Why Your Core Values Are Failing You. Here's What You Should do.

Is your team clear on what your core values are? And importantly, are they living by them? Are you?

Core values in of themselves will not transform your organization or help your company succeed in further engaging your employees. That's just the reality.

There are a few key reasons why just having core values doesn't produce any fruit but leave companies scratching their heads:

  • They're too vague and meaningless
  • They are cliche and not authentic
  • No one is held accountable

So what is the alternative?

Core Behaviours

In our experience working with clients that have strong company culture, the common thread is that each have clearly defined the behaviours that drive success for their business.

What's the difference?  Values are ideas that you may subscribe to, whereas behaviour is an action. It's something you can observe across the organization.

To make core behaviours a driving force in your organization, we suggest a new way of thinking of core values:

  • Think of core behaviours vs. core values ... in other words, think actions instead of ideas
  • Identify the key behaviours if done consistently that will drive your organization forward
  • Create accountability and habits around your identified core behaviours until they are part of your day to day behaviour as an organization

How to Discover Your Core Behaviours

As the head of your company, think about the behaviours, if done consistently that will drive your company to succeed. To help you think of those behaviours, ask yourself:

  • What do you want your people to actually do and how does it look like in action?
  • What are the things that you find yourself always ranting about? The things you rant about most might be the important behaviours you believe if done consistently will help your company to flourish

What are the behaviours of your A-Star team members? What do they do that makes you want to clone them?

Once you have a draft of core behaviours (do not worry about the number at this stage), invite your key leaders and run the idea of core behaviours vs values by them. Review the behaviours you have discovered and get their opinion.

Your goal is to think about principle-based-behaviours and to be clear on those behaviours that apply to all the people in your organization.

We suggest the CEO be given some time to reflect on these behaviours before finalizing them. During this stage, you want to answer the following:

  • Are these really the behaviours that we can live by and keep one another accountable?
  • Are we committed as a group to these behaviours and to work together and build these as habits across the organization?

What's next?

After you have identified your core behaviours, write a brief description of each behaviour that provides clarity to what action you want to see people take.

  • Make all your core behaviour titles action oriented
  • Make the descriptions positive
  • Avoid writing this as a marketing piece. Remember these principles are for your people not your clients/customers

Then the fun part of rolling these across the organization and building them as habits comes next. More on how to roll out your core behaviours in a future blog post.  

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