Good core values create a side-effect of easier decisions

I have spent entire weeks of my life in meetings choosing sides of a discussion, arguing semantics, listing out pros and cons, and defending positions. I imagine you have a similar experience.

One of the most interesting and valuable side-effects of clear core-values is their impact on decision making.

When I was at Zappos, so many decisions in meetings finally came to a head when someone was able to cite a core value that clearly justified one of the options.

This worked because it required the application of the core value to be so evidently true, that the vast majority of people agreed immediately without hesitation. In other words, it cannot be forced, and cannot be manipulated. It is not a ‘get out of jail free card’. It works when we are all mentally and psychologically able to buy into the decision, and move on to the next one.

If you haven’t written down your core values, you might want to spend some time on it. They already exist, and they are already shaping the culture of your business. So why not name them, and be intentional about allowing them to help drive your decisions.

Bonus hack: We usually create core values that are a sentence or two long. This is good becuase it allows us to *fully* express the nuances of what we believe. But, it is worth thinking about what the really short, quotable version of your core values would be as well. e.g. bellow is a quotable version of the full core values

  • Delight the Consumer
  • Be a partner
  • Create openness
  • Maintain highest standard
  • Lead by example, not just words
  • Be Aware
  • Earn the future
  • Encourage open communication
  • Empowered to do what’s right
  • Prefer agility and innovation

What are your core values?