That’s why core values are important. It clears away the fog when an employee needs to make a tough decision.
A client of mine was recently contacted by a potential customer that wanted a new website. The project was going to be very big. The problem was the potential client was selling a product he didn’t 100% believe in.
We talked about benefits and negatives of taking on this type of client. In the end he looked back on his core values. This new client didn’t align with his 7th core value – Work with positive and helpful companies. He didn’t feel like this company embodied this value.
He said no to the project.
He told me it was one of the hardest decisions he has ever made because he knew the money would help his company. Six months later he tells me he made the best possible choice. Less than a month later another potential customer with a big project came to him. It was an amazing company that had similar values to him.
He would never have been able to take on both projects at the same time. If he had accepted the first project he wouldn’t have worked with this dream client.
I’ve been working with companies for 5 years, helping them build great company culture. The most missed ingredient to creating great culture is explaining to employees what the company’s core values are and how they work.
I’m going to break down how to uncover your company’s core values so you can use them to help guide your employees’ decisions.
- Ask Your Employees What They Think the Company Believes In
Your employees have a very solid idea of what the company stands for. You need to capture these ideas and incorporate them into your core values. When you incorporate your employees’ ideas into what the company believes in you get a stronger document that employees can use to guide their choices.
- Ask Yourself What You Think Your Company Believes In
As you think about putting your core values all in one place you must ask yourself what you believe the company believes in. The creator of the document needs to take the task very seriously. That’s why founders and CEO’s should be a major influencer in how the document reads. They created and run the company because they believed in the vision and impact the company can and does have on the world.
- Begin to Compile all the Best Values into One Document
Now that you have everyone’s input, put all the ideas into one document. See how they look and feel. Don’t feel you need to create this document in one week. This should be a process that happens over time so you can capture the true soul of the company.
- Combine Similar Values Together
Many of the ideas will be similar. Look at how you can combine them into one value. Is there a theme that two or more values can fit into one?
- Keep Your Values Down to as Few as Possible (5 – 10 work best for most companies)
I encourage companies to create no more than 10 values because too many values and they lose their impact. You want a concise, economical and memorable list that really gets to the heart of the company’s beliefs.
- Publish Your Core Values Internally and Externally
When you have your core values list. I always suggest that people publish them for employees and customers to see. Zappos puts their core values all over their building. They are a constant reminder of how employees should act and grow.
- Use Your Core Values in your Marketing
One of the best uses for a core values list is to help guide your marketing decisions. When you market from your core values you are giving people reasons to connect and believe in you as a company. Think of your favorite companies. What do they stand for? Why do you connect with these values?
When you look at why you connect with other companies’ values you can see why people would connect with your own company values.
Craft your messages from your core values. You’ll be attracting ideal customers that want to be a part of your vision.
Once you have a document, make this a living document that adjusts to the needs of your company. A review of the document at least every 1-2 years is vital to keeping your company values relevant and useful.
Does your company have core values? Do you have a core values document?
* If your company needs help developing this core values document and how to use this to improve your marketing I’m here to help. You can contact me and we’ll set up a discovery session.