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Company Core Values


Why intentional company values are essential, and how to approach them thoughtfully.

Discovering and defining core values is a crucial first step for all small businesses that want to retain their best team members and attract new talent.

Your organizational values become the guiding principles that define your unique employee experience - making you a place where talented individuals really want to work. 

Why Core Values matter

Core values are the foundation of any intentionally built company culture. They deserve time and consideration, so they can live beyond being painted on the wall.
 

  • There is nothing more foundational to building intentional culture than defining your company's core values – and then identifying what they actually look like in action! Whether this is the first or the fifth time you are defining them, our resources can help you navigate the process and emerge with values that live far beyond the employee handbook.
     

  • Going through a Core Values discovery process uncovers both your existing and aspirational core company values. Sometimes this means reconfirming existing values and other times you emerge with a whole new set – but most times it's usually a mix of both.
     

  • Most importantly, by the end, you should also know exactly what they look like in action. This helps bring the values to life for your team, while also making it easier to build them into the everyday employee experience, from onboarding to decision-making to performance management.

Core Values Objectives

Remember, this process deserves time and deliberation. With intentionality, you'll come out of a discovery process with these outcomes: 
 

  • Collectively understand what core company values are and how they can help shape intentional culture at your organization.
     

  • Discover the core values that currently dictate your team's behavior, along with the core values you aspire to build into the environment.
     

  • Articulate your values beyond just a single word, so they are memorable and useful to the entire team on a day-to-day basis.
     

  • Revisit the importance of core company values and how they can help shape intentional culture at your organization.
     

  • Discover both the actual core values that currently dictate your teams' behavior, along with the aspirational core values you'd like to further establish.
     

  • Uncover and articulate your values-in-action statements (VIAS) that will serve as a guiding light when it comes to successfully living the values every day.

Founders wish they'd done it sooner

Culture is a result of making the right choices. I’m often asked, 'What would you do differently?' One thing is that I would have formalized our core values earlier. In the early days, values are something that are felt. [Now] we incorporate them into our hiring. We incorporate them into assessments. We incorporate them into all of it."

Scot Chisholm, CEO of Classy and entrepreneur

Scot Chisholm
CEO of Classy

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

Tony Hsieh
CEO of Zappos

If I could go back and do Zappos all over again, I would actually come up with our values from day one. It wasn’t until about five years into it that we rolled out our values and it was one of those things that we - myself especially - resisted in the early days.”

Yellow Couch

You can't afford to put it off.

 

Core values are the foundation of any intentionally built company culture and deserve time and consideration. 

So, how can we help in the limited time you have?

 

The Core Values Discovery Process

As you take on defining or refining your values for the first time, keep in mind this is a multi-step process that takes as many as 6 phases to fully complete.

Start with: 

  • Learn how core values can shape intentional culture.

  • Discover the lived values that currently shape your team’s behavior and decisions, along with the core values you aspire to as a company.

  • Articulate your values beyond just a single word, so they are memorable and useful to your entire team on a day-to-day basis.

 

Read the full company core values process

Should we use a facilitator? 

You certainly can write your own values – but you may end up with a bunch of aspirational phrases rather than a truly foundational base for your employees. Facilitators can unearth the values you already live by and those you aspire to. Working with a facilitator will help ensure you get the most out of the time you invest together. 

Check out the Gathering Effect to learn how to rally your employees around your values

Core Values Guides

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