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Documenting Core Values

February 26, 2018

Talking core values today. Every prospect wants to know what to expect when they do business with you. When they become a customer, and their experience aligns with your marketing messages, everyone wins. When you tell your customers what they’re going to get and they get exactly that, everyone wins.

You know this as “brand” – the things people think of when they hear your name; the meaning that your business has to the public.

A great brand is no accident.

Companies with a strong brand work hard to make sure the foundational principles of their culture – their core values, purpose, and vision – are clearly documented and followed by everyone within the organization. They know who they are and they work hard to tell their employees AND their customers who they are and what they do.

The problem is, most companies aren’t intentional about discovering – and then communicating – what their business stands for and why it exists. This discovery and communication are not easy, and they don’t happen by accident.

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

—Albert Einstein

Core values –  an important process

First, leaders of the organization must commit to documenting the company’s core values, purpose and vision. Notice that I didn’t say “create” the company’s core values. Your company already has them…they may just not be documented.

Second, the leaders of the organization must actively work to ensure the core values, purpose, and vision are followed. These foundational principles of the organization cannot merely be distributed in a memo, stuck in a three-ring binder, and placed on a shelf to gather dust. They must become the language of the organization, and they must become the standard by which everyone and everything in the organization are measured. Hiring, promoting, firing, service standards, product development, marketing – everything must pass the guidelines that are defined in your company’s culture statements: core values, purpose, and vision.

Look around to see great brand examples

What companies impress you as having an accurate, powerful brand? What stands out to you about these companies? I encourage you to do a quick search to discover their stated core values, purpose, and vision. What did you find?

Two of my favorite brands are Southwest Airlines and Chick-fil-A. The experience I have when doing business with them is consistent. And if you review their stated core values and purpose, you’ll discover your experiences with them are no accident.

What are your company’s core values, purpose, and vision? And does your brand reflect them?