As I wrote in the previous blog, creating direction-setters for yourself and your employees is essential in building a company that depends on you less and less. Without a clear sense of purpose, how can any person or enterprise succeed?

After you craft a mission statement, the next direction setter to be created is the company’s core values. What, exactly, are core values? They are five to seven qualities that are touch-points for anyone making a decision on behalf of the company. A company (or person, for that matter) typically has core values, but often the core values have not been written down or even thought through.

Here is what says about core values: “Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. The core values are the guiding principles that dictate behavior and action. Core values can help people to know what is right from wrong; they can help companies to determine if they are on the right path and fulfilling their business goals; and they create an unwavering and unchanging guide.”

It is best to, as with most things, keep them simple. A word or a phrase for each core value is sufficient. Under each core value there can be one to three sentences that “bring it to life” for the reader, the person who is not 100% familiar with the company.

Among core values that are used often are:

  • Honest
  • Integrity
  • Dependable
  • Communication
  • Profitable

Why “profitable?” If a company is not focused on being profitable it won’t last long! And it is okay for everyone in the company and who works with the company to know that being profitable is important to the company.
How to develop core values for your company? Have you and your employees each write down five to seven core values, the ones that truly caption the essence of your company. Meet to discuss the results. Write down each person’s idea of what the company’s core values are.

See if there is any duplication. Anything that is mentioned by more than one person is likely to be accurate.

Using the input of your people create a draft set of core values. Circulate for review and comment. Consider any further input offered you. Then publish your company’s core values.

When you are asked “What should I do about…?” ask your employee “Referencing our mission statement and core values what should do you think you should do?” That is the best way to bring the core values to life!