Businesses Have Core Values, Do You?

Have you ever noticed that companies have written values? Maybe you saw them posted in their dining area, lobby or break room. Did you notice if they were actually following them?

Consider these 3 companies on the 100 Best Companies to Work For: (From

Build-A-Bear Workshop

Core Values: Reach, Learn, Di-bear-sity, Colla-bear-ate, Give, Cele-bear-ate

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In fact, “Di-bear-sity,” the most recent value to be added,was named through a 2012 company-wide contest. And at quarterly corporate meetings, employees are nominated for “Atta Bears” awards, citing excellent performance in one of the core values areas.


Core Values Statement: Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings, and they will always come back for more.

“It’s not just a saying, but it’s way of life and a way of conducting business” for the nearly 5,000 employees.

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10 Core Values:
1. Deliver WOW Through Service
2. Embrace and Drive Change
3. Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
5. Pursue Growth and Learning
6. Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
8. Do More with Less
9. Be Passionate and Determined
10. Be Humble

Zappos’ hiring policy included employees signing contracts saying they understand the values, agree to be reviewed based on them, and understand that they can be fired if they fail to live up to them.

If having core values is that important for businesses,why wouldn’t we want them for our own lives?

Your values determine how you live your life. The choices you make are influenced by your values. Values can be guardrails to help keep us focused and inside our value ‘lines’.

Have you ever sat down and identified your core values? Maybe you are living out the same values that you inherited from your parents. This is very common.

Core values help you stay focused on what is important to you. They are a good way to measure if you are being true to yourself and you can see if your actions and choices align with them.

So, how do you determine, from hundreds of values, what are your values?

1.   First start with a list of the ones that are important to you.

2.   Then start narrowing them down. (I recommend between 5 and 10) Choose the things that are most important to you. It doesn’t mean that you ignore everything else but you have to decide what do you want people to see in you, no matter what circumstance or situation you find yourself in.

For example, here are my values.

1.   Faith. God is first in my life. Always.  Do people see my faith lived out? All. The. Time.

2.   Grace. I have received so much grace in my life and I want to extend that to others. Am I showing grace to others?

3.   Gratitude. I want to live from a place where I am thankful for everything. Yes, everything. When I succeed at this, it takes the focus off of my situation and changes my attitude.

4.   Compassion. I want to live and act in a way that I am showing compassion to everyone.

5.   Joy. Is what I am doing done with joy? I know there are things that we have to do whether we like it or not. And that is ok. There is a difference between being joyful and happy. Is my attitude a joyful one?

6.   Generosity. Am I being generous with all my resources? People will always win over things. Stuff can be replaced, people cannot.

7.   Authentic.  Is what I am showing people the real me or am I pretending to be someone or something I am not. It can be exhausting trying to be something you are not.

Once you have chosen your values, post them.  Put it in a frame, on your screen or somewhere visible so that you see it every day. A physical reminder, especially when we are starting or creating new behavior or awareness is important.      

Continue to revisit them. As we grow and navigate through different circumstances, our values may need to change as well.

Also, share them with someone that you trust. That person that will cheer you on when you do well and will also let you know when you miss the mark but not in a mean or judgmental way.

Making your life count with the right values that fit you best can lead to healthier decisions and a better life!