The 3D’s of Core Values

core values

The 3D’s of Core Values: Discover, Demonstrate and Defend

Most companies have not stopped to clearly define their Core Values.  Core Values are simply a handful of rules (written or not) that your company has in place and lives by regularly. The more clear and deliberate you are in your Core Values, the better  your culture and the easier the path to bridge the gap from strategy to results.

Discover your Core Values: Jim Collins ‘Mission to Mars’ exercise will help you identify and discover your Core Values:   Pretend that you have been asked to provide team members from your company to go to Mars and be observed by the Martian culture. The Martians want to observe those who most accurately illustrate your company’s culture.  You are to choose 5 team members that best illustrate your Core Values. By the way, the Martians cannot speak or understand human language, so your team members can only be observed living your Core Values, they cannot verbally communicate them! Who would you send? Why? Which Core Values do they illustrate in your company? How?

Demonstrate Your Core Values:  Once discovered, your Core Values must be demonstrated to ensure that all team members live by them.  This requires 3 simple actions:

  1. Have a handful (I recommend between 4 and 6) of rules.
  2. Share and repeat them often and regularly.
  3. As a leader, live by them yourself (model them).

The simplicity of this perspective is astounding and illustrates the importance and worth of Core Values. Remember, Core Values are NOT who you want to be as an organization, THEY ARE WHO YOU ARE TODAY.  Too many companies post Core Values that are who they want to be, but then live quite differently from their Core Values. This is hypocrisy and will turn off team members and create a chasm of credibility between leadership and team members.

Defend Your Core Values:  In order for your Core Values to stand, they must withstand some important criteria and tests.  The 3 simple tests of a Core Value are:

  1.  Would you fire a team member who consistently or blatantly violated one of your Core Values?
  2.  Would your company be willing to take a financial hit (lose money) in order to maintain the integrity of a Core Value?
  3. Are your Core Values alive among your team today. Can you easily identify the name of team members that are living out each of your Core Values in an energetic and obvious manner?

Discover, Demonstrate and Defend your Core Values to ensure they are well and alive and to drive appropriate behaviors, attitudes and decision-making process throughout the organization.

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