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The definitive guide to defining your company’s values

Oct 8, 2021

Choosing your company values isn’t always straightforward. In fact, it can be downright hard to summarize your guiding principles in a few brief statements.

If you’re struggling to pin down your values, try to think of it like this: you already have core values. You and your team are living them every day. You don’t need to create your values—you just need to identify them.

1. Look for inspiration in the right places.

Who inspires you?

Make a list of everyone who has positively impacted your organization, current employee or not. Then, try and identify why they left a positive impact. Were they especially communicative? Did they always meet deadlines? Were they just plain fun to be around? Write down the attributes that stick out to you, and pay attention to any patterns that crop up in the process.

What inspires you?

At some point, every business started with inspiration and willpower. What inspired you to create your company? If you didn’t start it, what inspired you to join? If it helps you get back to your roots, take a trip down memory lane. Read old emails from when you first started; look at the first few pictures of your team; maybe even drive by your old office. Whatever it takes to get in the right headspace to brainstorm what fuels your organization at a foundational level.

2. Involve the right people

Leadership

As leaders, it’s your job to lead your team toward a united goal—and that includes exemplifying your company values. Start a dialogue with your leadership team about their values, both personal and professional. Try to find the intersection between their values and what your company values might be.

Management and supervisors

By involving managers and supervisors in the discussion, you raise your chances of forming a robust, powerful list of values. Plus, the earlier they’re in the loop, the better they’ll be able to use your organizational values to help their teams develop.

Whole team

Your team is your most important asset. Getting feedback from your team will ensure that your values are held at every level of the organization—which will help you keep attracting rockstars as you grow!

3. Ask yourself the right questions

What parts of your organization are you most proud of?

What does your organization do well? This can be anything from reaching revenue goals to putting the right people in the right roles. Look for the values those accomplishments represent. For example, excelling at reaching revenue goals could indicate a value around making data-driven decisions, while being great at hiring might hint at valuing strong teamwork.

How do you want to be remembered?

Your company values will inform your entire brand presence. In fact, in many ways, they define your organization—and that’s exciting! Ask yourself two questions: 1) “Who are we now?” and 2) “Who do we want to be?” If your answers are different for each question, try to identify how you can bridge the gap. What will it take to get from one answer to the next?

4. Put it all together

By now, you should have a few things:

  • Your highest-performing team members, and reasons why they’re rockstars
  • Reasons why you started your company
  • Feedback from your team
  • The things your company does well
  • Where you’re at vs. where you’re going

Go ahead and cross-reference these. Start to brainstorm the beliefs that underpin each item. Try to answer the question, “What defines, inspires and motivates us?”

At Traction® Tools, we live our values every single day:

  1. We love helping.
  2. Be an optimizer.
  3. Find a way to win.

We hire as much for skillset as we do for core values fit, and it has seriously paid off. With clearly-defined values, our organization isn’t just aligned—we’re impassioned. And honestly? By defining our values, we’ve become a team of friends.

 

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