3 Keys to Making Core Values Count

A cohesive vision for the future is central to any thriving company; it’s the road map by which you and your team steer the business to success. But a set of lofty goals isn’t quite enough to motivate and unify an organization. It’s important to have an overarching aim for the coming years, but you also need to provide some guidance on how your business should conduct itself today. You need core values that encourage a certain spirit for your team and hold them to a high standard of excellence.

To build a set of core values that’s unique and valuable to your business, you must first decide whose input you want during the process. This should be a panel of the key players in your business and employees skilled at providing new and powerful ideas. Ensure that each of the members of your think tank embodies the qualities you want to see throughout your organization.

Next, get everyone in a room to start brainstorming. Set a date for a meeting and encourage everyone to come prepared with a list of values they feel are the most important for your business. Ask your think tank which values are central to them as individuals and expand that to include values that are vital to your entire company.

After you’ve got a healthy list of good ideas, combine and define them. Look for commonalities. It’s likely that many of them will orbit just a few key principles. After a bit of pruning and rewording, these principles become your core values. Once you’ve got your set of 5–10 main ideas, outline exactly what each of them means in a few sentences or a paragraph. You may want a skilled writer on board during this step to nail down a set of clear and compelling definitions.

The process may be difficult, but once you’re done, you and your team will have a set of powerful, unifying core values. These will state your company’s purpose and drive your team to excellence. Core values may seem like a small consideration in the midst of day-to-day operations, but they can make an enormous difference.