect those of the owner. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to what specific values should be adopted. Most people get hung up on what ideas will be universally accepted when rather they should be focused on what values they personally believe in. These values will determine what type of employees you will attract as well as the overall quality of work your business will accomplish. So, what are some examples of core values? I’m so glad you asked! Below are just a few that you have my permission to shamelessly steal:
- Sense of humor
And the list goes on. What’s important is that your core values can be defined and measured. Choose aspects that you want to see in yourself and that can be reflected in your employees and their work. Make sure the values that you choose have your full support and belief. Choosing arbitrary values does nothing for your growth. You must have full faith in your values otherwise they are pointless.
Why should I care about my company’s core values?
This next thought bubble is for the employees so listen up! Core values are put in place in order to make sure that every member of a business is moving in the same direction. They serve as the guidelines for performance. As an employee, these core values will help you grow and be promoted with enough diligent application. I used to be the average, C player employee that saw a company’s core values posted in a handbook and it was enough to make me roll my eyes. But that was before I understood the point behind them. When I began working for Clay I realized very quickly that quality and results were major values of the Thrive culture. It wasn’t until I started to adopt these values that I actually began to grow and become a better employee. By embracing and embodying the company’s core values I became a better employee and began to add more value to my position.
What does it mean to represent the core values of my company?
I’m still talking to you Mr. or Ms. employee. Representing your company’s core values doesn’t mean to just simply sign the handbook stating that you understand them, nor is it printing them out and leaving them on your desk to be forgotten about. Truly representing core values means adopting them into your daily routine and being the prime example of what each value truly embodies. If your company has a value of timeliness, show up early consistently. If honesty is a main focus, always be forthright and honest with your words and actions. It’s easy to say you’re going to represent the established core values, but it takes hard work and commitment to actually do so effectively. Core values don’t exist just to make a company look good. They’re important for the longevity of the business as well as its employees. These beliefs are far more than just words. And if you as a business owner or employee fully embrace them, you’ll begin to become the prime examples of the very values themselves.