Recently, we took the time to clearly define our core values as a business. We defined core values as the qualities we want to consistently demonstrate as a business, and thus the qualities we want to hire and foster in our team, our partners, and our relationships with customers.
The key is writing them down and (over)communicating them. When you take that step, you simplify hiring decisions, begin to attract the right people who will thrive in your unique environment, and draw a line in the sand on how you make decisions and engage with the broader world. Customers and partners know what to expect, and employees feel a deeper “knowing” of who you are as a business.
Of course, this is dependent on nailing the right values that truly represents “who” your business is. It takes some time and massaging to find the right words, prioritize the myriad of values you have, and to ensure it rings true with how the business operates and what you honor and reward from your team.
Once you identify it, everyone who knows your business should say “EUREKA… That’s it!” That’s the litmus test for authenticity. If, for example, you have high value for COMPASSION and yet drive a culture fixated on profit, people will furrow their eyebrows and not only discard the core values but also begin to question either your integrity or your awareness of the truth.
Our core values are 1) Integrity, 2) Humility, 3) Mental Engagement, 4) Optimism, and 5) Passion & Energy. Summed, they are the essence of how we show up and play. It’s not for everyone, but it is who we are and who we intend to remain even as we grow, change, and evolve.
Unearthing, exploring, and naming your core values is a great exercise that will generate passionate discussion amongst your stakeholders. Core values are not to be compromised: they are grounding and stabilizing. In times of conflict or chaos, they bring teams back to the simple, linear truth of who you are and what you honor.