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Core Values And Business Bottomline

I had an interesting discussion with a friend on core values recently. We came to the conclusion that core values are a must for every business and they must guide the way things are done in the organisation. If this is true, then we must carefully develop our core values. Our values must be true about us and we must be intentional about operating by them.

The unfortunate thing is that a good number of businesses develop their core values but never operate true to them. They put them together because it is trending in the business world. There is really no intention to live by them. This is not right, in fact totally unacceptable. Why would you have integrity as one of your core values and your enterprise is into and even endorses practically everything that will bring business not minding whether it is legitimate or not? Why have core values that we do not intend to keep? Core values should be what I would like to describe as “tangible expressions of who we are as an organisation”. 

Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organisation. Core values can help people 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. They support the vision, shape the culture and reflect what the organisation values and are prepared to commit to. I encourage my clients to expand their core value statements to include “what it means” and “how each of the values will be expressed”. Why is this important? 

It is important because everyone in the business should know and live out these values. This means that there needs to be a common knowledge and understanding of each of the values. Remember that it draws from your vision and mission which in most cases are developed or crafted by the owners of the business. The core values would ensure that the driver, cleaner, salesman, manager etc are engaged to live out the dreams of the business because they understand what the values mean and how each of them should be expressed on the day to day performance of their jobs.

Core values are the essence of the company’s identity – the principles, beliefs or philosophy of values. They help and guide our 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. We see an example with Samsung. They had to withdraw Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after it was involved in dozens of fires and explosions worldwide. Living out your core values is that important. Sometimes it comes with a price but that is what ultimately ensures you are well positioned in the market place. It is a price well worth paying for success.

Core values are traits or qualities that represent the organisation highest priorities, deeply held beliefs and fundamental driving forces. They define what your organisation believes and how you want your organisation resonating with and appealing to employees and the external world. The core values should be so integrated with your employees and their belief systems and actions that clients, customers, and vendors see the values in action.

Core values are also called guiding principles because they form a solid core of who you are, what you believe, and want to be going forward. This explains why there would be a need for significant efforts to be made in driving the knowledge and understanding of cores values across the organisation. A failure of any of these values at any point can damage the reputation of the organisation and the resultant consequence could be huge.

Core values are becoming important in the ability to employ and retain high performers. With the use of researching companies, job seekers are doing their homework on the identities of the companies they are applying for and weighing whether or not these companies hold the values that the job seekers consider as important.

Here are some of the core values that are common across organisation in different industries:

Accountability – Acknowledging and assuming responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies. It can be applied to both individual accountability on the part of employees and accountability of the company as a whole.

Balance – Taking a proactive stand to create and maintain a healthy work-life balance for workers.

Commitment – Committing to great product, service, and other initiatives that impact lives within and outside the organisation.

Community – Contributing to society and demonstrating corporate social responsibility.

Diversity – respecting the diversity and giving the best of composition. Establishing an employee equity program.

Empowerment – Encouraging employees to take initiative and give the best. Adopting an error-embracing environment to empower employees to lead and make decisions.

Innovation – Pursuing new creative ideas that have the potential to change the world.

Integrity – Acting with honesty and honour without compromising the truth

Ownership – Taking care of the company and customers as if they were one’s own.

In conclusion, we must note that values form the foundation for everything that happens in an enterprise. It is therefore important that the enterprise makes effort for everyone to know and understand that the values mean and how they are to be expressed. It is also very important that leadership sets the tone. Their core values are powerful shapers of the organisation’s culture.

What do you think? 

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