What Do CEOs Really Think about Core Values?

Recently I wrote about the importance of blending the “how” with the “what” in managing employees to create a high performing team who delivers the results you need, but within the context of the core values you’ve defined as central to your organizational brand and delivery model.

Expanding on that is this insight from the International Business Times in “How Core Values Drive Performance”:

Core values define company culture, which is a big part of why they’re so important to driving performance. We can represent the relationship this way: 

Core values ? company culture ? actions/performance

Core values are simple action statements that express the business attributes management upholds and believes will lead the company to success. They are not vague proclamations such as “Do the right thing” — these can be interpreted at the whim of management depending on temporary conditions and motives. Core values should be specific and measurable.”

What do core values mean in practice?

Note the specificity of that last point. Core values are too often given as “teamwork, respect, integrity, etc.” with little to no definition on what that means in practice. Refer to this earlier post for more detail on precisely how to add this specificity with strategic recognition.

But then comes the critical question: What do CEOs really think about company values and culture?

Luckily for us, Lisa Petrilli asked just that question of some of the CEOs in CEO Connection. A few of their responses are below:

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  • On Values: “Values are at the core of strong companies. They manifest in an organization by consistently following them rather than consistently stating them.”
  • On Purpose: “You don’t teach people how to build a ship, you teach them how to yearn for the sea.”
  • On Culture: “What’s inherent to culture is beliefs. What you believe then drives your strategy.”

Where does your CEO sit on that spectrum? Are they fully behind your core values, purpose and culture? Without that executive support, your brand, culture and values are little more than words on the plaque on the wall.

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.


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