Core values–or whatever you want to call them–are a BFD. Core values matter. Some folks might argue that they’re not that important, but I’d suggest they rethink that position because whether they think they’re important or not, core values are a big deal.
Here’s why they’re a big deal:
1. Core values matter because they encourage a sense of belonging.
Humans are wired to want and need a sense of belonging, so why wouldn’t we want to create communities in our workplaces that provide the sort of positive, meaningful belonging that we’re designed to desire as human beings?Great core values provide a sense of belonging. #leadership #companyculture #culture Click To Tweet
2. Core values matter because they promote loyalty.
They’re like a stake in the ground, so to speak. The more certain sorts of values are internalized by the folks at an organization, the more likely people are to develop a sense of loyalty to the organization and those values.Core values promote loyalty. #leadership #companyculture #culture Click To Tweet
3. Core values matter because they provide identity and uniqueness (hopefully).
Many organizations tout core values, but don’t live them. Think about it this way: if you stripped the walls of the organization of any verbiage about your values, and invited a complete stranger into your organization for the day, what would they think your values were? While that stranger might not be able to articulate the values with the same wording that you do internally, they should be able to detect the general ideas in many cases.Core values provide identity & uniqueness. #leadership #companyculture #culture Click To Tweet
Would they walk out thinking your workplace was fun? Dynamic? Collaborative? Quiet? Somber? Boring? Buzzing? Crazy? Depressing? Creative? Straight-laced? I’m not arguing the merits of any particular value, per se; I’m just saying that whatever those values are, they ought to be apparent.
4. Core values matter because they provide clarity around the purpose of the organization.
People need to know the answer to the Why question. Your values will likely have some sort of connection to your greater organizational purpose. They’re the behaviors and attitudes that you believe are conducive to moving toward that purpose.Core values provide clarity around a company's purpose. #leadership #companyculture #culture Click To Tweet
5. Core values matter because they help everyone understand group norms and behavioral expectations.
Anyone who’s ever worked in an organization with unclear or inconsistently lived and enforced values–and most of us have–knows how frustrating this is. Without clearly communicated and understood values, people don’t have an adequate framework within which to live organizational life.Core values clarify group norms. #leadership #companyculture #culture Click To Tweet
6. Core values matter because they push the concept of “team” past being just a buzzword.
Values form a bond between people in a group. There’s a shared understanding of the expectations people have of each other. Instead of a group being a team in some abstract sense, there are real and clear ideas that people can rally around and have in common. Instead of teamwork being something scrawled in an awful font across the breadth of rarely-viewed poster in the break room, it becomes something that people are passionate–even fanatical–about.
So yeah, they matter. They’re the biggest of deals. But hey, I’m super nerdy about culture stuff, so what do you think? What other reasons can you think of?