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Practicing What You Preach — The Importance of Corporate Values

Written by: Betsy Kauffman, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

If we honor our values, they should dictate our decisions.


A company’s values should be no different — if a company claims to value a transparent,

collaborative work environment, its values, and culture should naturally reflect that.


Corporate values are something many companies tout but do not adhere to when the rubber

meets the road. But the companies who are authentic about their values — internally and

externally — reap the rewards. Let’s look at a few examples.

Attracting the right employees: Oftentimes, it is due to their boss or supervisor when people leave a job. But an answer that also ranks high on the list of reasons people seek employment elsewhere is a company’s culture. If a company has a strong set of values and earnestly lives them out, it will attract high-quality candidates who share the same mindset.


Creating a Community: You are bringing together an incredibly diverse team from all backgrounds (if you are doing it right, at least) — you need to build a community that has a foundation. Corporate values are a great way to accomplish this. Everyone uses the same

roadmap as they operate their respective jobs and responsibilities within the company, and they are all in sync and working toward a common goal.

Creating an identity: This starts internally, but the goal is to extend this externally to your potential customers and the public. Many companies are well-known for their customer service or how they exhibit integrity in their business dealings. This public perception begins with a strong code of ethics and values internally.


Making Company Decisions: As mentioned above, if we honor our values, they should dictate our decisions. If there are strong corporate values in place and a history of allowing those values to serve as a roadmap to success, decision-making becomes a lot less

complicated. When in doubt, revisit those values, and they will point you in the right direction.


But how do I create corporate values?


If this all sounds great, but you are unsure where to start with creating or revamping your corporate values, there are a few simple steps to help you on your journey. Let your mission statement be your catalyst: This should be the spark that ignites the fire. Your mission statement is what will connect your work to current and prospective employees, as well as our intended audience. People buy from companies that they resonate with, so find the target audience that aligns with your mission and genuinely connect with them.


Create values that are unique to your company.

  • Don’t take the easy way out and copy another corporation’s values or grab the first list you see off the Google search. You need to sit down, preferably with other executives and maybe a few employees as well, and have a real conversation around the values the company wants to highlight. Think out of the box and really consider what will resonate with your employees and your customer base. One caveat: make them easy to remember. They can be unique, but they need to be memorable — otherwise, they won’t become a part of the culture organically.

  • Don’t be afraid to evolve. These corporate values shouldn’t be a rotating set of documents, but they shouldn’t be written in stone either. While honesty and integrity will never go out of style, as the market evolves and the company grows, it may be time to revisit and update the corporate values — to reflect better where the company is and where it’s going.

At the end of the day, corporate values are all about people. To be successful, you need great people. They may not always agree or come from the same backgrounds, but the corporate values give them something in common as they collaborate to accomplish the company's mission and goals.


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Betsy Kauffman, Executive Contributor, Brainz Magazine Betsy Kauffman is a globally recognized Leadership and Organizational Agility Coach with more than 20 years of experience working in Fortune 500 companies. Her company, Cross Impact Coaching, helps leaders create innovative, aligned, disruptive agile organizations. Betsy has observed and worked side by side with hundreds of CxO leaders. She has seen just about every variation of how Leadership Teams operate and execute (both successfully and not so successfully). She deeply understands and has experienced firsthand when the team of individuals charged with leading the organization isn't aligned, focused, and working as one; the rest of the organization suffers. She is a published author providing thought leadership to agile and project management communities and speaks internationally on leadership, corporate culture, and organizational agility. She just completed her first TED talk - “4 Tips to Kickstart Honest Conversations at Work” in September 2020 in conjunction with the TED@PMI partnership and was selected by the TED editors to have her talk brought to the main stage– check it out at TED.com!

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