Core values. Do we need them in our businesses? Are they essential?
No. We don’t need them. It’s a fact.
Plenty of businesses run without them, and if you don’t think they are important, then you can continue to run your businesses without thinking about them.
However, if you want to proactively shape your culture, then you need to have a set of core values which you totally stand for – and which become a living, breathing, part of your company.
If you implement – and live by – core values, then you create a self-managed organisation.
Your employees are engaged in the workplace because they know the “rules” within which they can act.
They are free to make choices at work because, so long as the choices they make are in support of a core value, or they do not violate one, then they know that they aren’t going to get fired.
This autonomy is great for your employees as they won’t feel crushed or undervalued. Instead, they’ll feel empowered and significant – traits which lead to increased engagement and reduced attrition rates.
Additionally, once you are clear on your core values as a company, it makes the recruitment process much simpler.
And it leads to your people becoming aligned. If employees aren’t in alignment with your core values, then how are they going to perform at the highest levels?
Think about this scenario for some context and hopefully we can all relate to this topic:
Think about a time when you met the love of your life (or if you are still searching, someone you thought might have been the love of your life).
Think about what their core values were.
Maybe they told you they wanted a family, they loved reading business books, they always attended personal development courses in their free time, and that they religiously went running 3 x a week.
If you start to dissect how they showed up in their everyday life, you would realise that in actual fact their values were family, growth and health.
Now, if you didn’t value similar things in your own life, then you would have had less of a connection with them, and you probably wouldn’t have pursued a relationship with them.
Even worse, if their values totally violated one of your own, then you might have decided not to pursue the relationship completely.
Too many businesses just do not see the overlap.
They miss the utter importance of shaping their culture through creating and living by core values.
The fact is, every organisation has a culture because it’s co-created, formed by the everyday interactions between people working together.
If, as a leader, you don’t shape your company’s culture then your employees will create their own.
It will be a mismatch of everyone’s personal core values, applied to their work with their own lens of what is or isn’t right.
No one will be clear on boundaries, what is or isn’t acceptable. And where they are asked to do something that doesn’t align with their core values, they will do so begrudgingly, without passion or commitment. They will ultimately be unhappy in their work.
So, please don’t leave it to chance, or simply write off as a ‘fluffy’ exercise to tick off your list.
- Create a strong vision for your company.
- Take the time to truly understand what matters to you, as people, both individually and collectively.
- Create a set of core values and then live by them as if your lives depended on it. All the best companies do.
Claire Perry-Louise, Founder of EthosCx