“Clarity of your core values is essential, it’s your ‘North Star’ in times of darkness.”
~Brené Brown, “Dare to Lead”

Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization that act as guiding principles that dictate behavior, help people understand the difference between right and wrong, or otherwise navigate the difficult challenges of life by providing them with something to measure themselves against.

In any business, it’s important to bring team members together and share the same vision. Core values create a framework for your team’s success in achieving organizational goals, serving customers and stakeholders, and most importantly, walking the talk of your business.

If you’ve not had core values before, you may be wondering “How do I create core values without choosing generic words?” Well, that’s what we will be focusing on in this post!

3 Steps on Choosing Your Core Values:

Before looking at potential business core values, start with your foundation: what are your personal values? What are a few words that describe who you are at the core, that you hold most sacred and aren’t willing to compromise on? Your values should be so crystallized in your mind that they don’t feel like a choice – they are simply a definition of who you are.

To begin, download our list of core value words here to inspire your thoughts. Begin to circle the words you resonate with the most:

  1. Evaluate: When you’ve found a word that resonates with you, research it by dictionary and/or Google search, then write it down. Once you have your words written out with their definitions, evaluate them and start to eliminate the ones that don’t fit. If the word violates your personal values, (E.g. your personal core value is “family first” but your business core value is “business first”) then throw it out.
  2. Visualize: When you have a selection of the words that resonate the most, put them in a place you’ll see them every day. Your bathroom mirror, your computer, your fridge… you get the idea. When you see them, ask yourself “Is this who I am? Is it reflective of how I walk, talk, and think?”
  3. Decide: Now for the hard part. To go to the next level, you must decide which words walk the actual walk. One of my core values is ‘growth’, so while deciding, I had circled the words ‘learning’, ‘knowledge’, and ‘competence’, but ‘growth’ encapsulated all 3 of those words into 1. Your goal is to whittle it down to 3-5 words that truly encompass your business as a whole. Take your time, this can be a hard step.

Your next steps

So, you have your core values mapped out. Now what?

Often, core values seem like big talk and no action, and are never operationalized into observable behaviors. However, living within our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them.

If your Core Values are not pushing your business to the Next Level, it might be time to re-evaluate them. This week, spend some time examining your core values and how they impact your business. They are much more than words on the wall, they’re the foundation of who you are as a company.

We’d be happy to help you identify your core values with you, so if you’re interested in learning more about how you can take them to the Next Level or want some tips on how to get started with your business, contact us today!

There is so much more around core values, but don’t skip it, don’t rush it, and do the work. You’ll be glad you did.