Defining Your Core Values: A Soul-Searching Exercise
What Are Core Values?
Core values are the culmination of your vision, mission, and culture. If you were to put them all in a stew, your core values are the mix of ingredients that is the essence of a delicious dish that is you and your organization.
What Our Core Values Mean to Me
Our core values are found in our name. My reigning core value is how we commit ourselves to make each and every one of our clients (and team members) happy.
Why Do We Need Core Values as Business Owners?
I like to think of my core values as a compass. Whenever I’m trying to find new clients or new teammates, or thinking about creating a new product or service, I ask myself if this new idea is in alignment with my core values. This helps to ensure that I’m on the right track and not straying from my purpose.
How to Find Your Core Values
Here’s a secret, you already know what they are. Every decision you make in your life comes from your core values.
- Think about why you started your business.
- Think about dating and what you look for in a mate.
- Think about what you look for when you want to hire someone to do a service for you.
When it comes to performing your job, delivering your service, or making your product, which three things matter most as you execute?
Ask the five people closest to you, “what are the three things that matter to me most, in your words?” You might be surprised at the answers.
Define Your Own Core Values
- Create a list. Think of your experiences, both positive and negative. Be honest with yourself. Know what shapes your daily routine, and think about how you may wish to improve. Armed with that knowledge, create a list of all of your values.
- Organize your list. If you were honest with yourself, your list should have at least two dozen items. The next step is to take that list and organize it. Organizing your list will help you edit what’s most important to you, and why. Values like commitment and timeliness may go together, for example. Take those grouped values and summarize them.
- Make your personal values, personal. Now that you have a shorter list, take those values and summarize those into words that trigger your emotional response. That way you know that your values are your own.
- Test your results. Revisit your values after a good night’s sleep, or even a couple of days later. Do they still feel personal to you? Are these things that you actually do, or will do? Make any changes you feel necessary.
Articulating your values in your own writing is the best and only way to create your core values. While this takes diligence, you’ll know when you’ve determined which values are entirely your own, and, more importantly, you’ll feel empowered to enact those values.
Core Values & Customers or Clients
Every time I meet a new client that cares about the same things I do, I get really excited. I love working with people that care and want to help others. I get really jazzed and it spills over into my team.
Being excited about working with your client is important. You’re going to do a much better job if you’re excited about it. And if your core values are in alignment, it makes your job that much easier because you just get each other.
Core Values & Teammates
The same can be said for teammates. As you build things together, products, services, relationships, you’re already halfway there just by sharing the same core values. When you ask each other to do something, there’s no question about why. We already get it because we’re on the same page to start with. We’re making this building from the same foundation.
Your Core Values Are the Core of Your Business
Regardless of what you do, you must create your own personal set of core values. Your core values not only put into words your interest in what you do, but they are also the driving force to meet your personal goals. Creating your core values is your blueprint for success, attracting great customers, employees, and driving your work to the moon.
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