Core Values Come from the Heart of the Organization

Feb 12

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2/12/2016  RssIcon

The Latin word for heart is “cor.”

The Italian word for heart is “cuore.”
The French word for heart is “coeur.”
The Spanish word for heart is corazón,” 

Are you beginning to understand where the English word “Core” comes from and how it relates to your values? 

I laugh (instead of cry) when I hear about a company owner who gets his team together and says “Ok, this meeting is about creating our core values. Let’s decide what they are and then work towards living them.” 

First off, you can’t invent your company’s core values at a meeting. They are already inherently intertwined in the DNA of your organization. You can’t decide to have integrity and then strive to make it happen. Just like you can’t be a little pregnant (you either are, or you aren’t), you either have integrity or you don’t. In my experience, it’s always best to get with your team and start discussions that pull out the innate core values that already exist in the organization. 

When we identified our core values at Next Step, we pretended our company was a person. We named this person “Fred.” We then attempted to describe Fred. What was he like? What were his characteristics, his values, his personality? After an hour, we had more than 40 words and phrases listed — too many to have a focused “core,” so we strove to pinpoint the ones that truly resonated. We eventually pared them down to four core values. 

They are:
We aim to WOW!
We’re accountable
We do whatever it takes
We’re helpful 

Everything we do goes back to these four core values. They’re naturally ingrained in our DNA. It’s also the type of employees, customers and vendors that we attract. 

One could say that the core values stem from the leader of the organization. There’s certainly some truth in this. Just like the Sicilian phrase states “A fish rots from the head down,” the opposite also rings true. But it can only start with the leader. 

The core values only come alive when the entire organization is in sync with its core values and living them every day.

Copyright ©2016 | David Mammano

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