Beyond Words – Living Your Core Values

Core values serve as the North Star for your company and are key to the success of all employees.  They are the rules of the game, HOW things are accomplished within your company.

Your company’s values define who you are as an organization and how you treat your clients and each other.  They are expressed in the way people work together, share information, assign work, and complete it.

Once your core values are defined, they can take hold and spread quickly. Imagine what happens when you put a few drops of red food coloring into a clear pitcher of water. You see it take hold, spread, and eventually change the water’s chemistry into a consistent blend of color.

When you infuse core values into your business and live them out each day, you will see them take hold and spread in the same way.

Here’s how you can do that:

  • Live your core values daily.

As a leader, you help define the culture of your company, good or bad, and you impact the culture to improve employee engagement more than you think you do. Being intentional in your actions and living by your core values is important because others are paying attention and watching you.  When you live by your core values, they begin to emulate your behavior as well.

  • Share your core values with clients, job candidates and co-workers.

Talk about them often.  Letting people know how things are accomplished at your company sets the stage for expectations.  If you value responsiveness, then clients will understand why you reply quickly to their needs and know they can count on your timeliness.

  • Recognize people who live them.

If one of your core values is collaboration, every employee should give high fives and shout-outs to coworkers when they collaborate well on something. “Thank you for your collaboration” should be heard often.

  • Don’t tolerate those who don’t.

These core values will serve as the rules of the game for doing business there. Behaviors that align with your core values should lead to winning, and those that are in opposition to these values just should not be tolerated there. If you say you value integrity, but you allow an employee to behave in a way that lacks integrity… then you don’t really value integrity.

  • And only hire those who share your core values as they will help strengthen your culture.

When you pay attention to your culture and become more intentional about creating the culture you want to have, you’ll discover that the only way this all works is if you hire the right people.  A company that values innovation and risk-taking will need to hire a very different kind of person than a company that values consistency and stability. Every person you hire will either add to or detract from your culture.


Roy Disney once said, “It is not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” 

From making hiring decisions to determining how to handle difficult situations, your company core values can guide many decisions, but only if they’re practiced and followed.

Companies that recognize the power in establishing authentic values and bringing them to life make sure their values are more than words on a wall. Ensure your core values go beyond words but are actions that are alive within the walls of your company every single day.

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Deborah Fulghum is a Senior Talent Analyst and Culture Coach at The Center For Sales Strategy. She helps companies identify top talent, develop natural strengths and coach teams to utilize their talents for success.

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