Why Company Core Values Are Important
Why are company core values important? How would you define your company values? What are the perceived company values as they exist today?
Before you answer these questions you need to know what, in general, core values are.
Core values are the things that you believe are most important in the way you live and work. Core values should determine your priorities and the priorities of your company. Core values are what support the vision of your company and help shape its culture. They are the essence of the company’s identity – their principles, beliefs and philosophies. Many companies focus mostly on the technical competencies but often forget the underlying competencies that make their companies run smoothly. Establishing strong core values provides both internal and external advantages to the company:
- Core values help companies in the decision-making processes. For example, if one of your core values is to stand behind the quality of your products, any products not reaching the satisfactory standard are automatically eliminated.
- Core values educate clients and potential customers about what the company is about and clarify the identity of the company. Especially in this competitive world, having a set of specific core values that speak to the public is definitely a competitive advantage.
Identifying and understanding your company’s values is a challenging and important exercise. Your company’s values are a central part of the principles of your company– and will convey where you want to go and how you will get there. By becoming more aware of these important factors in your company, you can use them as a guide to make the best choice in any situation.
Some business and life decisions are really about determining what you or your company value most. When many options seem reasonable, it’s helpful and comforting to rely on your values – and use them as a strong guiding force to point you in the right direction.
When you consider your values in decision making, you can be sure to keep your sense of integrity and what you know is right, and approach decisions with confidence and clarity. You’ll also know that what you’re doing is best for your company, your staff and your customers.
Making value-based choices may not always be easy. However, making a choice that you know is right is a lot less difficult in the long run. And if you empower your employees to make decisions, what better way is there to have them make those decisions then basing those decisions on the core values of your company.
How do you determine your core values? Don’t just copy another company’s set of values unless you have examined them very closely and know that they will fit. Otherwise take about 30 to 60 minutes and develop your own. After you have developed the list ask yourself the following questions:
- Do these values make you feel good about yourself and your company?
- Are you proud of your top three values?
- Would you be comfortable and proud to publish these values?
- Do these values represent the things you would support, even if your choice isn’t popular?
To help you get started, here is a list of company values from ZAPPOS:
“As we grow as a company, it has become more and more important to explicitly define the core values from which we develop our culture, our brand, and our business strategies. These are the ten core values that we live by:”
- Deliver WOW Through Service
- Embrace and Drive Change
- Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
- Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
- Pursue Growth and Learning
- Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More With Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
- Be Humble
Finally, remember to regularly reaffirm your company’s core values at staff meetings or post them on the wall in your office where they will serve as a reminder to your staff. Solid core values will reinforce your business relationships and help employees and management conduct their business in a fair and ethical manner.