Core Values Vs Core Purpose, and their Roles in Strategic Business Growth

It is extremely important for an organisation to be clear on its core ideology, because until you understand it, you can’t work out your strategy. To understand your core ideology, you need to know what your core values and your core purpose are. These are two of the fundamentals of strategy and a check when making strategic decisions.

Understanding your core purpose

A key part of your core ideology is core purpose: why is your organisation is doing what it is doing?

Do not confuse your products, services or income streams with your core purpose.

Core purpose reflects people’s idealistic motivations for doing the company’s work.

To find your core purpose, ask the question: what are we most passionate about as an organisation?

How core values can improve your bottom line

Once you have established what your company stands for and everyone is clear on what your core values are, the important question is, is this of any use to your company?

The answer is yes – values are the essential and enduring beliefs of your business. Core values are a handful of rules you have clearly defined and that your team live by regularly. It’s what your people should and shouldn’t do.

When the entire team is clear about your core values, it improves your culture, and it’s easier to move the organisation from good to great.

Spending a small amount of time to clarify your values is worth the effort. The simplicity of core values and core purpose, and the impact they have on your bottom line should not be ignored.

Five actions to help your businesses live by your core values

  1. Articulate your handful of rules (not too many 5 – 10)
  2. Make them visible
  3. Share and repeat them often (regularly) within the organisation
  4. Give recognition for core values lived by a team member
  5. Live by them yourself (model them)

Remember, core values are NOT who you want to be as an organisation, they are who you are today. Core values do not add value if the behaviour of those who typically have the most power in organisations do not demonstrate them at work.

I often see companies post core values that define who they want to be, but then live quite differently. This will turn off team members and create a gap of credibility between leadership and team members. It is also obvious to clients, suppliers and can create the wrong perception or a distrust of your company, damaging your ability to grow, and potentially your reputation.

Most companies have not stopped to clearly define their core values, but they do exist and you probably operate by some of them each day – what you need to do is identify them and then share these values with everyone. It’s said 95% of American companies have not stopped to define their core values or are not living them.

This statistic is amazing when it’s well known that successful companies are clear on their core values and live by them. Underpinning your entire strategy for growth should be your core values.

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