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Building Core Values within Organizations

Posted in My Blog

Have you ever shopped at a specific store, flown with a specific airline, eaten at a certain restaurant, or worked with a particular business and thought to yourself, “That was a fantastic experience!”? And have you ever found yourself visiting those same stores, airlines, restaurants, and businesses while in a completely different part of the country and thought the same exact thing?

Achieving a consistent experience across franchises, locations, and even huge, sprawling empires like Starbucks, Ace Hardware and Southwest Airlines is no small undertaking. It requires an incredible attention to what tangible processes and services make a business work. And at the same time, an acute awareness of the intangible aspects of an organization’s make up that deliver those experiences. In particular, the organization’s core values.

Sculpting Organizational Core Values

If you’ve been following us all along, you know that we’ve been writing about core values in-depth lately. We’ve discussed what they are, why they’re important, and how to apply them both personally and within teams.

But if you’re really thinking big, you might be wondering how to harness the power of shared values across a greater share of people. Perhaps, at scale for organizations like businesses, charities, and community efforts.

Well, we have you covered. Listed below are our thoughts on how you might be able to make that happen.

But first, let’s walk through a brief refresher of what core values are and why they matter.

Back to the Basics with Schwartz’s Theory

Schwartz Theory of Basic Values is the foundation of our Core Values Series. It attempts to identify ten universally acknowledged values. The ideas and experiences that each value represents are:

  1. Self-Direction: correlates with independence, creativity and exploration.
  2. Stimulation: relates to craving new experiences and ties into excitement, novelty and challenges.
  3. Hedonism: experiences that correlate with pleasure or gratification for oneself.
  4. Achievement: success through showing your competence.
  5. Power: tied to social status, prestige, and control.
  6. Security: relates to achieving safety, harmony and stability.
  7. Conformity: keeping the peace by restraining your actions and complying with societal norms.
  8. Tradition: leads to setting goals around respect, commitment and older customs.
  9. Benevolence: taking care of or showing concern for the welfare of those around you.
  10. Universalism: a deep desire to understand, protect, and promote the welfare of all.

Most people focus on or hold more than one value at a time. In fact, several values complement one another. For instance, core values like power and achievement might work together to create a meta-value compound interest app centered around self-improvement. Or values like benevolence and universalism when combined might create an over-arching value of focusing on the care of others.

To be clear, no value holds greater power than another. They’re simply motivators, ideas, and concepts that empower us to be and do our best. Within an organization, you might have a mix of any of these values that combine to create an incredible experience.

For instance, at our partner company Keller Williams Realty, the organization constantly focuses on the health and well-being of its agents and employees, as well as the clients they serve. It’s a shared core value that has resulted in some pretty spectacular examples of support.

The company decided to cancel one of its largest real estate conferences in 2017, when hurricane Harvey hit the gulf coast and flooded millions of homes.

they invited all of those who would have attended to fly down anyway, and apply that energy and those resources to provide direct assistance to those impacted by the flooding. Over 4,000 attendees who bought a ticket for a real estate conference gladly swapped dress shoes for mud boots, slacks for jeans, and got to work cleaning out over 150 homes for a full week.

It was a moment that affirmed shared values, boosting morale, and in turn, showed what kind of impact the company was capable of having on the world. Had the company not made such a strong point to create a set of shared, core values organizationally, a quick pivot like this wouldn’t have been possible, and the benefits of doing so wouldn’t have been realized.

 

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