core values listIt has almost become a series of catch phrases in modern business, as you hear executives talking, on and on, about their company’s core values, endless mission statements and the importance of a “strong” organizational culture. It’s so prevalent that all of these are now commonly accepted as standard business language. But what exactly does this all mean? Do you know what your company’s core values are, and why they’re so important? If you’re the boss, have you made this clear to all of your staff? If not, be sure to check out this course on successfully defining your business from day one and get it right the first time.

An organization’s core values are the fundamental beliefs and guiding principles for all of their behavior. They help people determine what’s right and wrong, and help companies to decide if they’re on the right path. The core values within an organization are effectively the backbone that supports the corporate vision, shapes a business’s culture, and reflects the heart of what it is a particular company is interested in achieving. Look through this course and decide what it’s going to take to achieve your own company’s vision. At the core of this all are the company values, which are essentially a snapshot of a company’s identity, their beliefs and principles. Most companies invest heavily in the technical skills of their staff, and it’s not hard to forget that often what makes a business successful, and keeps it running smooth is the set of core values all the staff believe in.

Setting this up right can help your business in many ways:

If you’ve got a business already, you’re probably asking yourself now “so how do I set the core values in my own company?” That is a great question, but typically these cannot be set just because you decide you want to. Most companies have a set of core values already, they just need to be discovered. You’ll be surprised to learn that these values are probably also quite strong, even if they haven’t been formalized and communicated. They’ve simply developed based on how the managers and customers operate, and how people go about their days and get their jobs done. Discovering these can be tricky, but here’s what you need to do:

  1. Choose 5-7 people that are the highest performers, are well respected by both their teams and their peers and have a good understanding of your own core values.
  2. Get them each to list out the core values they believe the organization to currently hold.
  3. Run through each of the core values they come up with and ask “Are any of these core values fundamental to the business?”
  4. Look at them yourself, and ask if you would continue to hold these values yourself if you no longer needed to work another day in your life?
  5. Question the entire team and ask them if they see these values being valid in 100 years, and discover why (or why not).
  6. Find out if they would want the organization to hold on to these values, even if they became a competitive disadvantage at a later stage.
  7. Ask if they left the company today, and started a new job tomorrow, in a different industry altogether, would they follow the same core values?

Using the insight from the last three questions you can make a critical separation between strategy and values. Core values are fixed no matter what, regardless of time, internal or external factors. The strategies you follow are fluid, and can change as needs require. Make sure that every item on your list has answers of yes, for these questions, and you’ll have a very good idea of what makes up the heart of your organization. As you work through these, you’ll find that you may want to strive for more and more core values, or there are a huge amount present because the list is potentially endless. What’s critical to success is actually aligning your corporate values with what it is your customers value. If you hit this nail on the head you’ll be positioned for radical success, which you can learn more about in this post.

If you’re new to all this you are probably wondering what the heck core values actually look like. There are definitely similarities between companies across different industries, and these are a list of common core values you will come across in business:

The trouble with core values is that there are so many great attributes to have – you can often find yourself with a fast growing list of values. It’s not possible to live by them all, and if you try your staff will have no idea on what to focus on. Keeping it short, simple and direct is key to getting your company on the right track. It’s also difficult to communicate and reinforce your values when there are more than 4 or 5. Learn what it takes to communicate these effectively to your entire staff though this course. When you begin looking at companies that have a strong set of core values today, here’s some you may recognize from some of the biggest companies out there:

Google

Their focus on what they call the “10 things we know to be true”

Apple

Microsoft

As a company, and as individuals, we value integrity, honesty, openness, personal excellence, constructive self-criticism, continual self-improvement, and mutual respect. We are committed to our customers and partners and have a passion for technology. We take on big challenges, and pride ourselves on seeing them through. We hold ourselves accountable to our customers, shareholders, partners, and employees by honoring our commitments, providing results, and striving for the highest quality.

Often the best way to see if a company is truly living by their core values is to observe them. Core values are truly only core values if they influence the people within the organization, and they live by these. The best companies have developed very effective core values that are also working hard to instill these throughout their organizations. Take a moment and think of your own company, and the positive effect you could have on it by identifying and working on improving your own core values. A CEO’s primary job is to motivate and sustain a company over the long run, and understanding your core values is at the heart of this. Once you’ve got your head around the values, learn about the foundations of business strategy and start making a difference, today.

Empower your team. Lead the industry.

Get a subscription to a library of online courses and digital learning tools for your organization with Udemy for Business.

Request a demo