What’s wrong with your core values?

How do you decide when your content is authentic?

As an individual, the answer is usually pretty easy. Do you live your words?

When you’re writing for your business, organization or — even more tricky — for a client, it all comes back to your core values.

Core values should guide everything your organization does.  From staffing to operations, marketing to sales.

You’ve got to put some time into your core values. Think long and hard about what makes you tick, what you will uphold no matter what. What can you stand behind as a pillar of behavior and growth and material?

Most of the clients we work with have core values, but if I’m being honest, they’re usually not entirely useful and here’s why.

  1.  They’re too vague.   This is the #1 issue.  A high-level core value like “Clients first.” is great, but it needs further articulation.  How does that translate to making decisions in your company? In hiring new employees or building new processes?  A core value like “Clients first” needs to trickle down to even the most seemingly unrelated internal operations — and it can.
  2. They’re fluff.  A company that truly lives even vague core values is better than the company that publishes them then doesn’t use them at all (I’m looking at you, Uber).  Great core values should inform your culture, drive your processes, and be the balance against which everything thing you do is checked.
  3. No one knows they exist.  A lot of our clients publish their core values on their website as a way to share them with the world. But internally? No one knows they exist and they certainly don’t align their internal processes or decision making to them. Find ways to build values and alignment into everything you’re doing — how you run meetings, how you hire, how you reward — and you team will absorb them quickly, and be able to use them in their own decision-making on your behalf.

Once you establish strong core values that you truly live every day, authenticity and connection will follow.