The corporate has a few buzzwords that everyone likes to use: ‘company culture’, ‘mission statements’, and ‘core values’. But while these have become business lingo, most companies don’t know what they actually, or how to successfully apply these concepts.
What are company values? And how do you prioritize what’s important? These are some of the questions we’ll deal with today.
What are Corporate Values?
You may have a vision and a company culture, but these cannot sustain without values. Values are the essence of your company’s identity, the underlying beliefs that guide your strategies. It’s all too natural to focus on technical aspects of running a business, but without authentic underlying values, your company will not run smoothly.
Why You Need Values in Your Business?
Values are important for businesses because:
- They Aid Decision-Making: Core values help you filter ideas and strategies. For example, if your core value is product quality, then the decision to let go of a substandard product from your catalog becomes easier, despite how profitable it might be
- They Create Brand Identity: Your values define customers’ perceptions of your business. In today’s cut-throat business environment, having values that are in line with your target audience (your ‘tribe’) is key to staying ahead
- They Make Recruitment And Retention Easier: Want to hire and retain the best talent in your niche? This is another thing that core values help you with. Many people don’t just think about salary and perks but want to do work that they consider important. Focus on values if you need such people on your team
What Values are NOT
Remember that your company values are not strategies. Also, values are built within the firm, not from the culture outside. So something like “Work Hard. Party Harder” may have emotional appeal, is it really a value?
The defining feature of a value is that it’s timeless; it doesn’t change with passing fads. Do you want to ‘play harder’ in times of recession?
One of our core values at Hartman is that ‘we create value for investors’. And we do this no matter what. Here’s an example.
In summer of 2014, we needed to close two projects on the same day: A purchase and closing of the second largest commercial property acquisition in our company’s history, and a $48 million dollar loan refinancing of properties inside one of our investment portfolios.
To achieve this, our legal, acquisitions and finance teams work 16-hour days, including some Sundays, and we successfully closed both projects within in deadline.
Our strategy changed to accommodate our core values. Remember the order.
How to Determine Your Core Values?
As already stated, your core values come from within. You cannot mimic the core values of other business unless of course they truly apply to your enterprise. The key here is talking to your most valuable employees. These people know deep down what your core values should be. And once you take their ideas, consider which ones are truly timeless, values that represent your company from a hundred years from now. This will help define your core values.