Developing Values

Core values are what support the vision, shape the culture and reflect what the company values. They are the essence of the company’s identity – the principles, beliefs or philosophy of values. Many companies focus mostly on the technical competencies but often forget what are the underlying competencies that make their companies run smoothly — core values. Establishing strong core values provides both internal and external advantages to the company:

  • They Should Reflect Your Essence. Some say you don’t create your values – you discover them. They should reflect who you really are.
  • They Help Decisions. Core values help companies in the decision-making processes. For example, if one of your core values is to stand behind the quality of your products, any products not reaching the satisfactory standard are automatically eliminated.
  • They Set Your Identity in the Market. Core values educate clients and potential customers about what the company is about and clarify the identity of the company. Especially in this competitive world, having a set of specific core values that speak to the public is definitely a competitive advantage.
  • They Set You Apart with Talent. Core values are becoming primary recruiting and retention tools. With the ease of researching companies, job seekers are doing their homework on the identities of the companies they are applying for and weighing whether or not these companies hold the values that the job seekers consider as important.
  • They are Timeless. Core values are timeless and do not change; they are sustainable in the longer term. They don’t change in an economic downturn or in a change of strategy or with a new set of products.

“Core values are fixed regardless of the time and factors.” 

So how do you discover core values? Here are some questions that can help:

  • Are the core values that you hold to be fundamental regardless of whether or not they are awarded?
  • If you woke up tomorrow morning with enough money to retire for the rest of your life, would you continue to hold on to these core values?
  • Can you envision these values being as valid 100 years from now as they are today?
  • Would you want the organization to continue to hold these values, even if at some point, they became a competitive disadvantage?
  • If you were to start a new organization tomorrow in a different line of work, would you build the core values into the new organization regardless of its activities?

The last three questions are crucial because they help to make a crucial distinction between core values and strategies – core values are fixed regardless of the time and factors, internal as well as external, affecting the organization, while strategies and practices should be changing all the time. If the answers are yes for each of the core values chosen, then you have yourself what constitute the identity of your organization.

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