During a recent Mastermind meeting we went deep into the concept of Core Values within our businesses and some amazing things happened.
Everyone started to verbalize why they do what they do.
Owning a business is about more than making money. If it was only about dollars then it would be a pretty empty endeavor.
For most of us it’s about freedom, impact and having control over the direction of your life.
The unique ways you approach business have to do with something deep inside you. It’s not something you learn or strive for. It’s the way you are naturally wired. Maybe it’s DNA, maybe it’s upbringing, whatever that is it’s unique to you. These are your Core Values.
If you can state these Core Values in short powerful statements then you will increase your ability to focus, filter and prioritize as you navigate the roller coaster of entrepreneurship.
Core Values make it easier to hire or fire employees. They make it easy to say yes or no to clients. They make it easy to decide which project to go after, which product to sell and which service to provide. They help with marketing. They help with decision making. They help you spend your time, energy and dollars on people and things that matter.
In a minute we will go through a step-by-step process for discovering your Core Values, but before we do that let’s talk about what Core Values are not.
- Core Values are not corporate slogans
- Core Values are not generic cliches
- Core Values are not found on motivational memes or posters
Core Values are not positive sounding words like honesty, integrity, ethical. Those are givens. Those are the basics of being an entrepreneur.
True Core Values have an emotional charge behind them. They are in your words and they resonate with you and your team.
When you say them out loud they feel right. They resonate with you and give you that feeling of YES!
So, what exactly are Core Values and how do we discover them? And once we do, how do we use them to grow and thrive?
6 Steps to Discovering Your Core Values:
- Brainstorm specific events. Make a list of major events in your business both good and bad. List your best clients, partners or employees. List your worst clients, partners or employees. List your successes and setbacks. Here are some examples from my business:
- Decision to offer SEO services
- Hiring my first employee
- Battling a BS lawsuit
- My first client Tony
- Moving from home biz to an office suite
- Firing a bad employee
- My best client Bill
- Partnering on a failed project
- Promoting an employee
- Outsourcing service
- My worst client Jason
- Generate stories. Start writing out stories based on items in your list. Recall in vivid detail everything that happened. Be open, honest and vulnerable. The more emotion the better. How did each event make you feel? How did you react? You may also want to do this with a trusted friend, colleague, or Mastermind Group. Take your time, this can take a while. You don’t have to do it all at once. Break it up into sessions if necessary.
- Look for themes. Boil each story into one or two sentences that summarize how you feel. You should start to see themes arise. Feel free to combine themes and ideas at this point. These themes are the beginnings of your Core Values. For example:
- Took on a nasty client that didn’t trust us and insulted us on a regular basis.
- Fired a bad employee who always worried about himself and not the team.
- Offered a new service to make a lot of money, but didn’t empower the customer.
- Create five powerful statements. Take each sentence and narrow down to a few words that really describe your feelings. What words really make sense to you? What words give you that feeling of YES? This can be tough, but well worth the effort. Imagine every time you are faced with a big decision you refer back to these statements. You trust they are valid because you put in the hard work to discover how you operate at your core. These statements are your Core Values. Here are examples from my business:
- Always Take it to the Next Level
- Champion the Small Guy
- Team Collaboration
- Own Your Role (no micromanaging)
- Have Fun and Get it Done!
- Make them visible. You want to constantly refer back to your Core Values so they need to be visible at all times. You can have them next to your computer, create a poster, make a homescreen on your phone or computer wallpaper. Make sure they are not forgotten or minimized. They will serve as your guide to help you prioritize and focus. Here is a poster of our Core Values that hangs on our wall for all to see:
- Share them with people you trust. The final step is to make sure you share and discuss your Core Values with trusted friends or colleagues on a regular basis. This is where the magic happens. When entrepreneurs get together and talk about their successes and struggles extraordinary things happen. You will really solidify your Core Values when you have open discussions about them. I recommend joining a Mastermind Group that likes to go deep and get real.
If you are interested in joining an affordable Mastermind Group, then I would like to invite you to reach out to us here at the Impact Mastermind Group. We have weekly sessions where we meet with 6 to 10 entrepreneurs and talk about everything under the sun. We have Hotseats, workshops and roundtable discussions. It’s all about empowerment, growth and accountability.
See you on the inside!