“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” – Lewis Carroll
Core Values are the compass for our journey. All of us, as individuals, have beliefs that are intrinsically valuable to us. Some of us can articulate them well and some of us struggle to explain what is most dear to our heart. Still, whether we always know it or not, our core values are guiding us from within. Our core values help affirm us when we’re on the right path in life and we often can feel it in our gut when we’re heading a direction that is not aligned with our deepest values.
Our teams, organizations, families, clubs and businesses are no different. Some have clearly defined values that guide their everyday direction and some, however, are scattered and going many different directions depending on the day. As I’ve been fortunate to be a keynote speaker and leadership consultant for many organizations across the United States and around the globe, I have observed that the most effective and compelling team cultures are the ones with clearly defined core values. But, they aren’t just clever or cheesy posters on the wall, it is language that guides their focus and intentions every time they come together.
3 Characteristics You’ll Notice In Teams With Core Values That Matter
- Clear & Concise Language — As I often say to clients, “Language drives behavior.” If we are not all speaking the same language then we can’t be surprised when we’re not aligned and moving in the same direction. The most effective companies and organizations use clear language to communicate the mindset and heart that they want to be the foundation of their work. There is no confusion about HOW they aim to operate as an entity.
- The Posters Are In The People — The language is just the start of this critical journey as an organization or team. The most effective, successful and compelling groups are the ones that don’t just have nice posters on the walls, but you can actually see the language being lived out in real time. Their people are walking examples each day of what the core values look like in action. The core values have been directly linked to daily actions and behaviors.
- Development Is Not A Drive-Thru Experience — The best places understand that developing, strengthening, and deepening these core values within their culture is not a one time and done experience. It’s not even just a once a year annual meeting. They are committed to an ongoing process and series of experiences that engage the minds and hearts of their people and challenges them to grow. They provide sessions for all that revisit what the core values look like in action and how to help coach and practice them with those around them. The core values are tied to hiring, coaching, performance evaluations, goal-setting, and visioning for the future. They truly are the compass for their journey.
Does your team or organization have clear language? Is it tied directly to specific action and behavior? Are your posters in your people? Are you committed to ongoing development and focus?
Remember, if you’re not sure where you’re going, any road will get you there. Maybe it’s time to dust off the ole compass.
Jason Barger is a globally celebrated author, keynote speaker, and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.
Follow on Twitter @JasonVBarger and learn more at JasonVBarger.com