Does Your Have Company Core Values?
There are only three reasons to have a list of core values.
1: Inspire and reinforce “on-brand” behavior from employees.
2: Assist in the orientation and onboarding of new hires.
3: Inform investors, customers, and other interested parties of what they can expect from you.
PROBLEM: When your core values include aspirational words that describe attributes rather than actions, your core values list will be interpreted differently by different readers, regardless of any clarifying language that might appear beneath the aspirational words.
Use descriptions of actions
rather than create a list of attributes.
These are a few core values
that describe aspirational attributes
rather than observable actions:
How do you know if a person is transparent, accountable, or passionate?
It is hard to know what a person is being, but it is easy to see what they are doing.
Actions are easier to recognize than Attributes.
This is why lists of attributes rarely ring true in the hearts of employees.
When you list aspirational attributes instead of observable actions:
- Employees aren’t exactly sure what to do.
- New hires are intimidated and confused.
- Investors, customers, and other interested parties will not be able to clearly observe your core values manifested through the actions of your people.
If your employees do not see your core values modeled by their fellow employees and reinforced by management each day, you don’t have a core values list; you have a wish list, a poster on the wall that will quickly become invisible.
An actionable Core Values List will improve your company culture as well as the experience you deliver to your customers.
Ray Seggern teaches:
Your core values list is the Story you are telling,
the daily experience of your employees determines your Culture,
and the reactions of your customers will be determined by the Experience you give them.
If you have a Wish List of aspirational attributes rather than a Core Values List of observable actions, here are a few examples of how attributes can be expressed and described as actions:
Rather than say “Transparency,”
we might say, “We make only honest and accurate statements about our products.”
Rather than say “Integrity,”
we might say, “We always follow through on our promises.”
Rather than say “Quality,”
we might say, “We will only sell products that are expertly manufactured from the finest materials.”
Rather than say “Accountability,”
we might say, “We never make excuses for our shortcomings or try to shift the blame to others.
Rather than say “Respect,”
we might say, “We use courteous language at all times and maintain eye contact when others are speaking.
Rather than say “Passion,”
we might say, “We smile and display energy, attention, and enthusiasm at all times.”
In conclusion: A core values list, by definition, should contain only your core values. Don’t let it morph into a comprehensive list that feels like a sermon or a pep talk. Short, tight lists work better than long, rambling ones. Your core values list should not exceed 100 words. (The “actions” list in bold letters is 71 words.)
Roy H. Williams