Article · business

Articulate your Core Values

30 ‘Condiments’ of Business Success
(Administrative concerns)
Condiment 3: Articulate your Core Values
Your core values are the guiding principles that dictate the actions your business takes. They would inform how you do what you do and form what you are known for. *1
Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. The core values are the guiding principles that dictate behavior and action. Core values can help people to know what is right from wrong; they can help companies to determine if they are on the right path and fulfilling their business goals; and they create an unwavering and unchanging guide. There are many different types of core values and many different examples of core values depending upon the context. *2
Core Values About Life
Often, when you hear someone discuss why they fell in love with a spouse, they will mention that they have the same values. In this case, they are often talking about core values, or internal beliefs that dictate how life is to be lived.
Some examples of core values people might have about life include:
*A belief, or lack thereof, in God and/or an affiliation with a religious institution
*A belief in being a good steward of resources and in exercising frugality
*A belief that family is of fundamental importance
*A belief that honesty is always the best policy and that trust has to be earned
*A belief in maintaining a healthy work/life balance
Parents also try to instill these types of positive core values in children.
Of course, core values don’t always have to be positive. Some people may be driven by self-interest or greed, and these are core values too if they dictate the way the people live their lives.
Corporate Core Values
Companies can have core values as well. These are the guiding principles that help to define how the corporation would behave. They are usually expressed in the corporation’s mission statement.
Some examples of core values for a company might include:
A commitment to sustainability and to acting in an environmentally friendly way. Companies like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s have environmental sustainability as a core value.
A commitment to innovation and excellence.
Apple Computer is perhaps best known for having a commitment to innovation as a core value. This is embodied by their “Think Different” motto.
A commitment to doing good for the whole.
Google, for example, believes in making a great search engine and building a great company without being evil.
As you can see, many of the core values that companies have are similar to those that individuals might choose as guiding principles as well.
Companies may also have negative core values as well. Companies that are solely motivated by profit, such as tobacco companies who lied to their customers about the dangers of smoking, may have been driven by core values of self-interest and an overly strong profit motive.*2
Some Types of Core Values
There are countless types of core values, as you can see, so you will need to choose the ones that are right for you or your organization.
Here are some examples of core values from which you may wish to choose:
Identifying Core Values
While some people or companies might expressly publish their core values, often the best way to identify these values is how they act and behave. A core value is only a true core value if it has an active influence and if the people or company manage to live by it, at least most of the time.
*1- Tale Alimi, 2016



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