Values Determine Culture & Brand
In Tony Hsieh’s book “Delivering Happiness”, he states, “Your company's culture and your company's brand are two sides of the same coin”. He goes on to share his belief that both stem from the embodiment of a company’s core values. Values are fundamental to a company. Without knowing what you stand for, it is difficult to know where to stand.
"Without knowing what you stand for, it is difficult to know where to stand."
I have written in previous articles about the importance of having clarity around Purpose, Vision, Values, Path and Outcomes. However, I don’t believe I have focused the appropriate level of effort in communicating the significance of defining core values. This is not only applicable to an organization, but also to an individual. In fact, it is when an individual’s core values are in closest proximity to an organization’s that “cultural fit” is most likely to be found.
Whether I am working with organizations or coaching individuals, establishing values often proves to be the most challenging aspect of developing a Purpose, Vision, Values, Path and Outcomes statement. The default is frequently towards societal norms or moral imperatives. When asked to list core values, common initial responses include values such as honesty, integrity and respect. These are all fine and things that everyone should aspire to exude. However core values are much more than what society expects or what good morals require. Core values are what we stand for. It is the DNA of organization’s culture and brand. It serves as an individuals compass guiding both decisions and actions.
A tool that I have found helpful is to think of core values as the traits that a person giving a eulogy would use to describe either your organization or you as individual. Another approach is to think of them as aspirational, what you or your organization strives to exemplify. It may be best to offer an example. To follow is my list of core values.
- Be authentic and passionate
- Use humor, laugh and have fun
- Be pragmatic while also being creative and innovative
- Truly care about people
- Be humble and vulnerable
- Be present
- Listen deeply
- Do good, avoid harm
- Learn constantly
- Don’t want; instead give
As a business owner, these represent both organizational and individual core values. I use them to guide decisions and actions. When determining if a potential client would be a good fit, I run down the list and ask myself; would working with them allow me to be true to these values? If not, if it would require that I deviate from these values, I do not move forward. The values also serve as the foundation for our brand. It is my hope that when anybody interacts with our company, they find us walking the walk, truly living up to our core values.
In the spirit of conversation, I ask you; what are your core values? Please feel free to email them directly or post them in the comments below. It is my goal to use this article to foster a dialogue; I would truly value your input and feedback.
To learn more about the importance of and how to develop a Purpose, Vision, Value, Path and Outcomes statement, schedule a complementary growth session.
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