In our most recent podcast episode, Sarah Segal asked whether it's worth articulating core values. Do employees care? Do clients? Both Shawn Busse and Paul Downs said they do. What do you think? Do you have any questions or comments for Shawn, Paul, or Sarah? What’s worked—or not worked—for you? Please tell us here in comments.
Also, if you’d like to see Paul’s core-value statements, just let me know by replying to this email. And here are a few blog posts recommended by Shawn that offer some suggestions:
Here’s an overview about implementing core values. And here are some thoughts on how to write a mission statement.
The issue that I often see when I look at core value, is they either are not really core values or there is no clarifying statement around the value.
For example, if a core value is simplification and that's all you have, others will just make up what it means. If instead, you have simplification - taking the complicated and making it simple, then everyone will know what you're talking about.
The second issue I see is when people say their aspirational values are core values. For example, you might say a core value is you're a learning organization. If this is not true at least 95% of the time and you still say it's a core value, you'll be seen as a liar, both inside and outside your company. If it's an aspirational value, it's fine to have it as a value, but you must label the aspirational value, an aspirational value.
That's my two cents, and there is a lot more I've written about values over the years.
Having worked for several companies who have leveraged the concept of 'Core Values' to attempt to guide their overarching behaviors, I do find an interesting gap in the article put forth by Kinesis and Ms. Wittbrodt.
The article clearly states Core Values shouldn't be created in a silo, nor should Core Values be created by committee - both very valid and concepts with merit.
However, where this article fails to bring the concept to fruition is: WHO SHOULD be involved in writing such Core Values? Frankly, the article tells you how Kinesis has been writing them for "decades", but goes no further. So, is this just a sales pitch? Or, are we genuinely being told who should write our Core Values?
It is extremely easy to step back and provide commentary surrounding what shouldn't be done. It's a lot harder to step forward and provide a path towards execution. While the article does elaborate on what should be part of Core Values, it still misses the point on who should be writing them. I would say that would and should be the critical aspect of the creation of Core Values.
Perhaps we all just need to call Kinesis - apparently they are the only ones capable of writing Core Values for an organization.