Core Values Determine Who You Attract and Keep
Having identifiable core values are the essence of any person or any team. They are the solid foundation for determining your actions and your choices. Without knowing what our core values are, decisions become harder. With core values, choices and directions can become easier.
Roy Disney, the brother of Walt and the business mastermind, once said,
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
What Are Core Values
The best way to define core values is that they are the essence of what we believe about who we are and what we do. They are characteristics or traits we want to always exhibit.
True core values will
- Identify character traits we intend to share
- Be at the heart of every action and decision
- Be non-negotiable
Why Are Core Values So Important?
Here are two scenarios, both real and true, that pinpoint the importance of having solid core values.
I have been working with a non-profit ministry that provides programs within jails. They help prepare inmates to become productive citizens and family members once they return to the community. The gospel message is at the heart of the program and in all the curriculum.
Their program is so successful they are facing high demand for rapid growth. Other jails want the ministry to expand to their facility. The jails where they are now want them to do more.
It’s not all fun and games though. There have been suggestions that maybe they should tone down that religion stuff a bit. Maybe you should do this differently.
So they are facing challenges on multiple fronts. If they expand, the team in place will not be enough. They will have to place people at remote locations and empower them to make good decisions. How do they make sure those decisions are consistent with the essence of who they are and what they do?
The other challenge is with the toning down of the faith-based message. Do they make the change to placate these demands? Are they prepared to walk away instead? They could also miss out on some grants with the focus on the gospel message.
Identifying Their Core
To help them with these issues, we started by identifying what their core values are. It took time and there were some passionate discussions and deep looks at what they believed. In the end, they came up with five strong and clear core values that they are prepared to say are non-negotiable. No matter what, we will not sacrifice this.
By having core values identified and on paper, the immediate decisions become easier. They said no to changing their curriculum. They are willing to walk away if taking the gospel message out was a requirement.
In the future, empowered team leaders will be able to make better decisions because they have a yardstick to measure by. They know what the non-negotiables are.
One company I worked for I had a boss who didn’t fully trust me. Now, one of my core values is to always be trustworthy. As far as I know, I never did anything to indicate that I could not be trustworthy. Yet this boss was always suspecting I was going to betray them. Why? They were expecting me to act the way they would have acted in the same situation.
Because of that attitude they did in fact have several employees over time who betrayed their trust. One embezzled funds. Another stole clients and started their own business.
(Side note – why is it that people are not trustworthy will put their trust in others who are not trustworthy? It seems that people without solid values are more gullible than people with strong values.)
Become What You Want
In my mentor John C. Maxwell‘s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership he talks about the Law of Magnetism. This law states that who you attract is not based on what you want, it’s based on what you are. In other words, if you are looking for people of integrity and honesty, but your own integrity and honesty is not consistent, you will attract people of questionable integrity and honesty.
Who you are is who you attract. Even if we hire people with the right values, we won’t keep them if we don’t reflect those qualities.
Start with a Core
We start with core values. What qualities are necessary for consistent and strong performance.
So look around you. Are your people negative? Surly? Dishonest? It’s a hard truth but they didn’t get there on their own. There is an old saying – if you see a turtle on a fencepost you can bet he didn’t get there himself!