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Locally Grown Episode 3: Why Your Business Should Have Core Values

Andrew Adams

Listen to Locally Grown on Apple and Spotify

Core values communicate how you do business and let customers know exactly what to expect when interacting with your brand. This makes having accurate and firm core values a top priority for businesses of all sizes.

In this episode, we break down everything you need to know about deciding your core values, look at how major companies have implemented their own core values, and give you the tools you need to begin implementing them in your business right away.

Hear our conversation about:

  • Why your company should have core values
  • How to choose core values
  • How to implement core values in an organization
  • Things to avoid when deciding on your core values

Why you should have core values

Roy O. Disney, big brother to Walt and one of the co-founders of The Walt Disney Company, once said, “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”

Core values are the compass for your business. They are foundational to who you are, what you do, and how you do it.

“Core values are a map for where you want to go, how you want to interact with people, how you want your customers to feel, and how you want your employees to be treated.” — Andrew Adams

Think of core values as the pillars of your company. They prop up your overarching mission statement.

What’s a mission statement?

It’s a concise explanation for why your company exists in the world. It includes and expands upon your core values to explain what you are now and even what you hope to be in the future.

How to choose core values

There are many different tactics for choosing your core values.

A great way to start is to have a brainstorming session.

  • Grab a whiteboard and a bunch of sticky notes

  • Write down qualities you want your employees to have

  • Write down qualities your customers want you to have

  • Write down attainable qualities that you want your company to aspire to

  • Collect all your ideas and narrow them down to four or five

It’s vitally important to narrow your core values down to a precious few. When there are only a handful to focus on, it helps crystallize who you are—your employees know exactly how to act and your customers know exactly who they’re doing business with.

Who to include

As a general rule, it’s best not to involve too many people in this process. But exactly who you involve depends on you.

Some companies include only the leadership team in brainstorming sessions. Some companies send out a short questionnaire to employees so that they can aggregate and take into account employee sentiment when deciding on core values. If you have an all-star employee who embodies everything you want your company to be, include them in the process.

How to implement core values

To start, make sure that your core values are applicable and actionable, and that you gain buy-in. For core values to take root in your organization, your employees must rally behind them.

“Making sure that your core values are applicable and all your employees are on board with them is the first way to make sure that they actually happen. ” — Andrew Adams

Next, communicate your core values far and wide. Put them on your website, socialize them internally, and make them a cornerstone of your culture and your hiring process. For example, making them an integral part of your quarterly goals is one way to weave them into the fabric of your company.

Additional tips

Make sure you set your employees up for success when it comes to embodying your core values. Teach them how the company’s core values apply to their day-to-day work. Provide examples of your core values in action.

“Put in some training and processes that help people succeed with your core values.” — Joe Martin

Finally, be willing to pass on qualified applicants that don’t quite measure up to your core values. And when it becomes obvious that someone you recently hired isn’t a culture fit, let them go quickly and move on. As the old saying goes, “hire slow, fire fast.”

More information about today’s topics:

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