Bring up core values in a business meeting and inevitably someone starts to roll their eyes. I’ve heard “Why are we focusing on touchy-feely stuff?” “Why aren’t we working on a business challenge where we can see results?” But once again, I have witnessed the power of a company coming together to define and embrace their core values.
When I start working with a new client, we discover, discuss and debate company core values in only our second session together. It is that important that we do it right at the beginning our engagement. However, in the last session I conducted with one of my clients, the core values identification exercise hit me differently. In the past, when we identified an organization’s core values I was simply pleased and knew that we hit our mark. This time I saw it for what it really was. It was truly an awe moment.
Here’s what happened.
I was working with an Executive Team to identify their organization’s core values. I asked each of them to submit what they thought were the values that respected leaders or people they know embodied. If they had 100 of those people, they would be no limits to what they could accomplish together. We started with over 40 or more values on the board. We then worked and worked to get it down to 5 Core Values that everyone agreed really made up the DNA of the company. These Core Values would be used to hire, fire, reward, retain employees as well as filter all strategic decisions, ethics and communication.
As we named the last value, the Visionary – the one on the Executive Team who has lots of ideas, is a strategic thinker, always sees the big picture, and promotes the vision of the organization – stepped back and said “Wow!” The Visionary had been standing for the entire exercise. He was totally engaged and pumped with positive energy upon finally nailing down the characteristics of the organization.
The rest of the team heard it as well. They were already thinking they had come up with something special, they just hadn’t had the chance to verbalize it yet.
Why was this so powerful?
The Visionary went on to say, “I would work for a company like that.” Everyone agreed. This was a company worth building and doing everything possible to make it thrive.
The only way to make the moment more special would have been to have angels sing, music play, and a ray of sunshine to stream through the window. The energy created by really knowing what drives the passion in the organization, truly set the tone for the day. The Executive Team was then energized to keep working to find an equally inspiring Core Focus and 10 Year Target, part of answering the 8 questions in the Vision Traction organizer as part of the Vision Component of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).
An organization’s core values serve to unify, focus, and inspire everyone on the team to build something great. They help you make strategic decisions to grow the organization, they help you identify the right employees, the ones who will “fit” into the culture, and they help you reward the “right” behaviors, the ones that help the organization move towards its goals.
Taking the time to work on identifying your company’s core values and then bringing those core values to life is one of the steps in becoming your best! Or dare I say becoming THE best.
To find out how we can help your organization identify its core values, vision, and strategic plan to move the organization forward, give us a call at 630.728.4177.
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