Core Values Are Your Guiding Principles

As a business leader, you are responsible for the culture you create. Two primary drivers are purpose and core values. Purpose excites people, attracts them to a common goal. Core values bring people together, inspire a sense of belonging. So as you hire people, be sure they follow the core values of the business. Above all else, be sure your values are authentic.

Developing this type of values can be overwhelming. Avoid the temptation to copy the values of your competitor or someone you admire. As a business leader, stay present with who you are. Reflect on yourself, your boundaries, what is important to you. Core values are guiding principles of behavior. In the workplace, it is what binds people to a common way of getting along and producing meaningful work. They facilitate people’s understanding of how they want to be treated both in the company and by external parties. It is how they will treat others as well.

We embed business values into every employee-related process – recruitment, retention, performance measurement, promotions, rewards, learning and development. We test decisions, big and small, against core values. In short, it is the high water mark for business, keeping our culture in alignment with our values. The people we hire will consistently hold business leaders accountable for such alignment.

Patrick M. Lencioni says “make your values mean something”. In fact, 55% of all Fortune 100 companies claim integrity is a core value, 49% espouse customer satisfaction and 40% tout team-work. While these are good qualities, they are not authentic. As a result, your team will find it difficult to embrace and model these types of values. For example, integrity speaks more to ethics. We expect to hire people who have integrity.

By way of example, one of our values is ‘curiosity’. It simply means to ask ‘why’; to fall in love with the problem – not the solution! We do this by asking questions. As an illustration, see A More Beautiful Question.  As such, curiosity is built into our approach. That is, we use a simple problem solving process to make our work more meaningful.