You see it everywhere. On the walls of grocery stores, in the lobbies of offices, and on entire pages of websites. Core values. But what are core values? Why are they so important? What difference do they actually make?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions keep on reading. Core values make a huge difference in business and can, in fact, help clearly distinguish you from your competitors.
As a start-up company in 2010, Abby Connect was not quite ready to establish core values to operate the business by. Now, don’t get me wrong. We weren't operating unethically by any means. The simple fact is that we were living and working with our entire focus on the customer. But we knew how crucial it was to redirect our focus on our internal customer - our employees.
Perhaps, you’re in a similar situation where you’re just starting out or possibly you’ve established yourself in your industry (by the way, good for you!) but haven’t yet given much thought of what your core values should look like. Rest assured, it’s never too late to initiate!
Establish What’s Important
The way you do business says a lot about you and your company. How you handle business, issues, people, and products speaks volumes on what you value.
If “transparency” is significant like it is at Insomniac Games then selecting this as a value represents the way you conduct yourself and you expect your employees to do the same. At Abby Connect we value Excellence, Integrity, Inclusiveness, Unity, Growth, and Passion. This is truly what we value to our very core.
Make it a Collaborative Process
One of the things we hold dear to our hearts in our office is that we continuously collaborate as a group. Synergy can be described as the end result when two or more people get together to brainstorm.
Collaboration has not only been a past time I’ve witnessed in the last nine years of employment with my company but it's still a common practice today. The only difference now is that it’s not just five people surrounding our CEO. Instead, it’s a universal method practiced within many teams and sub-teams.
In deciphering which core values to create make it a group effort as it’ll be a catalyst to get the creative juices flowing within your people. You’ll see a correlation of the suggestions given when you do this and know that this is not a coincidence - it’s a realization come down to paper because they'll already be living these values within your company. After all, if you practice what you preach, you'll preach what you practice.
Live and Breathe By It
While it may seem appropriate to have predefined values, it’s also relevant that the leaders (regardless of title) in your company also demonstrate and even exude it. Use your core values in everyday language with coworkers emphasizing the values.
When complimenting and uplifting your staff, reference what it is they’ve done so well. If someone owned up to their mistake thank them for their “integrity”. Remember, you yourself should also display these values as your people are always watching you. Take this opportunity to show within your actions that you also believe in the values that were set.
Walk that walk. Lead by example. Practice what you preach. Show how it’s done. You’ve heard all the mantras and it plays truth. As a leader in your company, that’s what you have to do. Lead the way to greatness and inspire your teams by doing.
Share Them with the World
Once you’ve determined the principles and standards of behavior to exemplify, push it upward and forward.
Social media in all its forms dominates the way we influence and educate the people around us and it has a global reach that maximizes our efforts. This is the #year of the hashtag. Use them! #Startwithin your organization by exhibiting examples of who has demonstrated your core values and more importantly how it was done.
While in-house we use a recognition platform, it requires us to select which core value our employee embodies when announcing all the well deserved praise. Living the Abby Way is something we both advocate and applaud.
The more you share with your company about who is doing what it promotes positivity, gratitude, and encouragement. It motivates others to follow suit. Then, share it within your community and industry. The world will see how core values have shaped your business.
These values are your own standards. Whatever you decide to implement, put it towards all facets of life. If health relates to success, then core values can reflect the health of your company. So, get out there, sit with your peers, and discuss what’s going to either catapult you or confine you.