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Core Values as Powerful Statements of Action

Turn your core values into actionable statements and they’ll eventually become your brand’s trademark behaviours.

From extensive research conducted with top-performing companies for his best-selling book Good to Great, Jim Collins concluded that core values are not only essential for a business making the leap from good to great, they’re also required for enduring greatness.

Collins found that, ‘The point is not what core values you have, but that you have core values at all, that you know what they are, that you build them explicitly into the organisation, and that you preserve them over time’.

Core values are the guide posts by which we make decisions, determine priorities and take action.

In my work with culture-focused organisations, I’ve found that core values expressed as one or two words only are open to interpretation by employees. For instance, a core value of ‘service excellence’ is a broad term and likely to mean different things to different people.

Core values expressed as short, actionable statements however, are likely to provide more clarity and meaning about expected standards of behaviour.

For example, the expected way of handling customer enquiries, expected way of communicating, expected approach to problem solving, expected way of treating each other, expected attitude, expected performance, expected learning requirements and so on.

A shared understanding of expectations in relation to core values will, over time, lead to greater consistency in decisions, language and behaviour by employees, both internally and when dealing with customers.

A shared understanding of ‘empowered decision-making’ for example, may result in less customer service enquiries being escalated beyond the first point of contact.

Here’s some examples of how core values can be turned into actionable statements to facilitate a shared understanding about expectations:

  • Customer excellence – go the extra yard to delight
  • Value – create value for customers at every touch point
  • Care – be kind and show empathy
  • Growth – learn and apply something new every day
  • Teamwork – leave no-one behind
  • Accountability – take responsibility and follow through
  • Innovation – be curious, creative and open-minded
  • Relationships – put trust at the centre of relationships
  • Efficiency – do more with less
  • Fun – go lightly and laugh out loud

Whether you’re running a small or big business, turning your core values into actionable statements will ultimately become the yardsticks by which you can build a great brand reputation.


©Ros Weadman 2022 Ros Weadman empowers purpose-driven leaders and organisations to strategically-align their brand, increase their visibility and enhance their reputation so they can lead their industry and shape the future. Ros’s new book ‘Enhance Your Reputation’ is out now. Order your copy here.

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