Our Shared Values

Company culture describes the shared characteristics of an organization; this includes your vision, mission, attitudes, language, behaviors, and values. Culture is the way your team or members act, think, and understand the world around them. It defines the values and behaviors that are acceptable and expected. In short, it’s the DNA and the soul of your organization.
I like what John Maxwell says:
“Vision and mission are the head and the heart of people. But values are their soul.”
Establishing core values that accurately reflect what your organization is about is critical, because they serve as the foundation for its culture.

Laying the Foundation of Your Culture

A well-built foundation provides the stability and support of everything that’s established on it. If organizational values are truly part of the cultural foundation of an organization, they will guide the policies and behaviors of the entire team. The influence of your values will be evident in public decisions as well as those that are made in private. This means that if the values that are enforced within your organization are different than the ones framed and hanging on the wall, it will become evident for all to see over time.

When your core values effectively influence the behavior of your team, the benefits will impact every area of your organization.

On the other hand, values that aren’t practiced create cynical and disgruntled employees, alienate customers, and undermine the credibility of anyone who is in leadership.

Without organizational core values to guide you, it’s very difficult to make decisions about which people to hire and what behaviors to reward, not to mention the daily problems you will likely experience. Operating in the absence of clearly defined values is just a disaster waiting to happen.

What Do You Believe In?

As a leader, do you know what you believe in? Do the people you are leading know what your organization represents or stands for? You can create, cultivate, or cure the culture within your organization, but only by knowing what you believe and what you value.
So I ask you, how would you define your core values—what you believe in?
Think about what’s truly important to you and your organization. Your core values are the principles and beliefs that already guide the decisions you and your leaders make, because what you value is what you do.
You can also look at it this way: How would you describe the personality of your organization if it was a person? Whatever the personality, it has been molded by your beliefs and core values.
When you have clear core values, your team knows what’s expected of them and what’s acceptable, because they answer the following questions:
What do we as an organization stand for?
What is non-negotiable?
And what does a win look like?

Once you’ve established your values, begin weaving them into every part of your messaging.

Integrate them into every employee-related process—recruiting, interviewing, hiring, on-boarding, performance management systems, criteria for promotions and rewards, and even termination policies. From recruiting to retirement, employees should be constantly reminded that your core values form the basis for every decision the company makes.
It's going to take a consistent, ongoing effort to establish shared values that your team members embrace. But if you are committed to dedicate your time and energy to creating authentic core values, there’s a good chance that those values will allow your organization to have a long-lasting legacy, leaving a mark on this world that cannot be erased.
Terry Gwaltney
Author, Culture-neer
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