A few weeks back we started a series about foundational aspects of your business identity. We discussed the importance of a shared company vision. Next time around we’ll talk about your Core Focus, Niche, and Mission. In a few weeks, we’ll discuss your Company’s Marketing Strategy. Finally, we’ll wrap up this particular series with a post on EOS. EOS is the Entrepreneurial Operating System that we’ve been implementing the last 6 months here at The Squad. In this post though, we want to address the topic of Core Values.
We’ll answer the following questions:
- Why your business or organization needs Core Values?
- How to go about creating them?
- How to live them out on a daily basis?
The Core Values at The Marketing Squad came about almost by accident. I guess you could say it was amidst a time of turmoil that we found a chance to gain clarity amongst ourselves. We took the better part of an overnight retreat at the Louisville Marriott East to put index cards and sticky notes all over a table and wall. We cut and sliced and diced until 8 remained. Some say you only need 5-7. We settled on 8 and wouldn’t trade a single one. We’ve never felt like we needed a 9th. So I guess that’s telling.
In order to see if we had the “right people in the right seats on the bus,” we took to the exercise of determining our Core Values. The goal was to see if we were on the same page. The goal was a conversation starter. The end results was a beautiful expression of 8 Core Values that have guided our business ever since.
WHY YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION NEEDS CORE VALUES?
It’s hard to know your common thread as an organization if you don’t have shared Core Values. People can get behind a vision, but it doesn’t mean they will attack the goals and objectives in a common way. Core Values assure you have a chance to win as a team. Not having them could mean half your organization is heading in the wrong direction.
HOW TO GO ABOUT CREATING CORE VALUES?
I don’t know that our method was the best, but the end result turned out just fine. Whether you’re implementing Gazelles Scaling Up or EOS, or some other system, they should point you to some version of building your Core Values.
If you don’t think your ownership or leaders can pull this off, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We lean on Daniel Montgomery and Lauren Tharp of Leadership Reality to help facilitate many of our discussions around topics like this.
HOW TO LIVE THEM OUT YOUR CORE VALUES ON A DAILY BASIS
You can have reminders on your website or signs put on the wall, but it will all fall flat if you don’t live them out day in and day out.
Here are 4 Ways We Make Sure We Don’t Forget Our Squad Core Values
- We build recognition programs around them. Our Squad Core Value card exchanges were a big hit in 2018. Our annual Squad Core Value winners were also awarded at our January kickoff luncheon. That’s just two ways we build recognition around these Core Values.
- We make our Core Values a part of the meeting pulse here. Core Values are a part of our Daily Stand-ups. They have their own place in our monthly staff meeting called The Squddle. They are part of our Quarterly 5-5-5 reviews with each team member. It’s hard to forget them when they appear in most of our meetings.
- My biggest shift as our leader has been finding ways to lead to the Core Values. Every situation that goes right is usually because we’re exemplifying our Core Values. Every situation that goes wrong is offending one or more Core Values. Mark McNulty over at ActionCoach Bluegrass probably helped me get in this mindset the most when I worked with him a few years back.
- Last but not least, we do the unthinkable in most businesses. We hire and fire based on these Core Values. You’re not welcome on the bus if you don’t exemplify our 8 Core Values. If you have major issues with more than one of them for an extended period of time, then let’s face it, you’re probably not a good fit. We telegraph a lot as leaders by who we allow on the bus or ask to get off the bus.
If you’re curious about our Core Values, here they are in all their glory.
Here is a quick video where we discuss them further. Stay tuned next time for our post on Core Focus, Niche, and Mission.
Are you interested in learning more about how our Core Values impact the way we serve our clients? Let’s grab coffee. I’d love to learn how your business’ mission and our Core Values compliment each other.