As a solo-prenuer it’s important to know your core values, so you know who you want to reach, who your tribe is. They help you remember why you’re doing what you’re doing when you hit hard times.
They also help you remember how you’re doing it. They keep you on the straight and narrow path so you’re not trying every idea that comes through your inbox.
Core values become a high leverage asset when you are building a team. They help you hire the right people, and ensure everyone holds the same compass points when the flurry of work would blow you off course.
Core values are universally true. Speed, for example, isn’t a core value because sometimes we want things to go slow. Simplicity isn’t either because sometimes we want things to be complex. They might be standards for certain processes, but core values are always true. This is why they are so important for teams, they are the flag you hold out ahead of the charge. This is what everyone keeps their eye on at all times. And without it, everybody is running around like a cowboy following their own code of values. You can have as few as three, but ten is hitting the upper limit.
Until we made this list, we were clear about the core values of transparency, accountability, sovereignty, and evolution. They are values that Ali and I hold for our lives. When our core team met with Giovanni, we unpacked these first four, and added a few more.
- Show up naked. Be transparent.
- Do your soul’s Great Work.
- Lean into your edge. Invite feedback.
- Bring your A-game, and make a positive impact.
- Take ownership & stand accountable.
- Be a model of sovereignty.
- Get the important things done. Everyday.
- Make it better. Yes, everything.
- Pursue growth & learning.
- Put the planet first.
Core values have played an instrumental role in some extremely successful internet companies. Here are a couple of examples:
- Deliver WOW Through Service
- Embrace and Drive Change
- Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
- Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
- Pursue Growth and Learning
- Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
- Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
- Do More With Less
- Be Passionate and Determined
- Be Humble
- Support and Trust
- Results Generating
We spent an hour and a half with Giovanni creating the first draft of our core values, and set a six month horizon line for finalization. Ali had a lot of resistance to the process and taking the time, because we’ve done these exercises before. But ultimately she saw how they fit into a larger vision of getting our work into the world.
The next step is to share these with our team, get their buy in, make sure we are a match, and make any adjustments needed to ensure we are building from our core. And then we will integrate them into our hiring process, and develop questions and test assignments to screen for these core values.
Hopefully this gives you a broader perspective on creating and championing core values in your company. It’s more than rah-rah team spirit. It’s a way of being in the world, and with each other – both team & clients – that can make an incredible difference.
Do you have a set of core values? If so, please post them. If not, what are your initial hunches?