Core values are the traits and qualities that represent your business’s priorities, beliefs, and core, fundamental driving forces. They are the heart of what your organization and its employees represent in the world.
At first thought, you may consider these things to be a part of just another “section” on your website or a plaque to hang on your office wall.
But think again.
Your core values play a MASSIVE role in whether or not your company is designed for growth and profitability.
To determine whether or not this is something you know about yourself and your business, start by asking yourself these three questions:
- What are your company’s core values?
- How do you define them?
- Do your employees have the same understanding of them as you do?
If you’re thinking… wait a minute, I don’t have the answer to ANY of these questions…. That’s okay!
There are several common reasons business owners haven’t defined core values in their business. Sometimes, they’re just too new in the business. They haven’t reached the place of growth where they’ve had the time and space to determine who they are as a business to identify their values. Or sometimes, they’ve been charging so hard and fast this slipped by because they didn’t realize the importance of having defined values and how they can directly impact revenue.
There is NO better time than the present to figure OUT the answers.
If you’ve never thought about your businesses core values, schedule some time right now in your calendar to think about how you want to show up as a business. Google business core values and take a look at the lists of values and see what words and phrases jump out at you. Pick 3 to 5 that you are already doing and maybe one that is aspirational. You don’t want all of them aspirational…that’s actually demotivating for you and your team.
Then define them. How are they going to show up in your business?
For example, if one of your core values is Honesty, you may end up developing something like HotJar’s core value: Always be HONEST. We treat our clients as our friends. We treat the industry with respect. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to your friends or family.
Then consider whether your team understands them in the same way you do.
You might have said to yourself, “Oh, I’ve told my employees what’s expected during the onboarding and they understood, that should be enough…”
Unfortunately, an understanding is not enough. Defining your values must be communicated and overcommunicated, which begins the steps to “operationalizing.”
Before we go any further… what do I mean by “operationalizing”? Operationalizing is turning abstract concepts into measurable observations… Or putting something into order.
When you are transparent with your core values, your team knows what to expect. When they know what to expect, they are able to work with confidence, and your customers will feel that — which WILL translate to increased sales.
For example, one of my core values is Accountability. Accountability means holding all levels of employees responsible for accomplishing business goals. While accountability at work is important, it also needs to be balanced with the need to give employees autonomy in their roles. They must feel empowered in their role so they can take ownership of their work and strive for success.
Soo… how do you operationalize your company’s values?
STEP 1: Define Your Values + Why Your Organization Exists: Brainstorm. Define it on paper. Then list the types of behavior you expect when it comes to demonstrating that value within your work environment.
Instead of trying to identify your values head on, ask yourself these questions:
- What skills have helped you get you through your toughest times?
- What makes you feel empowered?
- What are you passionate about? What lights you up? What is your natural talent or gift?
- What are your hard-won skills?
Your honest answers may help you gain insights into what really makes you tick, and what your most honest values are.
STEP 2: Define the Behaviors: Identify the desired behaviors that are associated with each value. For example, if a core value is timeliness then a behavior would be organized, time management, etc.
You can also identify behaviors that don’t align with each value to make crystal clear the difference between right and wrong.
STEP 3: Model Your Values: Lead your team by example. Model the behaviors you’re trying so hard to enforce. This allows your team to distinctly know what to expect, how to act, and WHY to act that way. If the CEO doesn’t demonstrate a commitment to the values and be the example, why should the employees?
STEP 4: Carry Out Your Values: Make it a point to talk about your core values and regularly review the definitions to make sure that the expectations are being communicated in the absolute best way possible. Help your team see your values in action and through to completion. When your core values are instilled in your team, your customers feel that — thus leading to increased sales.
STEP 5: Develop and Maintain Value-based Processes and Procedures: Your daily operations should reflect your values in HOW you do business. A Business Health Audit is a great tool to assist you in going through all of your business processes and procedures to identify what you have and what you need and evaluate them in light of your values to make sure they’re in alignment. And then maintain what you’ve built. This isn’t a “set it and forget it” exercise. As your business grows, you need to add, restructure, change, and tweak your processes and procedures. Regularly reviewing them helps you stay in alignment with your values while supporting your growth.
It takes time and effort to go beyond the words on your website’s home page to instill your core values into your organization.
Operationalizing values is a game changer. But it must be intentional.
Once it becomes a daily part of the operations, it changes your culture, but there must be someone leading the pack. Maybe start slow and apply one core value to some of these steps, and over time, I know you will see the difference – in all aspects of your company.
Not sure where or how to begin when it comes to outlining and incorporating your company’s values?
Inside a Power Hour, I can help you define and articulate your values, and develop a plan to incorporate them throughout your organization, moving them from lofty aspirations to specific, observable behaviors and deliverables. This is a high-impact working session accelerates your growth strategy by identifying key performance indicators for your business and each team member.
When you need targeted support to grow and scale your business, a Power Hour (or a few!) provides a quick injection of guidance and direct support. As your Business Co-Pilot, I help successful entrepreneurs build businesses so that they can follow their passions and make a big impact on the world.
Take your business to the next level – I’M READY TO GET VIP SUPPORT.