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The importance of core values in building a powerful business

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“It is not hard to make decisions when you know what your core values are.”  – Roy Disney

As worldwide companies continue to develop within current economies, there is nothing more important in growing and maintaining successful businesses than identifying your core guiding values. Companies should regard them as basic foundational elements for establishing meaningful mission, vision and strategic goals.

They all define what the culture of an organization is and what is the main source of its competitive advantage and brand differentiation – two important aspects that enable an organization to thrive.

Defining core values

According to U.S. Community Health Care Center, values are the principles and ideals that bind an organization together, including the customers, employees, vendors and all stakeholders. They are developed to form an ethical context for the organization and to many, they are the foundation for decision-making within the organization.

Core values stand at the core of human decision-making, they form our attitudes and guide our behavior in different circumstances. If we work in a company guided by values aligned with our personal values, then we are able not only to contribute with our expertise, creativity or enthusiasm, but we are also bringing our commitment to the success of the organization.

Importance of core values

Values at work are important for several reasons, as they:

I) Provide the company with a framework of how employees should treat each other and the company’s customers;

II) Give us guidelines for our behavior in different stressful situations;

III) Help enable people and organizations be successful in competitive markets;

IV) Provide stability through change – when implementing changes they should be in line with the company’s values;

V) Outline how the company is different from other providers to clients and potential new employees in comparison to other employers. People usually chose one organization over another because of their values;

VI) Give a sense of trust and pride among employees and help them understand what the organization position on people and work is;

VII) Can provide a measurement of success for individuals, as some organizations include them in employee performance reviews. Here we can mention as an example the ten core values of the Zappos company, which are taken into account in performance reviews and recruitment processes;

VIII) Are the essence of a company culture that accurately outlines what is fair and foul play within the working environment, making sure to convey the message that what really matters is to have your actions governed by these values.

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Overcoming challenges

It is widely known among management teams that bringing individuals together in a working environment and getting them to collaborate as an effective team is a real challenge.

Identifying core traits, defining them and just posting them throughout the organization is not the way it works. They should be readily available and shared on any company social media channels, but they have to be reviewed and discussed in business meetings with all employees. When presenting them, an emotional connection should be established between each core value and all employees. They have to understand what needs to be accomplished.

This way, employees will develop a deep understanding of these core values and internalize them. However, in order to ensure a higher level of employee commitment in embracing the aforementioned values, all employees have to be aware that violating a core value will result in disciplinary action.

One more important aspect is that top management and team leaders should be the main supporters of the core values. When leaders become the living embodiment if such traits, subordinates will follow suit. In fact, this is where most challenges come from – getting leaders to act consistently, according to the embraced core values.

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Core values in practice and meaning

Values differ from one company to another. However, there should not be more than ten core values established at a time, which should be symbolized by one word followed by a brief definition and exemplified behaviors.

Here are some are a few illustrations:

  • Teamwork – can refer to listening and respecting each other, while working together to achieve common goals;
  • Honesty – refers to being open and honest in everything you do, maintaining a high level of integrity, no matter what situation you find yourself in;
  • Recognition – is about outlining the idea that everybody’s efforts and contribution are rewarded and celebrated within the team environment;
  • Personal development – refers to the fact that the company is focused on constantly developing personnel abilities, through learning and mentoring capabilities, which will be reflected in the way the company’s customer needs are met.

To conclude, identifying and establishing core values embraced by all employees, leaders and top management is definitely one of the toughest, but still most rewarding things to be done in management.

After all, we first off want to work for companies that are guided by firm principles, supported by their top management executives, which constantly work to enhance these principles’ effectiveness and secondly, be surrounded by co-workers who are led by the same principles.

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