In preparation for our upcoming seminar, Ben Kimbrell (see blog, A Better Way) and I were discussing the importance of core values with respect to business success. I’ve been to many companies where they might talk about core values, and you may see them on posters as you walk through the hallways. Core values are often posted on websites for everyone to know what a company stands for. But how many times are these business core values just hollow words? Do your core values impact the way you do business?
Business Core Values
Almost every company I come across has a set of business core values. Why? Because a company’s core values dictate the culture. However, there is often a disconnect between the core values posted in the break room and on the company website, and the behaviors of the workforce. When was the last time you looked at your core values and did an assessment of how well they are reflected in your culture? Here are some reasons why having a consistent set of core values will help you create a culture that helps your business thrive.
Standard of Behavior
Core values set a standard of behavior of what is important, and what is not tolerated. I discussed my core values in my blog Four Rules for Winning. In a nutshell, they are:
- Listen to those who are trying to help you.
- Give 100% effort to everything you do.
- Show respect to EVERYONE – ALWAYS
- Have Fun
On more than one occasion I have found myself doing business or working with someone that doesn’t adhere to these same values. These things are non-negotiable on my opinion. When these “rules” or standards of behavior are violated, there is either a change in behavior or I terminate the relationship. This applies to clients, partners, or employees. As a result, I have confronted bosses, clients, and even quit jobs over a lack of adherence to these principles. That is how important core values should be.
Company core values are becoming increasingly important to consumers these days. Customers want to know what a company stands for. In fact, evidence points to trends that if a company is involved in a social cause that consumers identify with, then they are more likely to purchase from those companies. Chick-Fil-A, as an example, has core values centered around family and Christian beliefs. They are unwilling to open their stores on Sunday, even though they have a store in the Atlanta Falcons football stadium. This loyalty to their core values attracts customers, as well as protests. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream also promotes a social mission for everyone involved in their business, helping them maintain brand loyalty.
Leaders in an organization are responsible for the culture. You must lead by example. Core values cannot be just a slogan on a website, or posters on a wall. Integrate core values into everything your business does. Your core values must be evident in everything you do, in and out of the workplace, otherwise they are not really core values. It is incumbent upon leadership to hold people accountable for adhering to core values. Remember that these are your values, as a leader, and if you cannot enforce them it reflects poorly on you.
Your employees will appreciate consistency in your leadership style. It sets clear expectations for behavior. Your core values will impact your customer and client experience. And if your values align with those of your customers and potential customers your business will thrive!
This Week’s Challenge
Identify your core values. Does each member of your team know what your core values are? How are they evident in everything you do?
If you would like to discuss more ways to help your business grow or if you feel you have a specific problem that needs to be addressed, please reach out to me.