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Core Values Matter!

In the best selling business book “Built to Last” Author Jim Collin’s research found that having core values is essential to enduring business greatness.  Additionally, he found that “It didn’t seem to matter what those core values are.  The point is not what core values you have, but that you have core values at all, that you know what they are, that you build them explicitly into the organization, and that you preserve them over time.”  Given that I have never seen core values that had less than positive aspirations, I think the key here is that core values must be developed, lived and driven into the behavior, actions and decisions of everyday work life.  If they are not, they are most likely shelf-ware and have no impact.

In a service organization, core values have multiple dimensions:

  1. They identify what is important to the organization.
  2. They identify the rules of engagement or the behavior by which people are expected to work to together to carry out their various roles and assignments.

One direct way to build core values into the system is to measure an individual’s collective actions annually.  This is accomplished through an annual 360 assessment that measures the core values through the perceptual lens of ones leaders, peers and staff.  These groups will tell you if the person has both accepted the core values and models their actions and behavior around those core values.  Most people want to improve and having the ability to understand how they are impacting others and how other perceive their interactions is critical to being able to recalibrate and improve.

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