How to Write a Values Statement
In this 4-minute video, we will show you how to write core values. Core values answer the question, “How will we behave in the context of the strategic planning process?” Core values are one of the major parts of creating a strategic plan.
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“Hi. I’m Erica Olsen with OnStrategy. Today’s whiteboard video is on core values. Core values answer the question, “How will we behave in the context of the strategic planning process?” You often hear, “Hey, we’re gonna work on mission, vision, values.” So we made this whiteboard video to help that piece of your strategic planning process. But before we go too far, I just kind of wanna call out a really important point, and that is just because we say mission, vision, values doesn’t mean you need to define your core values as part of your strategic planning process. If you don’t have them, and you’re starting from scratch, I would highly recommend that you take values and you put them into a dedicated process and work on that by itself. And a really great process that we love is from “Change the Culture, Change the Game.” Check it out. It’s awesome. If you’re gonna do a dedicated process to build out your core values, use this book. If you have a set of values and you just wanna refresh them, then absolutely include them in your planning process.
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So with that, let’s talk about what makes up a good core value, the components of it, how you know you did it right, and how you put it to use. So here is our anatomy of a core value. We love labels. Before the colon, a value as a noun, in this case, respect and authenticity. Awesome. We start with a verb in present tense, we believe in. The value, connecting to the heart of the matter, something that, again, isn’t like everybody could replace it here, but just something that’s a little unique to you and your organization, connecting to the heart of the matter. And the behavior you expect, in this case, by listening respectfully and acting authentically. The most important part of core values is this piece, what is the behavior that’s expected? We are saying that this is how we’re expecting everybody in the organization to behave. So that’s a great core value. We believe in connecting to the heart of the matter by listening respectfully and acting authentically.
Ideally, you would have maybe five to seven core values, maybe less, maybe three. Something people can remember, yes, Zappos has like 12. That’s good for them, but we recommend less. Another thing, when you’re thinking about, “Did we get it right?” They should be your non-negotiables, meaning absolutely everybody should behave this way in your organization. You would stand by them no matter what happens. No matter what, no matter what. And as I said before, the behavior is clear. Awesome.
So now that you have your core values, or you’ve refreshed them, and just a consideration, if you are refreshing them, consider putting them in a survey in the first phase of your planning process to get feedback on people’s perspective on what does it look like when we are behaving with this core value? Great question. How do we put it to use? Publish them. Of course, right? Maybe posters, maybe on your intranet, maybe at the bottom of your sig block, depending upon where you want to see them. Importantly reinforcing them. I like to reinforce them at the beginning of every staff meeting. Maybe pick one. Maybe call out where you saw a value and practice the week before. Super powerful.
And then last but not least, and this is from “Change the Culture, Change the Game,” establish intentional experiences that reinforce a core value. So experiences in your organization that reinforce, in this case, respect and authenticity. So with that, that’s a quick overview of core values. You know how to get it right and construct ones that are really gonna make a difference in your organization. Don’t forget, Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” And he’s right. So this matters tremendously. Make sure you pick the right part of the process to build out yours. With that, thanks for tuning in. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Download the whitepaper for more information on core values. Happy strategizing.”