Core Values Determine Who You Attract and Keep

Core Values concept with young man holding a tablet computer.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

  1. Identify character traits we intend to share
  2. Be at the heart of every action and decision
  3. 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.

Driving Decisions

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.

Attracting People

Core Values attract the right people. This is image is a Closeup of magnet attracting paper candidates on wooden tableOne 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!

Do you have established (and written down) core values personally? What about your team? Your company? How do you make sure you attract the right people now?

Need help identifying your core values? Want to attract the right people? I can help. Contact me TODAY at psimkins(at) to schedule a free Discovery Strategy Session to find out how.

Core Values Build the Team

Building a successful and productive team or organization takes time. You build it one block at a time. You want team members to know their roles and understand the expectations for behavior and performance. Yet that’s the goal not the beginning. Start off with that and you are building a house of cards.
If a new building is to be structurally sound, the first thing they do is establish the foundation. The higher the building, the deeper the foundation. Skimp on the foundation and everything else is weak and at-risk. Disasters results.
So, too, does building an organization require a strong, solid foundation. Skip establishing the foundation and eventually everything collapses; either because of a lack of guidance or because of behaviors that tear down trust. You must have a strong foundation. You lay that foundation with core values.

What Are Core Values?

Core Values are the foundation for everythingCore Values are the characteristics and qualities an organization, a team, or an individual defines as being at the heart of what they are about and how they will conduct themselves. They are the principles that determine who you are and what you are about above all else. It is the soul of the organization. Your core values are unshakable – no matter what you will always reflect these values in everything you do.
Yet core values can also outline behaviors you expect with the members of an organization. For years, one of Google’s core values was “don’t be evil”. Infusionsoft, a popular sales and marketing software company, lists one of their core values as “We do the right thing”. For many other organizations, they are simply one or two word statements such as Integrity, Honesty, Communication, Employee focused.
[tweetthis]Your core values are unshakable – reflect them in everything you do.[/tweetthis]

Why Are Core Values So Critical?

Establish Non-Negotiables

Determining your core values make it clear to employees, to customers, and to yourself what you will never compromise. When you establish a core value of integrity you are saying that no matter what else happens you are trustworthy, dependable, have strong morals, and people can count on you to do what you say you will do. Core values say you would rather the company go under than violate them. If you are not willing to die for it, then it’s not a core value.

Foundation for Mission and Methods

Interestingly enough, I have found that when core values are in place first then writing those dreaded mission statements become easier. Determining the methods by which the team accomplishes its mission and goals becomes clearer. One leads to the other.

Outlines Expected Behaviors

As a result, when your values are set in stone and your mission and methods are established from that, it ends up describing the behaviors you expect everyone to exhibit. If honesty is expected and modeled, you tend to get honesty. If employee-focused is expected and modeled from the top it floods down to every department, every manager, and every team.

A Must-Have for Empowerment

For that reason, you cannot have real empowerment with having values in place. Or, more accurately, you cannot expect consistent performance in empowered employees without core values. If make a profit is emphasized but core values of honesty and integrity are not established, then the empowered employee feels free to do whatever they feel is necessary to make a profit, including cheating customers. Values create the guidelines within which empowered employees operate.

Attract the People 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.  Who you are is who you attract. By developing your core values, you proclaim for everyone who you are, what you stand for, and what is really important to you. As a result, you will attract people who share those values.

Start with the Core

Therefore, like a bodybuilder starts by developing their core to strengthen their whole body, you start with core values to strengthen the organization. You define qualities that are necessary for consistent and strong performance. You make clear the standards that are non-negotiable in everything the organization does.
In fact, they should be in front of everyone’s faces, displayed for the whole world to see. It holds employees accountable, it holds you accountable, and it sets expectations for customers.

Three Steps to Establish Core Values

  1. Brainstorm a list of values, qualities, and character traits you would want your organization to reflect at all times.  Write them all down. Don’t evaluate them, just write them down. If you already have a team in place, do this together. You may come up with a huge list and that’s okay.
  2. Now that you have the list, we can evaluate. Look at each item and first ask yourself, “Am I willing for the organization to die rather than violate this?” If the answer is no, it is not a core value. Strike it off. If you are honest with yourself on each one you should find your list pared down significantly when you are done.
  3. Next to each one, on a scale of one to 10 rate your organization on how well it is displaying those values. Rate yourself and ask each team member to rate themselves as well. That accomplishes one of two things: it helps identify areas that need work or it causes you to question how important that value really is to you.

Can you identify the core values of your organization easily? How well are they followed? How do you make sure you attract the right people now? Drop me a line at

If you are finding it difficult to establish your core values, contact me and let me help.