The new year is a great time to revisit your brand’s core values.
And if you don’t have a set of core values in place, now is the perfect time to commit to developing some to guide your business.
For many of us, our experience with core values amounts to some feel-good words on a poster in the break room or maybe as the kickoff slide to that PowerPoint presentation meant to rally the troops. Too often core values are perceived as superficial, disconnected or downright unnecessary. When approached with a little time and a lot of thoughtfulness, however, a set of core values authentic to your brand can bring clear and measurable benefits:
- IMPROVED DECISION-MAKING Core values become a filter that encourages more efficient and focused decision-making. From vendor and partner relationships to strategic business choices to determining who’s the best fit when hiring, aligning your decisions with your brand’s core values embraces clarity and minimizes distractions while encouraging team cohesion.
- ENDURING ACCOUNTABILITY Core values reinforce accountability across your organization. When real core values are in place, they’re observed not just most of the time but all the time. That creates clear expectations for performance across all members of a team, from entry-level workers to the C-suite. You’ll know your core values are working as intended when your staff see it as their responsibility to uphold your brand’s core values while reminding their team members to do the same.
- INVALUABLE CAMARADERIE Strong core values encourage strong team identity. When teams collectively believe in what they do and how they do it, that solidarity reinforces and improves things like team communication, problem solving and resiliency in the face of challenges. When everyone in your organization subscribes to the same core values, the resulting camaraderie is priceless.
If developing your brand’s core values is on your radar in 2024, it will pay off to approach the project with your eyes wide open. As author and business consultant Patrick M. Lencioni observed,
“…coming up with strong values—and sticking to them—requires real guts.”
Here are some tips to ensure developing your brand’s core values hits the mark:
- Beware of consensus. Core values built on consensus may make everyone feel good, but they’ll likely be bland, toothless and uninspiring.
- Understand the different types of values. Core values differ from aspirational, accidental or permission-to-play values. Knowing the difference is key to creating a set of core values designed to reach their potential.
- Try your core values on for size. Before formally unveiling your brand’s core values to your entire organization, leadership needs to take the time to try them on for size, typically over the course of several months. Taking the time to reflect and test in real-world business and brand situations helps ensure your core values are relevant not just most of the time, but all the time.
If you’re considering developing your brand’s core values in 2024, this Lencioni article provides a fantastic jumping off point, including a look at the power of being aggressively authentic when it comes to your core values.
To see how core values can inspire authentic, effective branding and marketing solutions, our work with Roseburg Forest Products a great place to start.