We hear a lot about core values, but have you ever stopped to consider why they actually matter for any given context? Core values are not just a list of words or series of phrases that we consider worthwhile: they are the very foundation of how we choose to live our lives. Our core values form the heart of what we believe matters most in this world. They represent what we stand for, determine how we develop our culture and our families, and give us a code of conduct for every situation.
“Core values are not descriptions of the work we do or the strategies we employ to accomplish our mission. The values underlie our work, how we interact with each other, and which strategies we employ to fulfill our mission. The core values are the basic elements of how we go about our work. They are the practices we use (or should be using) every day in everything we do.” — NPS
Partnership. Generosity. Responsiveness. Integrity. Growth. Flexibility. These are the core values of the Weaving Influence team. They represent our expectations for how current and future team members will interact and engage, both with each other and with our clients. It took almost a year of meetings and discussion to focus in on these six words for describing the values that epitomized how we want to be viewed in the world, but they have been at the core of our work since the beginning.
In an era where doing what makes you happy is paramount, the idea of core values may seem a little outdated. And yet we believe that the best way to serve a diverse group of clients and customers is by holding to these six, long-standing values, and using them as the basis for all of our interactions.
While the world appears to become more divided on a daily basis and news headlines cause us to shake our heads over our morning coffee, some values still stand the test of time. Think of the timeless words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal . . .”
A value: all men are created equal. Certainly there have been times in our history — and even in the present day — when this has not been agreed upon by certain factions throughout the world, but isn’t equality at the heart of most movements? This is a value that we can agree upon, even when we may disagree on specifics.
Core values to run a business, and core values to build a country, but what about core values on a personal level? In an ongoing discussion amongst the Weaving Influence team, we’ve been sharing some of our personal core values. Some of us had to stop and think about what values consciously — or unconsciously — governed our lives, while others hang framed copies of their core values on the walls of their homes.
One common value we shared was the value of people: putting family first, practicing empathy, showing respect, being kind. Others values include everything from spiritual faith, to personal independence, serving others, and even maintaining good health.
Those core values are what make us unique and distinct — personally, corporately, and nationally. They determine how we behave, how we spend our resources, how we treat other people, and how we prioritize and plan our goals for the future. They inspire and motivate us in ways other values do not.
If you want to make a difference in the world, it may start with something as basic as recognizing what you value and how it impacts not only your life, but the lives of those around you.
When we are generous at work, we may find ourselves becoming generous outside of work. When we are expected to meet a company value of integrity in all that we do, it’s inevitable that we begin to practice integrity elsewhere. If we value partnership with our clients, we may very well start to view our personal relationships in a different light, too.
When we place a high value on respect and kindness, that will be displayed throughout all our interactions — coworker, client, family, friend, or stranger. When we consider people one of the most important things, we will prioritize building strong relationships no matter where life’s road may take us.
Everyone values something. Just make sure that what you value positively affects more than just you.
Tell me something! Why do core values matter to you?
Carrie Koens joined the Weaving Influence team in May 2012 and has held a number of roles, including three years as the Book Launch Director (a title she stepped away from in June 2016 in order to focus on the needs of her growing family), and she currently serves the team as a Writer and Consultant. An INTJ with a penchant for culture, book stores, Parisian cafés, Indian curry, British mystery shows, and her passport, you can find her on Twitter @CGKoens.