By Wayne Schoeneberg
Speaker and author
Core values are the driving force behind your professional life, so you had better take a moment and figure out what they are.
Speakers love to talk about them. Writers love to write about them, but few get down to explaining what they are and how core values influence the actions you take daily. Whether you run the C-suite or mop the floors, it’s imperative that you identify your core values and realize how important they are to your success.
Core values are the company’s compass
Core values for companies are primarily a guide for the internal organization. Core values are very much like a mission statement. They announce for the managers, employees and your customers what the company’s philosophy is supposed to be. Core values can be helpful in setting the direction of a business. They can be a reminder – readily available to employees – of the management’s corporate compass: the ideals, principles and values that create the company’s foundation.
Make your core values known
You often will find the core values or mission statement on the wall. They are certainly somewhere in contracts or other customer-focused business collateral. The numbers, of course, are immensely valuable, but simple facts and figures on a page can quickly become tedious, repetitive and ultimately uninteresting. Displaying your company’s core values clearly provides your customers with the reassurance that they are choosing to do business with a company of principle and integrity.
Your company’s values are more than words
But, your values need to be more than part of the company slogan to be effective. Core values need to be just that: They need to be the company culture. If they are, they don’t need to be repeated; they will be experienced and lived by each employee each day, from the C-Suite to the street sweep.
Simply announcing a core value is not enough – it must be woven into the company culture. To allow that, it must be genuine. To be a core value it must be simple enough that any employee can look at it and determine whether his or her actions are in accordance with the value. That is a tall order.
Core values lead the way during adversity
It is easy for companies to say they are propelled by a distinct set of core values. In times of adversity, your core values should be the guide that is consulted. Sadly, often in those hard times, the core values give way to expediency. That is when the core value, or mission statement, gets ignored in order to achieve a desired result. Avoid the temptation to subvert your driving principles for an easy solution. Let your company’s core values guide you when times get tough.
Your personal core values impact the company
What are you core values as an individual? These are more important to you than the core values of your company. These are your guiding principles. These are the values that determine the course of action you will take as you go through your professional life.
What is important to you? The reason you need to know them is because even if you can’t identify them, they are the driving force behind everything you do. Rather than let these values unconsciously dictate your direction, you need to identify them and allow them to take an active part in every decision that you make.
Values are a decision-making beacon
Every choice you make at work, from seemingly innocuous daily decisions to the choices that play a major part in the direction of the company, is an opportunity to display your internal values. If honesty and integrity are your core values, your decisions are made with those principles in play whether you know it or not.
That is why it is important to investigate your core values. When you discover what they are you begin to understand why you behave the way you do. You will not find happiness and success if you are operating in opposition to your core values.
Peer into the future. Think of where you would like to be and how you plan to get there. Core values can include a variety of things. Maybe adventure is a core value of yours. If so, pursue it. Try new things. Take some risks.
Once you discover your core values, life becomes simpler. Your decisions about your career become more evident and easier to make. Your business relationships take on new meaning. Most of all, those relationships become more meaningful to you.
Make a list of those things that are important to you and those things that are important to your business. As you do, you will see your core values reveal themselves and you will see which values are priorities. Once you make the list, it almost organizes itself.
The secret to success is to be true to your core values – at a company and personal level. Build your life around those values and you will alleviate stress, increase bottom lines and build lasting relationships. This is your life. Get the most out of it by honoring those values that go to the heart of who you are. That is the way to better serve yourself and those around you.
Wayne Schoeneberg is a Certified Professional Coach, a dynamic speaker and bestselling author of “No Clients? No Job? No Problem!” With his distinct perspective on the influence of fear, Schoeneberg’s inspiring message instills in his audience the courage to be confident and provides them with the tools to become the architects of their own success. For more information, visit www.LiveBeyondFear.com.