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The Importance of Company Values

Strategy

Company values are the core beliefs that a company structures itself around. Whether it is how to treat customers and other employees or what they strive for and how employees want to feel when they work there. The importance of company values can be seen in a number of different ways. They help guide decision making, they inform customers about what the company stands for and what they can expect as a customer, and as a company they are valuable for recruiting and retention. Here are some tips for creating your own company values and making sure they are effective.

Create values that are easily understood

Your values need to be understood by everyone in the company, not just the department that created them. Don’t become preoccupied with trying to sound like he next Shakespeare and create values from the heart. Use strong concrete language to make it clear what your values mean and how they represent your company.

Use values to make the most of your employees

Many companies simply pay lip service to their values and don’t call on them with a situation calls for it. Send a message to employees and customers alike and stand by your values if it means the hiring or firing of an employee. Not only does this show others that you mean what you say, but you also get the best potential out of your workers.

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Regularly communicate the values

Trust is vital throughout a company and if you want to instil it on a deeper level in your own company it’s all about reinforcement. Rather than just having a poster on the wall that hardly anyone glances at, take the time and opportunity to refer to your values often. Not only does it make them more believable but it will also empower and guide the employees in everyday decision making.

Research values from different companies

Make your values mean something by avoiding making the aspirational and more about the core beliefs that make up the company. Look at other companies and within your own to see which ones really set the social and behavioural standards and apply them to your own methods.

Be a leader and set the example

Live by the words you’ve built the company around. Nothing creates more cynicism amongst employees than a leader or leaders who don’t stand by their word. You’ll get more respect if you walk the walk as well as talk the talk. When you actively manage your own behaviour, your employees will follow your example, creating a stronger bond throughout the office.

Use the values in the good times and the bad

It shows the strength of your leadership and company if you stick to your beliefs and values in the worst of times. You’re a values can help guide you on how to react and behave in a crisis and could potentially be the difference between your business succeeding and becoming stronger or falling apart and collapsing.

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  1. Thank you for bringing attention to an important topic. In my book, The Value of Core Values: Five Keys to Success through Values-Centered Leadership (www.thevalueofcorevalues.com), I highlight companies that are successful because they live their core values. I also share five key principles for those who would like to follow their example. First, you have to “own” your own values. If you don’t have non-negotiable principles that guide your decision-making then you’re not likely to live by the values of an organization. Second, you have to define them. As you point out, they need to be clearly understood. But words have different meanings so they need to be defined in terms of behaviors (both those that reflect living the values and those that do not reflect the values.) Third, you have to share them by constantly, consistently and creatively communicating them. Fourth, you have to institutionalize them so that all the company’s policies, procedures and systems support living them. Finally, you have to honor them. Giving lip-service to core values is more harmful than not having identified them in the first place.

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