As you plan your agenda for your next business planning session, I hope you have carved out some time to discuss core values. If you study any great company, one that produces exceptional performance, you will find culture is a key component to their success. Great culture does not happen by accident, and thus it is imperative that part of your business-planning process addresses how you will build and nourish your firm’s culture.

CULTURE = CORE VALUES

Core values are the rules that when practiced daily by your employees shape and define your culture. Core values help top companies become more successful than their competition. While planning for our next quarterly meeting today, a CEO shared with me that out of all of the things he’d learned from me over the years, the most important lesson was “discovering, reinforcing, and building his team around core values.” It has helped significantly reduce a lot of the leadership team problems he used to have, reduced the amount of time he needs to manage the business, and he directly attributes increased business performance to rejecting people that did not fit his core values.

Core Values On Your Business Plan Agenda

Depending on your current business issues, you will need to tackle core values at your next quarterly or annual business planning meeting differently. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you do not have clearly defined company core values, you will want to answer the question, “What are my core values?”
  • If it appears that there is inconsistency in the rules that people play by, and you are regularly frustrated by the lack of adherence to the rules you want them to follow, then you will want to answer the question “How do I do a better job of making sure everyone lives my core values?”
  • If you do not have a formal system of measuring performance around core values, you will want to answer the question, “How consistently is everyone living the core values?”
  • If you find there is a core value that is often bypassed, you will want to create a theme to reinforce that core value?

It Takes Discipline To Create A Culture

You must instill your core values in everything you do, every day, and in every way. The number one reason core values do not get ingrained in many businesses is that most senior executives do not live them. If the top three executives (e.g. CEO, COO, and CFO) are not role models, you may expect that the rest of their employees will not consistently exhibit the company’s stated core values.

Once you have developed your values, execution through spaced repetition and consistency is imperative. This is the most difficult and important part of forming your culture. Everything we have learned in life we have learned through spaced repetition. Using your business planning meetings as a platform for ideas, an organization must develop a system for all employees to regularly hear, see, and act the core values.

The One Page Strategic Plan created by Verne Harnish includes a section for core values and how to live them each quarter. We can help you design your business-planning processes, and the Four Decisions Process can help. Contact us for a free consultation to learn how Business Coaching can help your organization, or check out the testimonials page for stories from other leaders we have coached.

Business Coach, Business Coaching, Business Plan, Business Planning, Culture, Leadership

About Howard M. Shore

Howard M. Shore is a Certified Gazelles Coach, Certified Public Accountant Certified Executive Coach, Certified Behavioral Analyst, Certified Values Analyst, and Certified Attributes Index Analyst. He has earned Bachelor and MBA degrees from Florida International University, and completed advanced executive programs at Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago.