Narrowing Down Your Core Values List
There are several different ways to zero in on those key core values that best describe your business.
One way is to prioritize. Put your list in order from the value that’s dearest to your heart, and order the rest in terms of importance. Then, pick the top few that you feel most closely apply to your business.
You can test each value. Try to find examples of it in action in your business’s day-to-day workings. This is a good way to determine whether this value really applies to your business. For example, if you have a commitment to innovation, you should see regular examples where you choose to innovate.
Look at results. Which values have gotten you results over the years? If your main core value is that you’re people-oriented, how has your business taken action to make customers or clients fully satisfied?
Look at your best work. Find times when you really hit the ball out of the park. Or, what is it that makes you feel like your work isn’t “work”? Where is the passion behind your business? What are you most proud of?
It’s good to look at your past achievements to discover which values are most important, but you should also consider aspirational values. In other words, what value do you want to guide your company? Which values will be most important in the future?
You can also identify important values by considering the traits in others you’d like to emulate. Choose a company or individual you like and ask yourself what it is you like about them. This is a value you can aspire to in your business.
As you go about narrowing down your list, remove those that are redundant. Look for ones you can combine to make it simpler. For example, if safety and reliability are important, you might say “trust.”
Once you know which value or values are most important, state this in one concise sentence. You should clarify them for yourself, but once clarified, you should also document them so that you can communicate your business to others. You’ll want to communicate your values to your customers, but also document them for employees and others who work with you.
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