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Create Emotional Connection through Core Values

Monte Wyatt & Brad Sugars, Sep 10, 2019

How you treat other people, interact with friends, show up for work, help others, and how you feel about the world all prove what matters to you.

Values drive your company’s culture. Often, businesses have an unwritten culture, which is basically how people behave. It’s how someone shows up for the day, for good or bad. Core values always exist, even if we don’t sit down and create them. And every organization has a culture, whether it openly embraces and shapes its core values or not.

Core values make up the first component of the Discipline of Mission.

To help you understand, here is a great example of a company that exhibits clear core values in its behavior, Zappos. This highly successful online retailer, has 10 Core Values that simply state the desired behavior and then give a detailed explanation of what that means, and what is expected from every employee.

Here we'll paraphrase two of Zappos's core values so you can see how they can be applied to defining your company's core values.

One core value is to deliver "wow" through service. Wow is such a short, simple word, but it really encompasses a lot of things. To wow someone, you have to differentiate yourself. This means doing something that's unconventional and innovative. Do something above and beyond what's expected. That clearly defines the behavior of how to deliver wow through service.

Another Zappos core value is to pursue growth and learning. The Zappos definition of this is: everyone should constantly aim to grow from a personal and a professional standpoint. By pushing employees to unlock their full potential, Zappos helps them achieve a greater level of fulfillment. This is a clear explanation of the desired behavior for this value.

The values that define your organizational culture are something your company must intentionally create, lead, and manage.

When you define your organization's values, it's important to avoid aspirational or generic statements. Be clear and specific in the behaviors you desire. These behaviors must already be alive in your organization. You must have role models who are examples of those behaviors. A core value is a word or phrase followed by a clear definition.

When you've identified your core values, you will begin to live by them. You’ll be able to implement them into every aspect of your company, now that you proactively create your culture. Here are three ways to make your values come alive:

One, making decisions. You can use core values to evaluate options.

Two, hiring. Use core values when interviewing to see if an applicant fits your culture.

Three, evaluating performance. Use core values to see how well someone’s behavior lives up to your core values.

Core values also enable external audiences like customers, suppliers or investors to understand who we are and what we stand for.

To recap, the first component of the Discipline of Mission is core values. Your values define your desired behaviors.

We'd love to hear from you. What are some of the core values of your organization? Thank you for sharing.