It’s time we looked at corporate values from a new perspective. Let’s push past the fact that still today, many business have values more for marketing purposes than actual decision making filters that guide behaviour. Yes, that’s a key purpose to VALUES, empowering your teams to make smarter decisions and understand how we want to think and behave as an organisation, not just in words, but ACTION!

There are too many examples of organisations saying they value one thing, but then acting in a totally different manner. Values too often take place in an organisation as PLATITUDESrather than ingrained organisational ATTITUDES (Habits of thinking).

A platitude is a flat, dull, or trite remark, especially one uttered as if it were fresh or profound

I’m already getting feisty.

Before we get deep into it, let’s just set the scene as to where values fit in the CULTURE FRAMEWORK.

We all know by now that people buy WHY you do what you do, not HOW or WHAT you do. Your WHY is your purpose. It is the customer-centric reason your business exists. It’s the problem you are passionate about solving in the world, your world, for your customers.

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If your purpose is WHY people buy what you do, then your VALUES are why they buy it from you.

“Purpose is WHY people buy. Values are why they buy it from you” – Dave Clare

Values should be what makes you unique in how you uniquely think about solving that problem you are passionate about in your world for people. If you’ve been struggling to find your UVP or USP (Unique Selling or Value Proposition), scrap that and just go with your UNIQUE VALUES PROPOSITION.

Your values are the unique thinking of your business. They tell us how to behave as an organisation because how we think determines how we act. They guide us and our teams on HOW WE THINK around here…not WHAT TO THINK.

How I think determines how I act.

They are lead, lived and loved from all around the organisation, starting with the leaders and throughout every member of the team (don’t get me started on organisational hierarchy’s!).

Unfortunately, many companies worldwide still have values like SERVICEHONESTYINTEGRITY and TRUST as their “core values”. These are what I call “corporate rhetoric” or very pragmatic/practical values. These should be price of entry into business.

Let me say it one more time…you shouldn’t be in business if you don’t value service, honesty, integrity and trust. Therefore, this shouldn’t be what makes you unique (although sadly it will for many), it’s just price of entry into business.

In today’s business world, wouldn’t you agree that these should be price of entry into business, not what makes you unique?!

It is my belief that if values like these (Service, Honesty, Integrity, Trust) are what make your business unique…we’re all screwed. Seriously.

If you have to tell me that you value those things, and plaster it everywhere on your website and walls, this sets off alarm bells for me. Putting those words up doesn’t make me believe you. Show me.

“Remember Enron had HONESTY & INTEGRITY as their No.1 core value. The Directors are all in jail.”

I challenge all business owners, leaders and entrepreneurs to look at their values and ask yourselves:

“Are these values what really make us unique in how we think about solving this problem we are passionate about for our ideal customers/consumers ?”

Do you agree?

Please share your thoughts on these S.H.I.T. values.

Dave Clare, Leader for a new generation of purpose-driven leaders & CEO/Founder of Circle Leadership

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