Creating Your Core Values
The three foundations to your business are vision, mission and core values
The foundation to any structure is the key component to building anything that lasts. We understand this principle in the construction industry for the buildings we construct. However, this general understanding doesn’t often translate into how we build our businesses. We have a skill or a passion in construction and we jump off and start bidding and executing on projects. As more and more leads pour in and our schedules book out, we then look to hire key personnel to help us grow. On boarding these new employees would best be suited if we were able to connect a cable from the owner’s mind directly to the new employee in an effort to transfer information. Sadly, Elon Musk hasn’t created that direct link yet, so we find it very difficult and time consuming to get these new employees trained and set up for success. This adds more stress to the business and we inevitably hear, “It’s impossible to hire good people.”
Most of this is avoidable. Building a healthy and strong business is possible. To do so you have to start at the bottom and build up. Your Vision, Mission and Core Value are the building blocks for your company. Everything you do will be driven out of these three pillars. In previous articles we broke down how to create your vision story and mission statement. In this article we are going to show you what it means to create core values that mean something to you as the founder. We will then show you how you can use them to build a great business and a team.
In walks your business
Imagine you’re at a coffee shop with some friends and in walks your business in human form. How would you and your friends describe what your business looks like? How do they talk? What kind of character and personality do they have? Write these descriptions down. These don’t have to be your cookie cutter adjectives (Loyal, integrity, excellent, industry leader, etc.) You have liberty to make these whatever you want and whatever you feel is going to help you build your business. You will use this list of descriptors to carve out your three to five core values.
You don’t determine what your business brand is–your customers do
Your brand is your reputation in the marketplace. When people see your logo or brand colors what are the thoughts and emotions it creates in them? When you see McDonald’s golden arches what are the thoughts that pop into your head? Whether they are positive or negative, that is what that brand means to you. It doesn’t matter what McDonald’s wishes you thought of them. When it comes to your brand, you can influence it by the products and services you offer, your customer support, and your general appearance. Once all of that is on the table it’s up to your customers to define what your brand means. Your job then is to do your best to influence the brand you want, keeping in mind that you can’t fake it. If you say that you are “responsive,” but you don’t call people back then your brand will not be “responsive.” Your clients will see your logo and say, “They don’t call you back.”
Your core values are not what you wish to be
If you’re not trustworthy then you should not have trustworthy as one of your core values. Even if you desire to be trustworthy, which we think you should, you shouldn’t make that a core value at this time. Work on becoming trustworthy and once you have established that character then you can insert that into your list of core values. Remember, if you or your business walks in the room what would people say? You are what you do, not what you wish you could do. =
Pick your top three
We recommend that you pick your top three descriptors. Anything beyond that gets hard for you and your team to remember. Everyone in your company should be able to spout off what the core values are at any moment. Core values do not fall under, “More is better.” You need to pick the values that mean the most to you and best represent what you’re trying to achieve with your business. They can be funny and should definitely represent who you are.
Once you have your top picks
Once you have your list, write detailed paragraph descriptions of what they mean to you. This isn’t necessarily anything you’re going to post or share with your team, so it’s not critical that you have proficient writing skills. The point is that you elaborate and paint a picture. This will help you communicate out to your team what “Build relationships” means to you and how they can incorporate that in their role.
You will also begin to use this list of core values when you create a business name, motto, and procedures. Your core values need to ooze out into everything else you do. Your vision, mission and core values together will represent who you are and where you are going. Having these clearly defined will streamline you and your team’s efforts.
Use the form below to work through the process to build your core values. Once you’re completed, submit them and one of our team members will review them and write back with suggestions and next steps.