Core Values are Everything

One of the buzzwords swarming around business over the last decade has been company culture and values. Why are they so important? What will be accomplished if we define our cultural values? Cultural values are the core principles and ideals upon which an entire community exists. In other words, they guide and define our behaviors as a group and this is helpful in both business and at home.

Let’s start with how many values we should actually have as our core values. I have found that the magic number is 3. There are many reasons that 3 is so powerful but in the interest of time and brevity, we can easily remember and repeat 3 core values. For years my company had 6 and when asked, I could remember 5 but never 6. Then we made the bright idea of adding a 7th value and when asked, I could remember 5 and when pressed could dig up a 6th. I was one of the people that helped recognize the core values yet couldn’t recite them myself.

Repetition and ease of recollection with your employees and family members is vital to adhering to your core values. So, we shortened it to 3 values and now everyone is extremely clear on what they are and can recite immediately. The reason this is important is when someone acts outside of the core value, it is easy to let them know that their actions are not in alignment with the values that you have agreed upon. As a parent or employer this takes the emotion out of disciplining as you can quickly point to one of the values they have violated.

Arguably even more important than discipline within your own team is it helps you recognize who you bring into your tribe. If your core values are Integrity, Discipline and Fun. When you meet someone that has integrity, is disciplined but extremely serious all of the time, more than likely this person will not be someone you would invite into your circle. It won’t make sense for them or for you as having fun is part of who you are and vice versa they won’t understand why you can’t take anything seriously.

Take the time with your family or employees to recognize what your core values are. It usually requires a couple days of brainstorming and refining as getting it down to just 3 can be difficult. Once you have your 3 core values, make a habit of reciting what they are and take it a step further and make a poster for everyone to see what you stand for. The picture below is an example of our family core values and some of the ways we exemplify them.


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JM Ryerson founded and sold 3 businesses and is now helping leadership teams do the same. He is an Author, Leadership & Performance Coach, International Speaker, and host of the Let’s Go Win podcast who has been building companies and leading sales teams for over 20 years. JM is the co-founder and CEO of Let’s Go Win whose mission is to increase leadership, enhance culture, and help teams achieve peak performance. JM’s great passions are inspiring people to live their best lives and become open to what life has in store for them. His ultimate goal is to give others the tools that will allow them to transcend their self-limiting beliefs. JM was raised in Montana and lives in Boca Raton, Florida with his wife Lisa and their two amazing boys.