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Your business should be built on core values that remind your team, your clients and the world who you are and what you stand for. In this article, I want to show you why core values are important and how you can develop your own. Core values are the principles on how we govern our office and lives. Here is a good quote to think about as we discuss core values, “Tribal leaders follow the core values of the tribe no matter what the costs.”

Unfortunately, many organizations define company values by what leaders think the values should be, rather than what is actually expressed within their company. This shapes the perception that value initiatives are a waste of time and effort because no one seems to follow the core values that leaders think they “should be.” This top-down, leader-directed approach doesn’t connect or motivate people based on what matters to them. They are just words on a plaque or website. Instead of identifying values at the top and passing them down through the organizational chart, an approach that elicits and reflects the deepest values of the people in an organization will better serve everyone involved. When people emphasize their actual core values (values that the company intuitively expresses) to drive the company culture, strategy, and activities, people become highly productive and enjoy where they work. Core values positively impact the communication, decision making and relationships within the organization and even with clients and vendors. When core values are sorted from the bottom up, teams and tribes thrive.

Because the process to align as a group usually takes thoughtfulness, teamwork and a fair amount of time, it may be better to wait if the following conditions are true:

1. If the group has just started working together, it should focus on delivering results.

2. If the group is characterized by ineffectiveness, it should emphasize personal performance until each person pulls their own weight.

3. If the group is characterized by competition within the ranks, it should shift to an authentic interest in collaborating, instead of competing.

After these shifts are made, the group will be better prepared to align on the newly created cultural core values.

Ways to establish and keep values strong within your company is to recite a core value during each team meeting/call as it helps everyone buy into your vision and mission for the business. It also helps remind them to uphold these values while they conduct business. This process has the opportunity to start attracting a different type of agent to come work for you because when we establish our core values, we begin to use them in the hiring process. Additionally, agents can be released for not upholding the core values. This helps with the hiring process—the team will take the time to hire the right people so they don’t have to pick up that slack.

If you are having trouble knowing which values you want to establish, you can read Andy Andrews’ The Traveler’s Gift. The book gives the advice and insights that can also be applied to business or one’s personal life. The lessons in the book are written in understandable instructions; in a simple, straightforward plot that provides a loose map of where to go to develop those values. A more personalized way to create your core values is to use our WSS Core Value Worksheet to provide some further structure and get your ideas out on paper and see which ones speak out to you and your team the most.

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