Whether in a family or in a workplace, core values are a key part of a culture. They provide the confines for acceptable behavior.
These values communicate to everyone what is important to the leaders in place. In fact, organizations with intact core values perpetuate the heart of the leader without the leader even being present.
But how do they get in place to begin with? And how are they perpetuated?
At the risk of making this process seem overly simplified, here is a three-step process for cultivating core values in the home or on the job.
1. Isolate your core values.
Understand what is really important to you as the leader, whether in your family or your workplace. What do you want your home or office to feel like?
What do you want to stand out in that environment? More importantly, what behaviors do you want to have in place, even if you are personally not present?
Encapsulate in a word or phrase each attribute you want inculcated in your home or work environment. Develop a list of the words or phrases, and give each a short definition or explanation.
2. Explain your core values.
Explain to your family or your employees what your core values are. Be clear about your expectations with them.
Tell them why you came up with this list and what each word or phrase means. Explain to them what each value looks like in action.
It’s helpful to post them prominently so everyone can reference them. It will take some time for everyone to get used to the stated expectations.
3. Live your core values.
More important than isolating or explaining your core values is living them out—on a daily basis.
As the leader, you need to live these all the time. If you break your own rules, you will be caught by the Hypocrisy Police. And then they will mean nothing to anyone else.
If others go afoul of the core values, then you gently need to explain why this behavior is not acceptable. If an employee doesn’t seem to want to live by your values, then they be happier working somewhere else.
Your home or workplace will eventually look like what you as the leader celebrate, permit, teach, and model. You cannot delegate this responsibility to your wife or to your HR department. This is your responsibility as the leader.
You are already exhibiting core values right now. You just may not be aware that you are. In fact, they may not be what you want to exhibit.
But by intentionally living out your stated core values day after day, they will become part of your culture over time.
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