The Strategic Method To Setting Company Values

By Leigh Paulden, 4 May 2015

Corporate values – or core values, dictate how you hire people, how you change behaviour and are the foundation your company culture is built on.

Verne Harnish, Gravitas Impact (Gazelles International) founder and author of best selling business book on Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0: Scaling Up – How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t, says values provide clarity – a final should/shouldn’t test for all behaviours and decisions made by everyone. Managers and leaders should be able to operate by the philosophy that “if you need to ask me permission for something, just consult the core values”. If the values are a living, breathing entity, then management can trust employees will know the right thing to do when faced with a decision or moral choice.

Using your values in this way means company leaders are removed from many smaller, operational decisions.

When creating values that define your company’s culture and personality, use phrases. For example, for Gravitas Impact these include, ‘practice what we preach’ and ‘honour intellectual capitalists’.

Discovering a living, breathing company personality is a process of discovery that will take several years, not the writing of an over-priced, well-researched, over-consulted, list of nice-to-have platitudes with no relevance.

To define your company’s values – don’t carve anything in stone too soon. List what you believe them to be and then test their validity for a year. Ask your team, through all levels, to provide examples of people living the values – if they are not, then maybe you have a wish-list item. Change it, refine it, test it and find values that truly reflect the real values of your business.

Learn more about about defining core values and their relevance to your bottom line and strategic business growth.

More on Core Values:
Your Company’s Core Values Should Drive Your Choice in Staff
Do Your Businesses Core Values Really Impact Your Bottom Line?

View our other Strategy resources.

Leigh Paulden

Leigh Paulden

"I bring my clients executive education that has been internationally tested and proven to drive business performance. I understand the factors that influence growth and business practice and create the clarity and certainty you need to make great decisions for success."

Leigh Paulden is an internationally certified business consultant working alongside New Zealand businesses serious about growth.