The Importance Of Identifying Your Core Business Values
An important set of principles that small, medium and large businesses share are the core values that help support the company’s vision, build the culture and that become the characteristics that define the business. The company’s core values are evident to company employees and customers alike. They reflect the founding principles and the latest products with equal clarity.
Used properly, the company’s core values can also be instrumental in guiding the company through difficult decision-making because when push comes to shove, the core values remain true. Take for example a company’s newest launch of a product; if the new product does not meet the company’s core quality control mandate, it should not come to market.
When a business grows, takes on new clients or expands its horizons, the core values can become distorted or even lost in the shuffle. This is unfortunate but has happened to many companies especially after the economic volatility caused by the recent recession. The unfortunate irony is that core values are an effective defence against volatility.
They provide stability to management, employees and clientele. When things seem out of kilter, it is time to visit or re-visit the company’s core values.
Common Core Values
While each company’s core values are inherently different, they usually fall into a few or all of the below-listed categories. If you have lost touch with your core, work your way through this list.
Accountability – The company and its employees must always be accountable for actions that affect the company at large. Lack of accountability breeds lack of responsibility and employees and clients are quick to pick up on the risk of doing business with an enterprise that is unreliable.
Balance – Experience has taught us that the company that helps employees create a balanced approach to business and life come out ahead. When the balance is missing, morale and quality of work will suffer.
Commitment – Implementing balance does not mean compromising on individual and team commitment. The stronger the company’s sense of commitment in and out of the workplace, the more compelling the image of the business will be.
Diversity – We quickly lead that consumers and clients can be fickle. Companies that diversify add layers of appeal as long as each diverse entity or products sustains the company’s core values.
Sustainability – We hear a lot about sustainability but the company’s core values are what will sustain it. If the business re-visits its model and continues to improve the model as times and technology improve, it will be a sustainable enterprise.
Innovation – What drives sustainability is consistent innovation. Companies that lack an innovative spirit fall by the wayside quickly. Status quo is not good enough. Business must be creative to compete and succeed.
Integrity – What can you say about integrity. Much like your personal relationships, we gravitate to people and businesses with integrity that do what they say and say what they do. Transparency goes a long way toward raising the company’s integrity.
Safety – Industries, consumers, clients and employees respect companies that put safety first. Consumers are more likely to purchase goods from companies with good safety ratings than from companies with dubious safety ratings.
Empowerment – Empowering employees to contribute, to make decisions and to be creative is one of the best ways to boost morale and discover new systems, products and technology. When honest mistakes are made, rate the effort, not the result.
Staying in Touch with Your Core
For SMEs, staying in touch with your core values can be a challenging undertaking. The entrepreneur or manager is usually so busy and engaged in day-to-day operations that he or she can easily lose track of the principles that should drive the enterprise. Many SMEs assemble a small team to ensure that the core values are reflected in the company’s public and private actions.
Remember that core values are extremely marketable. If your are true to your founding principles, keep assuring the public and you will reap dividends. Everybody appreciates consistency. Be transparent and your will gain your audience’s trust. We do not have to look very far to see what happens when big, medium or small businesses lose touch with their core principles and beliefs - make sure you keep these at the heart of your operation!