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Cases | 21 April, 2020

Core Values in Business: Choosing your Core Values

When I was visiting a business in the fall of 2013 I was first introduced to their company core values.  As I stepped down hallways, opened doors, and sat at desks I noticed different values had been painted on the walls:

“Always tell the truth.”

“Keep it simple.”

“Do the right thing.”

“Never quit.”

Simple values, yes, but in times of uncertainty these core values helped team members in reaching crucial decisions.

What are Company Core Values?

Company core values are fundamental beliefs which your business and your team’s behaviours are based upon.  Once your core values are set they need to be firm and resolute.

Remember, these are the guiding principles your company will use to govern internal affairs and your relationship with clients.  Company core values should address everything from your most basic beliefs to dealing with clients on the front end.

Why are Company Core Values so Important?

Millennials are undeniably the fastest growing part of the talent pool.  Working for companies with core values, which align with their own personal values is top of mind for this generation.

Therefore, if you want to attract millennials your core values should be clear and ideally reflect some of their own values, including:

  • Purpose
  • Flexibility
  • Mentorship
  • Teamwork

A strong set of core values will provide your team with a tone for interacting with clients, innovating new products, and how to make pivotal decisions.

Who got their Company Core Values wrong?

Simply put, Netflix.

Remember, company’s should have 5 – 10 core values that are easy to remember, concise yet far reaching.

Instead, Netflix decided to create ten general values, and subsequently five points for each of them.  Instead of providing their team with core values they’ve built more of a criteria for their golden employee.

We all know, there’s no such thing as a perfect team member, and we’re all great examples of that.

Please take a skim through Netflix’s official core values below.  Afterwards we’ll provide an example of some clear company core values.

Netflix Inc. Core Values

Real Values

Many companies have value statements, but often these written values are vague and ignored. The real values of a firm are shown by who gets rewarded or let go. Below are our values, the specific behaviors and skills we care about most. The more these values sound like you, and describe people you want to work with, the more likely you will thrive at Netflix.

Judgment

  • You make wise decisions despite ambiguity
  • You identify root causes, and get beyond treating symptoms
  • You think strategically, and can articulate what you are, and are not, trying to do
  • You are good at using data to inform your intuition
  • You make decisions based on the long term, not near term

Communication

  • You are concise and articulate in speech and writing
  • You listen well and seek to understand before reacting
  • You maintain calm poise in stressful situations to draw out the clearest thinking
  • You adapt your communication style to work well with people from around the world who may not share your native language
  • You provide candid, helpful, timely feedback to colleagues

Curiosity

  • You learn rapidly and eagerly
  • You contribute effectively outside of your specialty
  • You make connections that others miss
  • You seek to understand our members around the world, and how we entertain them
  • You seek alternate perspectives

Courage

  • You say what you think, when it’s in the best interest of Netflix, even if it is uncomfortable
  • You make tough decisions without agonizing
  • You take smart risks and are open to possible failure
  • You question actions inconsistent with our values
  • You are able to be vulnerable, in search of truth

Passion

  • You inspire others with your thirst for excellence
  • You care intensely about our members and Netflix‘s success
  • You are tenacious and optimistic
  • You are quietly confident and openly humble

Selflessness

  • You seek what is best for Netflix, rather than what is best for yourself or your group
  • You are open-minded in search of great ideas
  • You make time to help colleagues
  • You share information openly and proactively

Innovation

  • You create new ideas that prove useful
  • You re-conceptualize issues to discover solutions to hard problems
  • You challenge prevailing assumptions, and suggest better approaches
  • You keep us nimble by minimizing complexity and finding time to simplify
  • You thrive on change

Inclusion

  • You collaborate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures
  • You nurture and embrace differing perspectives to make better decisions
  • You are curious about how our different backgrounds affect us at work, rather than pretending they don’t affect us
  • You recognize we all have biases, and work to grow past them
  • You intervene if someone else is being marginalized

Integrity

  • You are known for candor, authenticity, transparency, and being non-political
  • You only say things about fellow employees that you say to their face
  • You admit mistakes freely and openly
  • You treat people with respect regardless of their status or disagreement with you

Impact

  • You accomplish amazing amounts of important work
  • You demonstrate consistently strong performance so colleagues can rely upon you
  • You make your colleagues better
  • You focus on results over process

Do you see what I mean by a criteria for their golden employee?

Below we’ve provided an example of a company’s core values that we feel are modern yet timeless, concise yet far reaching.

Clear Core Values Example

  • Respect everyone.
  • Provide superior service.
  • Be honest.
  • Always on the offense.
  • Be your authentic self.
  • Build a better community.

Now we’ll provide how this business defines each of their values, although they’re all quite self explanatory, which is the point!

  1. Respect everyone.

Provide the same level of respect and dignity to the garbageman as you would to our biggest customer’s Chief Executive Officer.  We’re all equal, therefore, we treat everyone with equal respect.

  1. Provide superior service.

We’re in a hyper competitive field and economy.  Our clients choose us, because we’re a results driven firm that ensures their success.  Deliver every time or another company will.

  1. Be honest.

Honesty is necessary in our field, and in providing a level of respect to our colleagues and clients.  Tell people what they need to hear, so they have a chance at bettering themselves and their organization.

  1. Always on the offense.

The best form of defense is offense.  We’re always on the offense. Learning from our experiences, forecasting the future, and providing our clients with the best results in the industry.

  1. Be your authentic self.

We support individuality, freedom of thought, and healthy internal discussions.  By having a team of authentic individuals that respect one another we build an organization of peace and harmony.

  1. Build a better community.

We help companies do business better, by helping them differentiate themselves, and become not only more sustainable, but more profitable.  Build a better community by building better businesses.

Ok, for complete transparency the core values provided above are ours at Black Sheep Business Consulting Corp.

We’re proud of them and our organization, but we welcome your thoughts, or any questions you may have about your own.

Building Your Company Core Values

Your business is unique, or at least we hope it is.  Building your core values should be an enjoyable process that reflects what your company stands for internally and in your community.

Yes, research other reputable companies and understand what their values are all about.

At the end of the day create your own unique core values that provide your staff with assurance that their decisions represent your company’s beliefs and structure.

Kevin Foreman

President, Black Sheep Business Consulting

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