The Beneficial Value of Values - 5 Steps to Identify Your Values

Updated: March 10, 2021

The Beneficial Value of Values - 5 Steps to Identify Your Values

Summary

  1. Here is an important question for any organization or business to address: What are your values? Do you know the value of values?
  2. The good news is that whether you know it or not, your organization or business already has values. You need to identify the value of values of your business.
  3. Five Practical Steps to Ensure your Values Accurately Represent the Team Taking the time to identify your organization’s core values is an important and necessary step in the direction toward building a healthy organization and will help ensure that it has the potential to flourish as your company grows. This alone is a great value of values in your business.
  4. When we began the process of identifying our core values, we simply put into words the culture of Tanner Tees which has been leading our business for over 25 years.
  5. In the end, we landed on four core values that provide the lens by which we operate and the standards by which we hold ourselves accountable: Excellence:      We are not satisfied with mediocrity Integrity:        We are honest in business, relationships, and actions Generosity:     We are aware of our gifts, talents, skills, and resources and use them to benefit our team, our customers, and our community Respect:          We operate with a mindset of honor and service

Here is an important question for any organization or business: What are your values? How this question is answered is often an accurate indicator of a healthy or struggling entity. In a healthy business, you can ask this question and receive a confident and consistent answer from anyone. Each team member, from the leadership on down, will have been made acutely aware of the organization's values, and those individuals will be able to not only recite them but also explain their basis and application. This is the value of values!

In comparison, conversely, in an unhealthy organization, you will experience the opposite end of the spectrum where no one is really sure of the values, there are differing responses based on who you ask, or none of the participants are able to answer the question simply because no values exist.

The process of identifying, communicating, and applying your values is one of the most important and necessary responsibilities of every leader. No matter if you are a high school or college baseball coach, owner/operator of a hitting facility, or executive of a corporation, the need for core values is essential to guide the team. Without them, your business or organization will suffer and never reach its potential. With them, you will enjoy a rock-solid foundation and systems which you and your team will be able to build upon in a successful and healthy manner.

Identifying Your Values    

The good news is that whether you know it or not, your organization or business already has values. They are inherent and exist in spite of any success or failed effort at identifying them. They are present in every athletic team, organization, and in every business.

“It is critical that you avoid the temptation to be idealistic in your identification process.”

Furthermore, those values usually flow directly from the current or past leadership. Author and business consultant Joey Brannon states, “Values persist, no matter what line of business you are in, because they reflect leadership and, in long-standing companies, institutional history. They may even outlive one leader’s tenure and become part of the legacy that endures under future leaders.”

Simply stated, values are the principles, elements, or standards of behaviors that guide and measure our thoughts and actions. Therefore, the process that leads to the identification of your organization's value of values is not a creative process or space. Rather, the process becomes an exercise in honest reflection and assessment.

It is critical that you avoid the temptation to be idealistic in your identification process. Remember the goal is to identify the values that already exist not to manufacture new ones that you wish existed. If you select values that may sound good but have no practical or relational connection to you or your business, you are making the choice to create a weak foundation that all but ensures future struggles and setbacks.

Five Practical Steps to Ensure your Values Accurately Represent the Team

  • Create a list of words that best describe your company or team culture. Do not be concerned about the number of words in your list. The focus is on being honest and accurate. Only use words that resonate with you as a leader and reflect what factors are important to the beliefs, vision, and ideas of your organization.
  • Now go back through the list and reassess each word. Challenge yourself, ask the hard questions to determine if this really is a core value for my business, and, if so, why? This process will allow you to narrow down your list of values. While there is no magic number, ideally you want somewhere between 3-6 core values.
  • Next, create a short but clear statement for each value. The goals of these statements are to explain the meaning and guiding application of each value
  • Now invite a wide range of other people to engage in the same process. This may be members of your executive team, employees, athletes, fellow coaches, family, or close friends. The important thing is to encourage them to be honest in the process.
  • Finally, compare all the values and pay attention for consistencies. Where your list and the others content overlap is where you will find your organization's true core values.

The Value of Values

Taking the time to identify your organization's core values is an important and necessary step toward building a healthy organization and will help ensure that it has the potential to flourish as your company grows. As a leader you must fight against the temptation of thinking that this is not a good time or the wrong time to begin this process. The truth is that it is never too early nor too late to identify core values. Whether you are a first-time business owner who is just starting out or an established coach or executive, the need for clear and accurate values is essential.

“As a leader you must fight against the temptation of thinking that this is not a good time to begin this process.”

My grandfather Joe Tanner, the founder of Tanner Tees, never verbally identified or communicated the values for his business. However, he certainly lived them, and though unspoken, he created a unique culture at Tanner Tees that was shaped by his personal values and leadership.

When we began the process of identifying our core values, we simply put into words the culture of Tanner Tees which has been leading our business for over 25 years. In the end we landed on four core values that provide the lens by which we operate and the standards by which we hold ourselves accountable:

Excellence:      We are not satisfied with mediocrity

Integrity:        We are honest in business, relationships, and actions

Generosity:     We are aware of our gifts, talents, and resources and use them to benefit our team, our customers, and our community

Respect:          We operate with a mindset of honor and service

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