5 Signs Your Core Values Are Rotten to the Core

    1. If the only way to divine a company’s core values is to read them on their website, then their core values aren’t core values, they’re marketing hooey.
    2. When you say core values and their eyes roll, then you don’t have core values, you have delusions.
    3. When revenue at all costs is your mantra and integrity is a core value, then up is down and black is white.
    4. If you have 10 core values, then you don’t have core values, you have a shopping list.
    5. If your core values change annually, then you don’t have core values, you have a core du jour.

Core values don’t have value if they are simply empty words.  To be a core value a value must be at the company’s very core…its very essence.

You don’t have to work for Apple, or read their core value statement, to know, “We believe that we’re on the face of the earth to make great products” is a priority.  Nowhere in Nordstrom’s corporate literature is there a statement that superior customer service is a core value, but if you’ve shopped at Nordstrom, you know that customer service is a core part of their values.

In these days where companies no longer control their brand, core values are more important than ever. Social media has given the consumer a voice, and today product management trumps public relations.  If your product sucks, you can’t press release yourself out of the dung- you have to manage your product out of it, and your core values define your product, service and customer experience.

Core values are your culture, marketing, and all that is you.

So what are your core values?  Ask yourself this: If I asked my customers what my core values are, what would I want them to say? What would they actually say?  If there’s a mismatch, then you have work to do.

Don’t let this issue just sit there, ignored.  Get to work, and figure it out.  Write down your values. Develop a list of no more than 5 and no less than 3.  Then use those core values as a lens to evaluate all that you do.  Ask yourself if your employees embody your values.

Hire with an eye towards your core values.  Review and reward your employee performance based on their embodiment of your core values.  Live and breath your core values, and use that core to create an intentional culture that builds a sustainable healthy company that won’t rot from the core.