Core Values are the rules and boundaries that define the company’s culture and personality. They answer the questions of ‘Should we or Shouldn’t we’. They are the test for all the behaviors and decisions for everyone in the company.
When your top managers and the founder understand this and lead by this example, when their decisions and behaviors are led by the Core Values, that will flow down to the rest of the company.
When the Core Values are felt and lived by through the entire company, the upper manager, leaders, founders don’t get dragged down into the day-to-day decisions and operations.
The Core values are like the North Star. When you have strong Core Values and they are shared with and instilled into every person in the company, they become the ‘rules. So, when someone comes to ‘ask permission’, leaders can respond with ‘consult the Core Values’.
Now management can trust employees to make the right decisions and this gives space for delegating with the confidence your staff is going to make those right decisions.
Its like when you are raising your children. You give them boundaries. You raise them with a set of rules, ethics, morals, values. As they grow older, they must make decisions for themselves. But you have given them the framework. It’s the same with your company. Give your team those same boundaries and values.
Companies have a culture. You may hear it referred to as corporate culture. But, in essence, it’s the personality of the company. All companies have one, whether you recognize it or not. Whether its good or not, your company has one.
Like young children, discovering your Core Values early on is a great idea. Trying to change the personality of a company decades later will cause chaos and trauma. Think about adults who in their 30s realize everything their parents taught them when they were young was seriously flawed. Hence, all the therapy we need.
And discovering those values is a process. It isn’t something the founder hands down as an edict. Values are more than a nice list of clichés like honesty, integrity, and customer service. I hope you are doing those anyway or you won’t be in business long. This list also speaks nothing to the culture; the company itself.
Discovering your Core values is a process that requires time with your team. Digging deep into the personality of the company and mining for the gold. Like one of Disney’s Core Values is “Preservation and control of the Disney magic.” And you see that every time you go to Disney. ‘Controlled magic!’
Once you understand your company’s Core Values, its personality and soul, you can share it, live it and breath it with the team and everyone in the company. It will shape and guide all decisions from hiring and firing to growth and expansion. They will become your guiding light and always keep you going in the right direction.
Let me know if we can help you properly discover the right Core Values. Using the wrong list will only confuse the organization and send it into endless therapy!