Are your company core values a noun or a verb?
Do you roll your eyes when corporations brag about their core values when you know darn well they don’t live them? It makes me want to ask the CEO, “Are your values nouns or verbs?”
Going back to what we were taught in elementary school, a noun is a “person, place or thing.” A verb describes an action.
Knowing your core values is helpful, but making sure your company behaves according to the values you hold dear is often the missing piece.
How can you design your business around your core values?
You may state that “excellent service” is a value in your business. But if your company is hard to get in touch with, your return policies do not put the customer’s needs first, or your staff isn’t trained to deliver top-notch service, then your company does not become known for your value of “excellent service.” Instead, it might get known for not living up to its values.
Our core values underpin how we behave and how we show up in life. The same is true in our organizations. The values that show up actively in a company’s behaviour tell the story of what’s important to that company.
We can connect meaningfully with our employees and ideal customers if we act on our core values.
Let’s get one more definition out of the way.
A value (noun) is something of importance, worth, or usefulness. If you consider someone or something to be important or beneficial, or if you have a high opinion of this person, idea or thing, then you value it. (Here, I’m using “value” as a verb).
Put your core values into practice
The following exercise can help you define your company’s core values and identify opportunities to build these core values into your business practices.
When you complete these steps you will have a values system.
Identify 10 core values that resonate with you. Ex. Service, Growth, Fun, Quality, etc.
Cite examples of how these core values show up in your company.
Demonstrate how you could apply YOUR core values to company strategies in the following areas: Finance, Operations, People, Marketing & Sales, and Leadership.
Categorize your list of values. Examine your list and see where there is a similarity or duplication.
Choose 5 or 6 top values you are going to stand by to use as your company’s values.
Design your company around your values.
Write down the 5 or 6 most important values that inform who you are and what your company stands for.
Describe how these values show up in your company, and find new opportunities to manifest these values in all areas of your company.
Value is a verb!
Remember to check in with these core values from time to time and ensure that your company is using them actively in your operations, instead of only thinking about them.
Until next time, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!