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Lesson 1 – Core Values

By the end of this lesson my goal is to help you establish an initial set of core values and by the end of this course we’ll have core values in full effect in your business.

By the end of this lesson my goal is to help you establish an initial set of core values and by the end of this course we’ll have core values in full effect in your business.

What are Core Values?

Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. They are 3 to 5 defining principles used to align everyone in the business. Using core values you’re able to define the right way employees should act in your company which will ultimately lead to the company’s success. 

When establishing core values the hard part I found was getting started … luckily I was introduced to the perfect exercise.

How to Get Started

I had the opportunity to take a core value workshop with a great coach. This is the same simple approach I learned. 

  1. Get started by taking the Strengths Finders assessment. You only need the top 5 strengths assessment:

This is a $20 assessment well worth the value to establish your core values. I’m not associated with Strength’s Finders. I just believe in this method.

After taking the assessment you’ll receive your top 5 strength categories with descriptions, here are mine:

  • Deliberative
  • Competition
  • Intellection
  • Achiever
  • Activator

The assessment results will provide you with a detailed description of each strength. At this point you want to carefully read the descriptions and highlight your assessment, highlighting the areas that don’t really apply to you or sound like you.

  1. Highlight the areas of your assessment that DO NOT apply.
  2. Reading back over the areas that do apply we want to discover the essence of each strength. When reading my Deliberative Strength description the essence felt like High Performance.

Here is my final strengths list with the essence I discovered next to each strength: 

[Strength – Essence]

  • Deliberative – High Performance
  • Competition – Winners Keep Score
  • Intellection – Deep Work
  • Achiever – Be Relentless
  • Activator – Take Action

The result we have now is a starting set of Personal core values which align to my own principles. I could hire and operate using these values but I don’t necessarily want all my employees to be exactly like me. 

The next step is to take this personal set of core values and begin to build on top of them to create your final company values.

Discovering Your Non-Negotiables

What helped me shape my values for the company was really thinking about what the company can’t survive without. Start this exercise by thinking deeply about what principles could have prevented things from going wrong.

Using your past experiences you’ll find everything you need to complete your company core values. The following questions will help you reflect on what principles may be missing from your operation.

Reflecting on where things have gone wrong:

  • Our company has gone wrong with customers when? (Reflect on specific stories that have stuck with you the most.)
    • Where have you or the company gone wrong with customers? 
    • Where have you or the company gone wrong with past hires?
    • Our company has had to let go of past employees in the past because? We can prevent this hiring based on which core value?
    • Our company has had to let go of past employees who displayed these values which did not align with us. We can prevent this hiring based on which core value?

Through answering these questions you may have determined a few more non-negotiables regarding principles in your business. The problem we face now is finalizing the set of principles for the business. How do we know which principles to keep and which one to let go of?

Let’s put this list of principles to the test.

Core Values in Your Operating Manual

To really know if these core values are the right ones we need to define what these core values look like in the workplace. These descriptions serve your employee by showing how ownership sees this principle enacted in the company.

Take each core value now and come up with the strongest scenarios requiring this core value and how it should show up.

Let’s take the core value Integrity. Integrity is a very open ended core value and can mean a lot of different things. Because of this we should define what it looks like in our company.

Core Value: Integrity in the Workplace:

  • When we keep our word to ourselves and stay accountable to deadlines.
    • Scenario 1: During a level 10 meeting if your deadline is behind be proactive to engage the team regarding required help or to remove roadblocks
    • Scenario 2
    • Scenario 3
  • When we keep our word to others and stay accountable to deadlines.
  • Scenario 1
  • Scenario 2
  • Scenario 3
  • When we’re early, not on time.
    • Scenario 1
    • Scenario 2
    • Scenario 3
  • When Integrity is whole and complete we bring up issues on our mind and work through them instead of keeping them to ourselves.
    • Scenario 1
    • Scenario 2
    • Scenario 3

It’s important this information exists in your customer manual so you can standardize the core values and communicate how they should show up in your company.

Process of Elimination

At this point you may have 10 or more values thoroughly described with scenarios. It’s time to get your list down to the top 5 values.

It might be obvious to you which values have legs to stand on.

Based on the scenarios which ones are you 100% hiring and fire based on? This can also help determine which values have more direct measurables behind them. 

If a value appears uncertain or unclear whether or not it drives impact or if it can be measured in the workplace, then you most likely need to drop it, swap it out and become more clear.

Go for Clarity

This whole process of core values is to provide clarity to your entire team regarding who is the right fit for our team. If we follow these principles then the resulting high performance team will be certain.

TIP: Using an acronym for core values will help customers and employees remember and recall the values easily.

GorillaDesk Core Values: T.I.G.E.R Tinker, Integrity, Growth, Empathy, Remarkable

Can core values change?

The important thing with all our exercises is to get to version 1. Try your best to get together an initial set of values you feel confident in. These can change and be swapped out in the future. Don’t become attached to getting this perfect. Core values are refined over time through our experience.


Ready to get started?

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