People have personalities, businesses have them too. And they’re called ‘Core Values’.
When you started your business, you had a reason—a “why”. Maybe it was to break out of the mold, or to be the boss for once. Maybe you wanted more money, more control or saw an opportunity you just had to seize. Whatever the reason, you probably (hopefully) started by sitting down and making a business plan that included your goals, a mission and a vision statement—the “what” and the “how” that would drive every business decision you’d make.
Since then, perhaps your company has grown and you’ve hired some talented people to help you carry out that vision, and wherever there is a group of people—in this case, you may call them your “employees”, “staff” or your “team”—a culture exists. And culture is important. So important that many business owners or leaders decide to write “Core Values”. These core values are the culture deciders and drivers. They don’t claim what decisions your business will make; they claim how you will make decisions, do business, and interact as a team. They are the essence of your business’s identity.
So why does your business need them?
First, Core Values tell people what your business cares about.
This includes both your employees and your existing and potential customers.
When your employees’ values are aligned with your business’s values, “people understand one another, everyone does the right things for the right reasons, and this common purpose and understanding helps people build great working relationships. When values are out of alignment, people work towards different goals, with different intentions, and with different outcomes. This can damage work relationships, productivity, job satisfaction, and creative potential.” (Mind Tools)
Second, core values set your business apart.
According to Leadpages.net, the “About” section is typically one of the four most visited areas of your website. People care about what your business cares about. They want to know what makes your company different from the guy next door who can do the same thing. So, when your business has a set of core values that it is actually living and working out in the day-to-day, people will notice. And people will ultimately be drawn to the companies that value what they value.
So, where do you stand?
Here’s the thing. In order to be effective, core values must be more than a list of neatly worded statements. Especially in a world where we see countless headlines about companies large and small that lack integrity and accountability, your business’s Core Values must be available and known and practiced from the top down. If you’ve already written your business’s Core Values, take them out and read through them. Post them somewhere you’ll see them everyday. Re-disperse them to your employees. Talk about them in meetings. Memorize them.
If you’ve yet to write them, that’s okay! We believe it starts with where you first started out. It starts with tapping into the entrepreneur you were when you started your business—the one that wanted to do things better, differently, more honestly and with more integrity. Write down the personality that you want to see your business take on—the one that you want people to notice, not just on your “About” page but in the way you do business on a day-to-day basis.
One last thing.
We’re looking forward to sharing more about our Core Values in the coming weeks – what they mean to us, how they impact the way that we do business, and even how we’ve helped others with their core values and culture branding. Here’s what we’ve come up with and strive to live out every single day!