After completing the Core Values exercise for your organization (learn how on pages 34-45 of Traction) you can make them come alive with a Core Values Speech (see examples on pages 39-44 of Traction) and also with your company’s Core Values Book. This book captures stories from employees, customers and vendors about how your company’s values resonate with them. Let them tell a story about how one or more of your values supported a fellow employee or how it gave a customer a reason to return.
A few months ago I heard Tony Hsieh (pronounced “Shay”), Founder and CEO of Zappos speak about how Zappos built their business on a foundation of “committable values”. Tony encouraged everyone in his company to tell their “Values Story”. They were published in a “Culture Book” that was continuously updated and shared with everyone. Tony argues that building and nurturing your company’s culture is the best way to build your brand. And it works! Tony recently sold Zappos to Amazon for $1.2 billion.
Whatever core values you choose (none of my clients have the same core values) you must be committed to them and be willing to live by them. This is where a lot of companies fall short. They publish a set of values and then walk away from them. They don’t hire and fire around them. They don’t develop relationships with their customers and vendors around them. And, it doesn’t take long for people in the organization to become cynical. Each value has it’s “moment of truth”, where it is tested. If you don’t walk the talk by making the right choices, the values become hollow.
What’s the story that your employees will tell and how many pages will fill your company’s Core Values Book?