Core values are the qualities that you choose to represent you and all the decisions you make. They are the deeply held beliefs that drive your decisions, your words, your actions, and your attitude. As an entrepreneur, they also dictate how your company culture will feel to everyone who is a part of it.
Mistakes to Avoid
Probably the only thing worse than having no values, is to be a poser of values. If hypocrisy is a value you hold dear, then read on. Nothing is worse than being a leader and claiming certain values, and then demonstrating through your own daily actions that an evil twin exists. Not only will this encourage your employees to follow your evil twin’s values, but you also lose all kinds of credibility because no one will trust your word.
So create authentic values and demonstrate them every day. You are indeed being watched.
Identify Your Core Values
The first thing to really understand is that the word “core”is there for a reason. You need to find the handful of values that really matter to you – your non-negotiables. If you have an exhaustive list of core values, you haven’t identified your core values. If you have copied and verbatim pasted from somewhere else, you haven’t identified your core values (except maybe that plagiarism is acceptable).
They should be easy to read. If your core values start with “Ye” or have any buzzwords in them, start over. The activity of figuring out what your core values are is almost more important than documenting them.
Your core values should be specific and authentic to you as an entrepreneur. Please don’t generalize that you and your company/product “makes the world a better place”.
When s*** hits the fan, people can’t remember a lot, so your core values list should be short and sweet. If you or your employees can’t rattle them off in 10 seconds or less, keep refining.
Spend the time to truly figure out what your values are, and document them. You, your business, your employees, and your clients will benefit from it every day.