10 Ways Core Values Add Value

I’m a big fan of Core Values. I believe that rightly used, they are one of the most powerful mechanisms at a leader’s disposal. Core Values are nothing more than the short list of beliefs that a leader articulates to guide the formation of the organization’s culture. Core Values should become the DNA of an organization. But first, there is a prerequisite...

For these values to add value, leaders must:

Know the values. Share the values. Live the values.

Assuming all three of these conditions are met, here are 10 ways Core Values add value.

1. Core Values create a common language within an organization. Once your values are established, you’ll need to begin the journey to ensure the ideas and concepts are clearly understood. Don’t assume publishing the words alone is sufficient.
2. Core Values establish norms of conduct and approach. By definition, your Core Values are the beliefs that you want to inform/drive the behavior within your organization. Once you communicate the values, people will begin to respond accordingly.
3. Core Values set the priorities of the organization. Not operating priorities – cultural priorities. Culture is the most powerful force in any organization. Your values, once firmly rooted, are your culture.
4. Core Values, when rank ordered, establish behavioral priorities as well. Disney’s values are Safety, Courtesy, The Show and Efficiency, in that order. Therefore, it is clear that a character in the park should always abandon the show to respond to a safety issue.
5. Core Values can be used to screen potential employees. Some organizations attempt to hire people and then teach them to live the values. I’ve always been an advocate of selecting people who already embody the organization’s values.
6. Core Values provide a standard against which people can be evaluated. Many companies evaluate employees on both traditional performance metrics and adherence to the Core Values.
7. Core Values accelerate the contribution of new employees. There is a natural tentativeness in people when they don’t know what is valued in a culture. Without overt declaration of Core Values, new people may spend many months attempting to figure them out.
8. Core Values create a platform for leaders to articulate and demonstrate what matters most. Done well, this builds the people’s trust and confidence in their leaders.
9. Core Values provide strategic opportunities for recognition. The behavior you recognize and reward will be repeated.
10. Nothing will shape a culture faster than Core Values articulated, modeled and recognized in practice.
Does EVRYONE in your organization know your Core Values? Think about the power of getting everyone aligned around what matters most.[GLS_Shield]

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Andrew Cornell

11 years ago

These are all great points. I am realizing more and more just how far reaching core values go in terms of organizational health. If fully embodied, culture is like a magnet. If cliche or not genuine, they have the opposite effect. If well-articulated and embodied, they give life and energy to a team. Great thoughts! And timely for some things I'm wrestling with! Thanks Mark!


11 years ago

Thanks for your comments! I continue to be amazed by the power of core values. It was great to see you today! Please let me know if I can serve you in the future. Mark

Leadership in 140 Characters « Eric Echols

10 years ago

[...] Core Values Add Value [...]

Richard Parslow

10 years ago

Excellent article: our core values affect everything we do (at work and everywhere else) and how we do it. All executives must have similar core values: they do not need to be *identical*; but if there are major differences in key areas they will inevitably cause conflict.
The crucial next step is to define corporate goals in line with these values – and share them with everyone in the organization. Again, everyone needs to believe in these goals and agree that they are worthwhile. Alignment of values and goals ensures genuine buy-in, emotional as well as cognitive.
Clear, well expressed inspirational goals also help to define *What* you need to do to achieve them and *How* you are going to do it. Your high-level business goals and their relative importance will determine the appropriate subgoals in every area – and help you to plan the projects to achieve them (with roles and responsibilities, timescales, etc).
For a visual display of your goals and priorities, project plans and progress use Goalscape (www.goalscape.com). See also Marcus Baur’s article ‘Why the Visual Overview is Vital’: http://www.goalscape.com/blog/why-visual-overview-vital-success-sport-business-and-life-marcus-baur.


10 years ago

Thanks, Richard! I agree with your conclusions. Also, thanks for sharing the recommended resources! Please let me know how I can serve you in the future. Mark

My great Wordpress blog | Just another WordPress site | The Critical Role of Team Leader

9 years ago

[…] Are your core values for the enterprise clear? I wrote about this previously in a post entitled, 10 Ways Core Values Add Value. You’ll need to constantly communicate and reinforce these values. When you do, the behavior of […]


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