In my Dare to Be Great workshops we talk a lot about culture and about the role of Core Values in culture. Values are guiding principles and Core Values are guiding principles that should be at the core, the heart, of the organization. I am an advocate of organizations having three Core Values, as I believe if you have too many then people cannot remember them and understand them. Not everyone agrees with that philosophy. Some argue that it is not the number of Core Values that are important, but what they mean, and how they are woven into the culture so people remember and understand them. There is certainly merit to that. I am however, still a believer of the Rule of Three as that is a manageable number for people to remember, understand and apply. People often wonder what my Core Values are and I will share them later in this post.
What I have discovered in my exploration of this topic is that having three Core Values does not mean you are restricted to just three words. In some cases three words works very well as they are easily put challenge coins, the side of your vehicles and other key locations. My personal Core Values are three words: Curiosity, Commitment and Humility. The Core Values of Winning Mind Training Inc. however are longer. They are:
- Focus on What’s Important Now
- Stay Curious
- Inspire Others
An important and often overlooked part of Core Values is the narrative that goes along with them. What do they mean to you and to people in your organization? How do you and others live them every day? Are they just words on a poster or do they have meaning and value? Do they serve to help guide behaviors and decisions? The narrative cannot just be corporate speak, it has to be meaningful to the people in the organization and help craft the story of “Who we are and what it means to be part of this organization / tribe / group / team.”
Below are the three Core Vales for Winning Mind Training and the narrative that accompanies each of them.
Focus on What’s Important Now?
- Seek excellence in everything you do.
- Embrace: The Struggle and The Suck
- Look: For The Learning and The Good
- Dare to Be Great
- Embrace the Power of Questions and continue to ask more questions, better questions and deeper questions.
- Stay curious and continually seek new knowledge, wisdom and understanding.
- Stay curious and seek ways to connect the dots between what you are learning, what you already know and what the people you serve need.
- Stay curious about better ways to teach and communicate.
- Inspire others to step up and lead.
- Inspire others to be intentional about building a culture of leading, learning and excellence.
- Inspire others to be curious and read, listen, learn and grow.
- Inspire others to take action and apply and share what they are learning.
The bullet point narrative is meaningful to me and can be easily expanded upon in a dialogue or discussion. You need to figure out what will work best for you.
The key is to make sure that the Core Values are part of the culture. When combined with the established and agreed upon Above the Line Behaviors they provide powerful guidelines and guardrails for people and help guide decision-making and behaviors.
Unfortunately, it is my experience that very few people know and understand the Core Values of their organization. What about you? What about the people you lead? Do you know what the Core Values are and make them part of the culture in your piece of the organization?
Remember that leadership is a choice and a journey and it starts with you. Choose well, keep learning and enjoy the journey.
Register yourself, and your team for the Dare to Be Great: Strategies for Creating a Culture of Leading online workshop to get everyone on the same page regarding leadership and culture. If you are interested in hosting a live Dare to Be Great workshop reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.