Why are core values important?

Core values are essential to building a strong culture and identity. Identity enables trust, creates unity, and motivates sacrifice for the greater good. Of course this is what we all ultimately want in our families.

Jim Collins has a great article that I want to highlight a few things from.

You cannot “set” [family] values, you can only discover them.

This means, core values are not things that describe what you want your family to have. They are the values you are “predisposed” to have and that really shape your roots. So try to discover your core values. Don’t just list nice sounding values that you wish for your family to have.

Your core values and purpose (family why), if properly conceived, remain fixed. Everything else—your practices, strategies, structures, systems, policies, and procedures—should be open for change.

If you and your family understand this distinction, you can better work together to achieve your family purpose. One way this understanding helps is by making it easier to be more open to try new things concerning family policies, practices, strategies, etc., without the fear of losing your family identity and purpose. Unnecessary fretting over changing things will disappear, and by empowering the family to experiment and fail together as you try to develop better ways to realize your purpose, your family will reach new levels of success, unity and love. All the while, your family confidence will increase as you continue to focus on the things that really matter the most. Critical family decisions will become easier and easier, because you all know what things are fixed and which are flexible.

In short, worry about what you do as [a family], not what you say.

Collins continues to stress the importance of action. It’s all fine and dandy to have mission statements, core values, vision statements, etc. But it’s all about the work in aligning with them, making decisions, and realizing progress towards your purpose.

So how do I go about discovering my family core values?

10 Steps for Developing Your Company’s Core Values is a great guide you may want to follow in creating your family core values. I’m testing these steps with my family, and here is our progress so far.

  1. We’re definitely committed 🙂
  2. My personal core values
    • Earn your own trust
    • Serve others generously
    • See things as they really are
    • Learn as much as you can
    • Have courage to lead
  3. My wife’s core values
    • Be true to yourself
    • In the strength of The Lord you can do all things
    • Take care of yourself so you can take care of others
    • Hard work equals happiness
    • Have an attitude of gratitude

I’ll be back to add our family core values as soon as we finish the rest of the steps and are satisfied what we have discovered is truly our family core values.

Update – 5/17/14
Added my wife’s core values.

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