The sign of a great company is one that religiously defends their core values.
Core values are the anchor that keeps your business grounded. The essential beliefs that endure regardless of what is happening on the surface. Every decision in the company, at every level, can be based on values!
A fascinating example of values in action emerged last month. American television station ABC chose to fiercely defend their values – by firing comedian Roseanne Barr after her racist Twitter attack on Obama Administration staffer Valerie Jarrett. In the tweet, Barr wrote Jarrett looks as if the Muslim Brotherhood and “Planet of the Apes” “had a baby”.
The outrage was immediate. Barr, as an employee of ABC, had blatantly violated the values that she was meant to be living. This put ABC in an awkward situation, as ‘Roseanne’, ABC’s flagship show this season, has been estimated to bring in over $100 million in advertising revenue over the next two years.
ABC had a choice to make – either stand up for their values of “inclusiveness and tolerance” by removing Roseanne from the company, or allow her to remain and rake in the advertising dollars from the show. A tough decision for a company without core values at their centre, but a no-brainer for the ABC. They made the decision to protect their values, by removing Roseanne from the company.
Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment said in a statement, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show” – a strong and decisive defence of the company’s core values.
Why are Core Values Important?
They are essential to your company’s identity, act as a set of rules that you and your staff live by. When I work with businesses looking to scale, the first thing we look at is the Core Purpose and its Core Values – as these set foundations for business success. Why?
Because your values give you and your employees the basis upon which you make decisions and set performance expectations. Strong company culture is built through employees living and breathing your values.
Core Values provide a framework for:
- behaviour standards
- how people are expected to interact with each other
- company culture
- work ethic
One of the most important aspects of values is that they are lived by the entire team – not just lower level employees. A lesson for upper management: lead by example. When executive and upper management live the values, the rest of the team will as well.
Also, when values are alive and kicking in a business, it’s reduces staffing issues. Employees becoming aligned with your business goals making it easier to successfully grow your business.
The Core Values Test
In my recent article about the Australian Cricket Team cheating scandal, I explained the Core Values Test – designed to test whether your values are alive and well within your business. Ask yourself the following questions.
- Would you ﬁre a team member who consistently or blatantly violated one of your core values?
- Would your company be willing to take a ﬁnancial hit (lose money) to maintain the integrity of a core value?
- Is this core value alive among your team today (can you identify the name of a team member that is living out each of your core values in an energetic and obvious manner)?
ABC can proudly say they passed the test with flying colours.
- They quickly, and without hesitation, removed Roseanne from the company after she violated their core values.
- They likely took a massive financial hit from her removal.
- While Roseanne clearly does not live out the core values of ABC, other people within the company do.
The Core Values Test is one I recommend all business leaders look to when facing difficult decisions. Clearly understanding the power of your core values means that if an issue like this were to arise, the decision to defend your core values becomes an easy one to make.
Managing Director and Gazelles Business Growth Consultant
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