Do you put any weight in your company’s core values?
It’s a topic that’s been highly talked about, recently, when building businesses.
Forbes is talking about how important core values are, as is Inc., and even Business Insider. They truly are important. Our own company has developed core values over the years, and they’ve played a vital role in creating our company culture and helped build our team.
Today, I want to explore the concept of what core values are, and how they can have a positive impact on your business.
What are core values?
Let me first define what they are, before I dive into the reason you should have core values.
According to Gino Wickman in his book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, he defined them as the following, “They are a small set of vital and timeless principles for your company…These core values define your culture and who you truly are as people” (Gino Wickman, Traction).
To oversimplify, they are a set of guiding principles you use to help run your business.
You can read more in depth about how to create your core values in Wickman’s book, which I highly recommend. But I wanted to discuss why they are an integral part of growing your company.
But why are they so important?
It’s difficult to explain, but having core principles laid into the foundation of your business can dictate the direction you and your company will take.
Sitting down with your fellow leaders and picking out words that best fit what you value can change the course of your entire company.
How core values affect your business
When we started looking into implementing core values, there was a lot of skepticism.
Skepticism is good. To most people, when you see words on a company’s website, people usually think they are generic, meaningless words picked at random. They certainly can be that. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating core values for your company is to just treat them as just words. You need to work your core values into your business from leadership on down.
For core values to have meaning, you have to consider them in every decision-making process of your business.
Here are a few examples of where core values can come into play when making decisions about your business:
- Hiring and Firing
- Benefits for employees
- Training resources
- Employee growth
- Customers benefit
- Partner relationships
- Business decisions
- Future products
Focusing on the first point, keeping your values in mind when selecting individuals to hire helps you stay focused on your company’s growth plan, and makes the decision-making process productive.
This is more than just a simple personality match; it transcends how the people you hire work, but their very essence. Getting the right people in your company is going to impact how you evolve as a company over time. As an example, you don’t want management that doesn’t fit your core values and you definitely wouldn’t want interns that do not to match your core values.
Core values go beyond simply helping you with hiring. There have been times, stressful times when I’ve had to sit with other managers and executives in my office, and we’ve had to weigh the pros and cons of a decision.
We ask if the act or decision would fit our core values or be antithetical to them.
We’ve had chances to pursue some amazing offers that could have put a lot of extra money in our pockets right away, but could possibly hurt our customers in the long run. Sometimes that means turning down lucrative partnerships with other businesses because they didn’t fit our core values.
Gaining financial success immediately means little in the long run if you have to sacrifice the happiness of your team and current clients to get there.
Core values keep you accountable
Accountability and transparency are important in showing how your company operates.
Core values help keep you and your team in check. It would be hypocritical to hold your employees to a standard you don’t hold yourself, your managers and your leaders to, as well.
Establishing your core values with your staff gives them ownership of their actions. If they feel their department is slipping away from that core vision, they can bring it up!
Hiring the right type of person who fit your values is going to lead to better leadership in your company. Managers, employees, and even interns can take ownership in their divisions, working to help your company stay in the right direction.
Your team will be better for having accountability for everyone in the company, and your core values will help enforce it.
How we created our core values
Funny, you should ask.
Recently, we made a video explaining our core values. This footage also features in our company film How Hard Could It Be? The BNG Story.
Feel free to watch our segment on core values and why we chose them.