Establishing solid core values for your business is important. The core values you introduce can create a successful and motivating place to work.
In short, core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. The guiding principles outlined help guide behavior and can help people understand the difference between the right way and the wrong way to conduct business. Core values can also help an entrepreneur determine if they are on the right path to fulfill their business goals.
Don’t confuse “code of conduct” with your core values. A code of conduct is a list of dos and don’ts about behavior. Core values outline a mindset to guide in decision making. Use the following as a guide when forming your own core values.
Integrity is often defined as doing the right thing even when no one else is around. It’s acting with honesty and consistency in whatever you do based on the particular moral value or belief compass you have. This is a value that should be expected by customers and your staff and included in your core values.
2. Constant Improvement
Improving your products, services, or processes should be an ongoing process. The improvements your business works toward might be incremental over time or achieved through a breakthrough. Improvements should always be acknowledged and celebrated with your team. You can even share improvements with your customers.
Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote that, “the only constant in life is change.” This core value should help your team strive to redefine the standard of excellence to stay relevant and keep up with changing needs. Creative thinking that sparks innovation should be encouraged and rewarded.
Every business owner should take pride in providing high value products and services. Quality ensures customer satisfaction, increased profitability, and overall growth.
Teamwork makes the dream work! Teamwork involves employees across all departments of your business working together to maximize efficiency and reach a common goal. The benefits of teamwork include better efficiency, financial savings, and increased morale.
6. Commitment to Customers
Let your team know how important it is to develop customer relationships that make a positive difference. Setting goals and objectives when it comes to customer service doesn’t just improve your bottom line-it’s a great way to help your employees understand their value. Make sure all employees are well-trained and on the same page when it comes to customer commitment. The way you treat customers can make or break your business.
Reliability and personal responsibility are the core of accountability. This part of your core values should show that you and your team honor commitments to clients, customers, vendors, suppliers, and each other. Accountable people take ownership of their work and promptly correct mistakes.
Media mogul Oprah Winfrey says, "Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you." People who are passionate about what they do enjoy the challenge of coming to work each day. People with passion are continually growing personally and professionally.
Leadership is the art of motivating a team to achieve a common goal. In a business setting, this can mean directing staff with a strategy to meet the company's needs. Leaders foster inspiration and spark action.
5 large brand core value examples
Here are some well-established big brands with clearly defined core values. Of course, your core values should be tailored to your particular business. Don’t just cut and paste.
On their website, Airbnb defines “embrace the adventure” as the following:
- Be curious, ask for help, and demonstrate an ability to grow.
- Own and learn from mistakes.
- Bring joy and optimism to work.
Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO says, “Having a clear mission and making sure you know that mission and making sure that mission comes through the company is probably the most important thing you can do for both culture and values.”
The GoDaddy Core Values are:
- Be extraordinary
- Own outcomes
- Join forces
- Work fearlessly
- Live passionately
CEO Blake Irvings says, “My philosophy for leading is get out in front, set the pace and live the culture you want everyone else to live.
On their website, Zappos reports that their 10 core values are a way of life for their employees.
- Deliver WOW Through Service
- Embrace and Drive Change
- Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
- Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
- Pursue Growth and Learning
- Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More With Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
- Be Humble
Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO, says, "We believe that it's really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you're willing to hire and fire based on them. If you're willing to do that, then you're well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build."
Online marketplace Etsy outlines their core values:
- We are a mindful, transparent, and human business.
- We plan and build for the long term.
- We value craftsmanship in all we make.
- We believe fun should be a part of everything we do.
- We keep it real, always.
"The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing," says CEO Josh Silverman, speaking about the focus of his company and commitment to core values.
SnackNation delivers delicious and healthy snacks directly to offices. Their core values are clear:
- Health above all else
- Display grit without ego
- Serve & inspire
- Seek perpetual growth
- Spread joy & optimism
“… live and breathe your culture, and take stock of it daily. Listen, get feedback, and get a very good sense of how people are feeling in your office. Pay attention, be present and realize that building an amazing culture is a never-ending process.” Sean Kelly, CEO