Values are deeply held views, of what we find most meaningful in life. They originate from many sources: parents, education, friends, religion, people we admire and in many instances our culture. Some go back to childhood, while others are developed as we mature between adolescence and adulthood. As is the case with what we think as a mental model, there’s a major difference between the values we “espouse” – which we hold to dearly – and the “values that are validated,” by our actions that actually direct our behavior.
When you decided you wanted to start a business, and you thought of the values that you wanted your business vision to espouse, was there something inside you on certain thoughts that said; “That’s not really me or what I want my business to represent?”
That pang you felt in your gut was in opposition to a deeply held value that you maintain. These values are coded into our brains at such a fundamental level that we can’t see that they actually control our actionable behaviors.
Organizations should be extremely beware of the temptation of allowing their “Organizational Core Values” to fall by the wayside in difficult times. If your organization has honesty listed as one of its core values, it should share the financial status of the company with the employees – even if the financials set forth that the business is failing. If employee loyalty is one of your core values, it means that even in challenging times; it will not lay off employees. You may eventually have to lay off people, however your strategy should be to avoid such at all cost because it is contradictory to your core values.
How To Create An Organizational Core Value Checklist
Step 1. Create A Core Value List
The Founder(s) should gather together the team and create a short list of maybe 10-20 values that it may want to espouse as its “Core Values”. These words and/or phrases should act as a guide to behaviors and character of what the business will represent, or how the business wants to be viewed.
Step 2. Scrub The List
Now that you have identified 10-20, imagine that you are only able to keep 10. Which 10 would you give up? Remove them from the list.
Now repeat the process until you have 2 Core Values. Which is the one single item on the list that the Founder(s) care about the most?
Step 3. Communication
Now go back and take a look at your Top 3 Values and then ask yourself the following questions:
- What do they mean to the Founder(s) and employees, exactly? What will you expect from yourself and the employee – even in the most difficult of times?
- How would the company be viewed and the leadership of the company be viewed if the “Core Values” were prominent, lived and practiced on a daily basis?
- What would an organization look like whose leadership and employees lived up those values?
- Does the “Vision” of the company align with those values? If not, should the “Vision” be expanded? Or are the Founder(s) prepared to reconsider the “Vision”?
- Are the Founder(s) willing to dedicate their lives, and the organization to realizing a “Vision” in which the “Core Values” are paramount?
In the many situations and environments in which Smith Gruppe has conducted “Building A Shared Vision” training exercises, entrepreneurs, seasoned executives as well as management has gained meaningful understanding about themselves and the organization they work for.
In the current environment of irresponsible leadership, in which leaders are not willing to be held accountable and/or responsible for their actions and decisions; millennials and Generations X and Y are looking for authentic leadership that are capable of living up to Shakespeare as stated by Polonius: This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
If you are interested in establishing time-tested “Organizational Core Values” through our Core Values training exercises, please contact us today at 980-221-9377 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.