Whether you’re starting a new venture or launching an existing one, there are two things you need to do before you can move forward: First, define your business’s core values. Second, figure out if your current model fits within those values. If you don’t know where you want to go or why you are going there, your journey will become a long and unfulfilling road.
Do you have formal or informal core values for your business that you follow and base your decisions on? Do you have something that leads you whenever you must decide on something important for your small business? Or, do you have something that serves as a reference point on your path to success?
If your answers to questions are yes, you have established your core business values. One of the most complex parts of starting a new business is figuring out your core values. This article helps you identify your business values by answering 15 simple questions.
What are Core Values?
Business values are the core beliefs of an organization. You may express these core business beliefs verbally, or they may be written down. They are the values of the business and form the basis of the company’s culture.
Business core values are what your business stands for, your principles or life philosophy, and the reason for your company’s existence. They are like the moral code that guides your company, management, and employees in the right direction.
Values are something that can make your entrepreneurial career and life much easier. They define what you need to do and what you need not do. They determine what is acceptable and what is not for you and your company and will tell you when you must stop and accelerate.
A business’s core values define what it means to work for your company. Understanding your company’s core values is important because when your business values align with your employees, you create a culture that people want to be part of. However, if your business values conflict with your employees, you’ll end up with a workforce that isn’t performing.
Why do You Need to Define Core Values?
You need core values, and that’s a fact. But the question is why? Here, we will try to answer this question.
Core Values Enable Common Language for Employees
Your company’s values help create a common language for your employees. They provide a reference point for your employees to understand the purpose behind every action. Without clear, defined values, people are left to interpret every new decision as a change in the status quo.
Guide You and Your Employees on the Way to Act Within a Company
When you talk about “values,” you’re talking about values in a business sense. You can think of these as beliefs, expectations, and assumptions that guide how you act within a company and with customers.
Values are similar to guiding principles but tend to be more specific and less abstract than principles. For example, a company might have a value that says, “We believe in the importance and integrity of our customers.” That’s a guiding principle. A value is, “We believe it is important always to treat our customers with respect.”
Core Values Help You and Your Employees to Make Decisions on an Everyday Basis
Your company’s values guide you through every decision and help you determine your and your employees’ actions. Without your company’s core values, you may start with great intentions but get lost in a maze.
It’s essential to recognize that company values are not set in stone. In fact, they can change over time. But if you don’t put them, you won’t be able to make decisions based on how they affect the lives of others.
Core Values Improve Your Employee’s Motivation
To effectively motivate employees to work hard and deliver quality results, you must have a set of core values. These values help you create a culture that is key to long-term success. Employees who see their efforts contributing to the organization’s larger purpose feel more valued and invested in the mission.
If they don’t know how their work is connected to the organization’s vision and purpose, they begin to feel less committed and engaged in their work.
Core Values Help Your Company to Get Things Done
Core values can often get in the way of your ability to get things done. When everyone inside the company knows the values, they will get things done much easier.
This is because your values are the reasons why you do what you do. They are the goals you try to achieve as a company and individual. Remembering these while designing your product, developing it, selling it, and supporting it is essential. Simply, your values will help you to manage your company on the path to success that’s not a straight line.
How to Define Your Business’s Values?
Instead of developing a process, I would like to share 15 questions you can use to develop your core values.
Instead of developing a process, I would like to share 15 core value questions you can use to develop your core values.
1. What does my business stand for?
The key to finding and sharing what your business stands for is to take the time to understand your brand. After all, if you don’t know what your business stands for, how can you be sure you’re representing it well to customers?
When people talk about your company, what words come to mind? What do they say about your business and its values? How can you use those words to create and shape your brand and maintain consistency throughout every aspect of your business?
2. What is the success for you?
This is a crucial question to ask yourself. Once you know your end goal, you’ll better understand how to set up your goals and strategy.
Success has many faces. The most common definition is achieving your goals. But it can also mean making a difference in the world or being happy and successful. The key is to understand what you want to achieve. Why do you want to be successful? What are the reasons for wanting to make a difference in the world?
3. How will you satisfy your customers?
You must demonstrate that you care about and will solve the customer’s problems and concerns. The better you can show your customers that you care about them and understand their problems and challenges, the better your chance to make a sale.
Once you’ve identified your customers and have defined their problems, you need to find out what you need to offer to meet their needs. Your product or service needs to be of a higher value than anything else currently available to your customers.
4. Why would your customers choose you over your competition?
If you want to know why someone is interested in working with you, ask them questions about what they’re trying to do or what problems they’re trying to solve.
Ask them about their goals, challenges, and obstacles. This allows you to understand how they feel about their current situation and how they plan to improve it. Once you have this information, you can develop compelling reasons why they should work with you instead of the competition.
5. What is something that your company values in each employee?
This is a question to determine if you have a culture that values certain qualities.
How do you make your people feel valued? How will their personal values fit with your company’s values?
I’ve learned over the years of working with many kinds of people and companies and in many different jobs that people need to be appreciated, recognized, and rewarded for their efforts. If you don’t take the time to acknowledge the people who help you succeed, it’s very easy to forget that they’re worth anything. Showing appreciation for what people do goes a long way.
6. What are the types of habits your business values the most?
You need to have habits that support your core business values. These include treating people with respect, maintaining the highest quality in your products and services, keeping your promises, and treating others the same way you want to be treated.
If you don’t have any of these habits, it’s time to work on them. Your company values should be something you do every day.
7. What types of relationships does your company value the most?
When building a strong team, the people you work with can make or break your company. So, who are the people in your company that are critical to its success?
Who are the people who make decisions, influence others, or have the most influence in your company? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How will they impact your company? The answers will help you determine your company’s most valuable relationships, what kinds of connections you want to nurture, and what relationships you want to improve upon.
8. What is the community that your business values the most?
This is the question we ask ourselves when considering our next move. It’s not just a question of location or physical space, but it’s also about people, their personal values, and culture.
9. What are the competencies that your company needs the most?
The answer to this question can help you better understand your company’s skills, how to evaluate candidates, and what kind of company culture you should foster in the workplace.
Start with the premise that you’re trying to build a new business. Think about what you don’t have and what you’d like to see in your company, and then you can figure out what competencies you need to hire.
Companies are becoming increasingly complex, meaning they need to hire people who can solve problems effectively, regardless of what those problems are. They must possess management skills to run their company smoothly and efficiently. So, you must identify personal values your company leaders will value the most from your employees.
10. What responsibilities are most important for your company?
This question is designed to get you thinking about what your company does. You’re probably already aware of the fact that your business has a particular set of responsibilities. But, if you’re unsure where to start, this question will help you create a clear picture of how your enterprise operates and how it contributes to your customers’ lives. If you’re unsure how to answer this question, list your major tasks and responsibilities.
- Do I know everything that is required to do the job well?
- Are there some things that are harder than others?
- Do I know all the different ways that my work affects the customer?
When your organization is small, there’s no need to focus on many different responsibilities because you can usually handle just about everything yourself. But once your company starts to grow, keeping track of all the details can become increasingly difficult.
11. What type of decisions are most important for your company?
What matters most to you when you think about your business decisions and how they could affect you? Or, what is the decision that makes all of your other decisions easier to make or more difficult?
We’re all guilty of making decisions based solely on emotion, instinct, or even indolence. The reality is that there is no replacement for critical thinking. So, when it comes to decision-making, you can’t afford to ignore what you know vs. what you feel.
12. What do you think about respect for individuals?
We all know that we should treat others as we want to be treated and not act in a manner inconsistent with how we feel we should be treated. This means not treating people differently based on their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other personal values or reasons that have nothing to do with the actual person.
Respect for individuals is very important, particularly within the workplace.
13. What about tolerance of failure? Do you accept it, and why?
Do you accept failure? The answer is easy: if we don’t accept failure, we never learn anything, and if we don’t learn anything, we end up failing even more often. We must accept that there will always be something that fails. Some of those failures might be big, but some will be small.
Accepting failure is a sign of a strong character. They’re willing to keep trying until they hit on the right thing or idea.
14. What is your tolerance for risk-taking?
I’ve noticed that successful people tend to be risk-takers, even if they don’t realize it.
When looking at your situation, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my personal tolerance for risk-taking?
- What am I willing to risk, and what am I not willing to risk?
If you’re not ready to risk a little, you’ll never do anything really great. But if you’re willing to take risks, what could you do with some risk?
15. Are you and your company open to ideas from outside your company?
The next question you need to ask yourself is whether you are open to ideas from outside your company. If not, you limit yourself to one perspective – the one inside your head or your organization.
We’re not suggesting that you should take every idea that comes your way. But if you’re open to new ideas, you’ll benefit from taking advantage of new opportunities.
This is not the final list of questions. You can add as much as possible related to your company, industry, or market.
After this exercise, I hope you can succeed in setting company values and, in the end, will have a clear core and common values.
Questions to Ask Employees About Company Values
Now, you have your company values, but how will you ensure that your current and future team members understand them and align with them? You must ensure that their personal values fit with your company’s core values
The first thing is to identify personal values of your team members and check if they fit with your company’s core values. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, it’s crucial to have open conversations about these values. I have seen how some companies conduct interview questions yearly to check their organization’s values with the employees.
Here are some interview questions you might consider asking your team:
- How do you see our values reflected in your daily work? This question lets employees consider how they incorporate these values into their tasks and responsibilities. Their answers are important to see how your values impact them.
- Can you share an instance of a team member inside our work environment incorporating our values? Personal anecdotes foster a culture of recognition and appreciation, reinforcing the importance of company values.
- Which of our values resonates with you the most, and why? Understanding which value resonates with each employee can offer insights into their motivations and perspectives.
- Are there any company values you find challenging to uphold? If so, why? This question creates a safe work environment for employees to discuss potential hurdles, promoting problem-solving and growth.
- How do you believe our company values influence our firm decisions? This question lets Employees reflect on how values shape the company’s strategy and direction.
- Do you have any suggestions on how we can better live our company values? Asking for employee feedback encourages active participation and ownership in nurturing a values-led culture.
Also, you can use similar interview questions about values for applicants for a new job inside your organization.