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What Does Your Company Stand For?

The Importance of Establishing Core Values for Your Organization

Erica LaCentra headshot
Erica LaCentra
Core Values

If someone asked you what principles does your company operate under, would you be able to answer easily? How about if they asked your employees or colleagues? Would they have the same response? If you are struggling to answer this question or if you and your colleagues’ answers just aren’t matching up, it’s probably time that your organization developed and implemented core values.

What Are Core Values & Why Do They Matter?

According to, core values are defined as “the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization” ( Companies typically create core values either when they are founded or as they start to grow to ensure there is some sort of guide for how the organization should be operating, what common goals they should be working toward, and what sets them apart from competitors.

Core values may need to be tweaked or adjusted over time as a company continues to grow. Having them from the early stages of your company ensures that your entire organization is working and operating under a shared vision. From how your company makes decisions, to how you treat clients, to the types of individuals you look to hire, and so much more, core values dictate how your organization functions long term. If you do not define and own your company’s core values, your company’s values may be assumed or evolve on their own, which may be to the detriment of the organization. In this case, you run the risk of your organization becoming fragmented with employees having different ideas of what does and doesn’t matter, which can lead to employee dissatisfaction and your overall brand suffering.

How to Define Core Values

So, knowing that core values are important to the future of your business, if you haven’t defined them yet, it can be a somewhat daunting undertaking. However, don’t overthink the process, it doesn’t have to be complicated. First, pick someone to lead the effort. This individual will oversee and guide this process and keep things on track. They will need to get input from employees and the executive team, and, most importantly, articulate every step of the way why this effort is happening and why it’s important to your organization.

From there, your point person should assemble a team of key individuals from your organization, founders, executives, and long-time employees who understand the general vision of the business and future plans of your organization. This group will be critical to helping sort through ideas and ultimately choose your company’s core values.

Once your team is assembled, have them identify what they believe are the company’s values, or what values they feel the organization currently embodies. Ask this team pointed questions such as “where are the organization’s strengths?”, “what behaviors or traits do employees display that improve the organization?”, “what differentiates us from competitors?”, and “what would our customers say distinguishes us as a company?” Asking questions like these will stop your team from throwing out vague buzzwords and allow for the creation of more well-defined core values that will truly be unique to your organization.

Once you have a general list from your team, it’s just a matter of condensing that information and refining it until you have your final list of core values. While there is no perfect number, keep in mind that you want your core values to be simple to understand and easy to remember. Keep your core values short and sweet, preferably under 10 words per value, because in this instance less is usually more. While you may not get complete consensus from your team, having most of the team agree on your values should be considered a success. Any values that are more widely contested can be left off your final list or even revisited at a later date.

You will want to take stock of our core values at key junctures of your business, such as expansion, to ensure they still align with your business. So whomever is leading the effort to create your core values should be sure to keep notes throughout the process to make any revisions in the future easier. But once you have a strong list of agreed-upon values, you can consider your efforts a success, and then it’s just a matter of incorporating them into your company.

Live Your Core Values

Defining your company’s core values is not the end of the process. In fact, what comes next is arguably more important than selecting them in the first place. These core values need to be embedded in the company to ensure they succeed. Weave them into your corporate culture. Make sure your employees not only know what your core values are but how they can embody them within your organization every day. Display them, create initiatives and rewards around them, and get creative. Your employees should be reminded of your core values every day. When done properly, employees should feel more connected with your organization because they will know what is expected from them as employees. This leads to everyone being on the same page, working toward the mission your company is trying to accomplish, and strengthening your company as a whole for long-term success.

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine February 2023 issue.
Erica LaCentra headshot
Erica LaCentra

Erica LaCentra is Chief Marketing Officer for RCN Capital.

Published on
Jan 30, 2023
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