Do Your Company Values Do Anything For You?

I’ve seen a lot of companies with fairly generic values posted in conference rooms and other work spaces. You know, values such as “Fairness,” “Teamwork,” and “Honesty.” While those are certainly good values, they don’t really add value, and they are so commonplace that they should be the price of admission – anyone who doesn’t share those values should be escorted to the door.
Instead, you should be thinking of two kinds of values that differentiate your business from the competition, identify the key challenges of the business, and provide employees with clear behaviors. In short, values that will help attract and retain customers and further your business success.
The first is Core Values. These are the fundamental beliefs that guide the business. They play an important role in determining what the company does, what it invests in, and how it seizes opportunities. For example, here are Apple’s first two core values:

  • We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products, and
  • We believe in the simple, not the complex.

You get the idea.
The second kind of value is Operating Values. These are the values that guide and inform employee behavior at work especially around customers. Examples are these:

  • Wegmans cashiers ask, “Did you find everything you were looking for?”
  • Vanguard customer service people end every call with, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Operating values determine whether people walk fast, stay late, get excited about challenges, and practice continuous improvement on a daily basis. They also determine the opposite of those behaviors.
The benefit of replacing generic values with specific core values and operating values should be apparent. They focus and engage people on the right tasks and behaviors.
What kind of values do you have? Do they need to be changed?
Copyright 2017 Bob Legge
Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust. He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years. Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family.
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