Core Values Book


The Importance of Core Values

What are the two worst words in the English language? What are the two words you never want to hear about yourself or anything you are associated with? Well I’d be willing to bet that many people, especially business people, would agree that the two worst words are “mediocre” and “plateau.” I mean, who wakes up in the morning or goes to work everyday with a smile saying, “Boy, I just can’t wait to be mediocre today!” Nobody! We are human beings – we are hardwired to want more than that. People long for meaning and purpose. We all want to be remembered. We all want to leave a legacy, to become people worth remembering, but mediocre lives and plateaued potential are not the building blocks of a lasting legacy.

So how do you prevent yourself from becoming stagnant and falling into mediocrity? Everyone has been there at some point. But how do we continually motivate ourselves to work harder? Guide ourselves to become better? The answer is simple. Core values. Core values are how we fight mediocrity. Knowing and fully embracing our own unique set of core values is the key to sustaining motivation, creativity, and innovation for the long-term, whether personally or in the business world.

But what are core values and what do they mean to us as individuals? Well, at their most basic level, core values are those principles which we hold most dear. They are our internal compass. They are the lens through which we evaluate the world and make decisions. They tell us what is important and what is not. It’s core values that tell us what kind of legacy we want to leave. They cast a vision, but they also provide the blueprint for how to reach that vision; that is, if we are intentional about adhering to them. We want to leave our mark on the world and we maximize the size of that mark, that legacy, by living out our core values. Not only that, but we are always happiest when we are living according to those values because they are the characteristics that we believe represent the best version of ourselves.

So now the question is: what are core values? In short, core values are our identity. They are our guide to a life worth living and a life worth remembering. There is no greater source of power or motivation than that. In fact, companies would do well to remember it because companies are no different. After all, companies are not some unknown ethereal entities, they are just a collection of people. And core values are powerful tools for companies because they tap into the identity and the desired legacy of its people. If created and implemented properly, a strong set of core values will create and sustain motivation, enhance creativity and innovation, and self-impose the most effective processes, procedures, and rules necessary for the enduring success of the business.

In the business context, core values help us ensure that the decisions being made each and every day at all levels of the business are coordinated and consistent with a common set of values. Implementation of these values enhances our momentum and our effectiveness. Core values also provide a great framework for developing a common culture. One that employees can bond over and strive to create together. It gives them a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves and it also develops a system of self-regulating behavior. Finally, core values are the epicenter of your brand. Strong brands are built from the inside out and focused on a core set of common beliefs and commitments also known as core values. They help a company communicate their brand to the rest of the world, letting potential and current customers know what they stand for and what they can expect from the company and its employees. Thus core values influence decision making, which builds culture, which in turn cultivates strong brands.