Why Following Your Core Values Matter

Every organization should have a set of core values. Core Values are the values your organization believes in, follows, and believes will take it to the next level.

The values organizations choose can vary widely. You may see some organizations choose the following:

  • Integrity
  • Positivity
  • Teamwork
  • Transparency
  • Honesty
  • Curiosity
  • Inclusion
  • Quality
  • Respect
  • Fairness
Person in a red tank top sitting down. Hands are being taped up, ready to fight.

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

The list could go on. Prior to writing this article, I searched for “core values” and thousands of sites were found on Google talking about this topic. Many of those listed out hundreds of core values for you to consider for your business.

Organizational leaders pick and choose the values they want for their organizations. And then what?

You may talk about your organization’s values, display them on the wall, and say everyone needs to have those values. 

But what happens when an organization loses sight of its core values? It’s as the robot in Lost In Space would say:

Danger, Will Rogers!

You enter a dangerous arena when you proclaim values but fail to live them out. That’s what we’re going to look at in this article.

Why Following Your Core Values Matter

Your core values are the guiding light for your organization’s beliefs. They direct every decision you make. They’re the true north everyone wants and needs.

This is why following your core values matters. They are what you claim to be, where you’re saying you’re going, and your bedrock foundation for everything you do in your organization. 

Imagine this:

Your core values state that your organization believes in honesty, transparency, trust, people first, and excellence. Over the years, you’ve always espoused these values to your new employees and vetted them to make sure they would align with those values. Then, your business begins to tank. You freak out. You decide you need to bring in new blood.

You go out and hire the best of the best. These are people who have a strong track record of getting results. Only one problem: Their actions don’t align with your core values. They may not be team players, they put profits over people, and they don’t trust in the organization. Still, you think it will be okay because they’re honest and transparent.

Over time, you begin to see results. You also see your original team members become disenfranchised. They’re struggling with the paradox of the core values you’ve shared with the actions of the team members who are getting results. You see a slow shift in your organization that goes from caring about people, working together, and trusting one another to an organization full of distrust, anger, and resentment.

There are murmurs throughout the organization. There’s discontent. People are noticing something has changed. They see success but success is coming at the cost of core values. This tells your people success wasn’t about living out your core values but bringing in the dough.

Eventually, despite the success, people begin to walk away from your organization. They’re tired of the hypocrisy and double-speak. They can no longer trust you because you broke their trust.

When you begin to walk away from what you say are important values for your organization, you begin to change its culture. It’s not the vibrant, friendly, and cooperative group you once had. Your organization is now a cutthroat business where employees are scared to make the wrong move.

The next time you think about walking away from your core values, remember this: Your values are what you want your organization to be. Your actions and what you accept are what your organization is.

The further you walk away from the ideal, the less true success you will achieve. 

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