We all want to work with organizations that represent exemplary core values. We either want those values to reflect who we are personally or who we are aspiring to be.

So why is it a challenge for many organizations to establish or maintain that core value alignment? The answer to this can prove to be more complex than you may initially think.

We know that core value alignment is critical to the success of everyone—internal and external stakeholders are equally at risk when the wheels fall off the bus.

Contrary to how we instinctively look at resolving or investigating problems, inconsistencies, and the “falling of Rome,” which is to work from the bottom up in our search for answers, I want to challenge you to work from the top down. This will give you a different perspective and will allow for you to be disciplined and organized in selecting and removing possible constraints and obstructions that may have attributed to core value inconsistencies.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: core values are the foundation of a company. Yes, this is true! But think for a moment of everything that is added to that foundation: employees, customers, R&D, Alliance partnerships, time constraints, leadership disciplines, marketing strategies, succession plans, team development, social awareness, and the list goes on.

Is the Leadership Lagging?

Let’s start at the top, shall we? Strong, consistent, effective leadership is essential to the overall success of any company. You can fake it for a while if you are an ineffective leader, longer than a non-compliant employee, but eventually the cracking and slow crumble will begin.

As a leader, you need, more than ever, to surround yourself with others that share your values, disciplines, and vision. Not only will you grow and flourish, but your company will as well, in every aspect. You need to be sensitive to whom you have in positions of authority who that will continue to support and maintain these values consistently.

There is, at times, the misguided belief that once you’re the boss, you no longer need to find inspiration, have a mentor, or remain flexible. You need to capitalize on this more than ever; you and your company are growing at rapid speeds in multiple directions, and it can be a bit of a juggling act. Therefore, flexibility and innovation is key.

If we know the leader is actively engaged, practicing what they preach, embracing their core values, engaging others effectively, teaching, and holding others accountable, we can move forward with confidence that the issues are within the organization’s network.

One Bad Apple

Taking a pragmatic approach in analyzing your internal stakeholders, assessing hiring decisions will tell you so much regarding who is attributing positively and negatively to the company’s success or struggles.

Who is executing hiring decisions, development, evaluations, and employee/employer resolutions?

Are they qualified?

Are they invested in the success of the company?

Are they engaged and developing themselves?

These are all important questions to consider when you are placing a key person in charge of your most valuable assets: your people!

It only takes one bad apple—one individual who is disengaged or disgruntled—to spread their dismay throughout the company, which eventually will bleed into external alliances and customers’ perspectives.

Therefore, constant communication with all employees is vital to the health of an organization. Depending on the size of the company, putting checkpoint processes in place to consistently have your thumb on the pulse of the company will allow for clear understanding and accountabilities.

A Sense of Belonging

Involving your employees in building, redefining, implementing and practicing your core values creates a buy-in and self-accountability. Creating an environment where your core values are embraced as daily practices will become part of the organization’s DNA and strengthen your employees’ personal core values, which should be reflective of the company’s values at point of hire.

Employees who know and see a company’s core values practiced consistently are more apt to join in and participate in practicing these value strategies than be the odd man out. We want to belong, and we want to belong where our own values can be fostered.

We Attract Who We Are

Whether you are hiring, creating alliances, or building your customer portfolio, you attract who you are. Remaining disciplined with your core values will minimize less than favourable connections.

If you have alignment in all aspects of internal stakeholders, you will find your external stakeholders fall into place and you will effectively create a reputation that will be attractive to join and participate with.

Processes, strategies, developmental practices, retention, productivity, and company growth will be supported in the overall success of the company and with individuals who have dually invested in it.

The Big Picture

There is much more involved in establishing a successful business than a great product and a few people to sell it.

Your foundation’s strength relies on your cornerstones, or what are commonly known as core values. Taking the necessary time to build and maintain those core values is essential to long term success and company evolution.

It isn’t as easy as throwing a few catch phrases or buzz words together; creating core values is or should be well thought out.

Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a company. They represent who you are, why you do what you do, and the goals you hope to achieve. They should be reflective of your company’s objectives and who you want to attract. Representing a platform of social awareness within your values and fulfilling on this commitment is strongly recommended.

Implementing those values and creating accountability processes, such as hiring practices, evaluations, strategic planning, and culture mapping, will support employer and employee alignment in core values and the organization’s overall success.

Consistent follow-up and effective communication throughout the organization’s network will support core value alignment and the overall culture of the company.