Leaders and employees demonstrate the core values of a company. Most often, those lived values have no resemblance to the published values painted on office walls. Business core values may attract or drive customers away. For this reason, leaders need to evangelize the practice of their core values.
Many leaders believe that all they need to do is preach their core values repeatedly, and the desired culture will magically emerge. That’s the only tool they have. They don’t do anything to convert those values into action. Culture-shaping takes considerable effort.
What are core values?
I help organizations identify, define, and rank core values. Some companies take it easy. They get some values from a list of 400.
But some values get picked more often. Values like trust, integrity, excellence, and service are low-hanging fruits. So, it is not unusual to find organizations with contrasting cultures with the same values.
There is no one ideal right culture. The question is whether your culture is the right fit for your organization’s success.
To determine the right fit:
- Begin by identifying the values that matter to your organization’s success.
- Develop a plan to define how people behave based on core values.
- Engage your people to adopt those behaviors and live those values every day.
- Communicate your values through values statements.
I created this guide to help you make the first step.
List of Values
Creating a list of values is relatively easy. A dictionary can help us list a thousand. Steve Pavlina listed more than 400 of these values. James Clear selected over 50 personal values. You can go to any of these experts for a list of values.
I share my own list of values with my clients when they conduct strategic planning, culture-shaping (or culture change), and team building. They found it easier to define the terms as most values seemed to be significantly related.
I start with simple definitions, then expand the meaning by incorporating principles and behaviors.
If you are serious about creating or examining your organization’s core values, the following list may help you. Click each title if you want to get the definitions and some more stuff.
Examples of Inspiring Core Values
Google is a big company. They can use one-word values, and that would be okay for most people. But Google chose to declare its philosophy.
What I love most about these core values is that I clearly understand each. I completely agree that each is true.
A core value is not just an agreement. It is a commitment. You’ve got to believe each value to practice it.
Google explained each of the core values by providing situations and specific examples. There is no mystery to the kind of culture they are building.
Read Google’s Core Values.
Ten things we know to be true
We first wrote these “10 things” when Google was just a few years old. From time to time we revisit this list to see if it still holds true. We hope it does—and you can hold us to that.
- Focus on the user and all else will follow.
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
- Fast is better than slow.
- Democracy on the web works.
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
- You can make money without doing evil.
- There’s always more information out there.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
- You can be serious without a suit.
- Great just isn’t good enough.
We back our customers
by providing exceptional products,services, and experiences every day.
We win as a team
by working together.
We embrace diversity
by acknowledging that different perspectives are needed to fuel creativity and innovation.
We make it great
by delivering an unparalleled standard of excellence in everything we do.
We support our communities
by backing and promoting small businesses.
We do what’s right
by delivering customer-first service that’s reliable, consistent, and with the highest level of integrity.
We respect people
by letting others be and feel heard.
We stand for inclusion
by fostering a welcoming and inclusive culture.
In their website, Meralco published their core values and principles. Your can find their core values below and their vision, mission, and principles here.
Meralco explained each of the seven core values. They want all their stakeholders to understand how they intend to work and what each can expect from them.
You build your culture by practicing your aspirational values. It helps if you will take time to be concise, clear, and compelling.
Meralco believes that their customers are their reason for being. They are passionate about knowing and understanding their customers, responding to their needs, and ensuring total customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Meralco strives to create and enhance value for all their stakeholders (customers, employees, investors, and communities they serve). They proactively seek and implement opportunities that drive and sustain higher levels of organizational performance and growth, cost-effectiveness and efficient delivery of services. Organizational agility, a sense of urgency and creativity are key to achieving these.
Accountability / Empowerment
Meralco employees accept responsibility, assume ownership and take full accountability for all their actions, in their decisions or behaviors in the delivery of services and management of resources, in their public and private spheres, regardless of their level in the organization.
Integrity / Transparency
Meralco is faithful to all responsibilities and obligations as employees of a power and energy company; behaving at all times in accordance with ethical and corporate governance standards.
Teamwork / Collegiality
Meralco upholds harmonious collaboration, synergy and motivation among their people at all levels and across all activities; moving with a greater sense of purpose and sharing responsibility for the Company’s success towards “One Meralco”.
Meralco’s employees identify themselves with the company; giving total dedication and commitment to it, exemplified by performing their very best in every endeavor; with great concern for the company, its resources and its stakeholders: customers, employees, investors and the communities they serve.
The company is committed to making a positive impact in the lives of the Filipino people by undertaking high-impact initiatives that support and contribute to the economic and social development of the country.
St. Luke’s Medical Center
Core values communicate the intention of the organization. Notice that St. Luke’s core values are translated into principles. All of the core values serve the interest of their customers.
Integrity and Professionalism
We always do what is professional, ethical and right.
We strive consistently exceed the highest standards of quality in the everything that we do.
We always seek opportunities to continuously improve work to maintain the highest standard of patient care and service delivery.
Passion for Excellence
We strive consistently to exceed the highest standards of quality in everything that we do.
We always work as a team to ensure the delivery of the best possible healthcare experience to our patients and their families.
We live up to our commitment in extending our healthcare expertise in social service, community health and environment safety.
Examples of Corporate Values (Public Sector)
Department of Education
And here’s the DepEd Vision:
We dream of Filipinos who passionately love their country and whose values and competencies enable them to realize their full potential and contribute meaningfully to building the nation.
As a learner-centered public institution, the Department of Education continuously improves itself to better serve its stakeholders.
Department of Social Welfare and Development
Maagap at Mapagkalingang Serbisyo
Serbisyong Walang Puwang sa Katiwalian
Patas na Pagtrato sa Komunidad
Philippine National Police
Bureau of Internal Revenue
The values of the BIR speaks volumes about their aspirational values. I believe they are in the process of great culture change.
It would have been better if the BIR explains how each of these core values is practiced by each employee. Any organization, in whichever industry, that will truly practice these values will get my utmost respect.
Here are the core values of the BIR:
Quotes About Values
Quotes often contain truths in capsules. These are wisdom gained through experiences. So, I usually look for quotes that may help my readers.
Some quotes I agree and some I don’t. But my disagreement does not make a quote less valid.
Read these quotes and think about the truths they share.
“Values aren’t buses… They’re not supposed to get you anywhere. They’re supposed to define who you are.”
― Jennifer Crusie
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
“Tell me what you pay attention to, and I will tell you who you are.”
― José Ortega y Gasset
“Your time is way too valuable to be wasting on people that can’t accept who you are.”
― Turcois Ominek
“A highly developed values system is like a compass. It serves as a guide to point you in the right direction when you are lost.”
― Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability
“Before you call yourself a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or any other theology, learn to be human first.”
― Shannon L. Alder
“Don’t let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth – don’t let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency.”