When It’s Okay To Punt A Core Value

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16-05-2017

1 min read

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Take out a copy of your team’s core values. You know the one I mean. It’s either filed away in a folder called “Documents”, or perhaps it’s in that binder labeled “2007 Off-site Retreat”. It’s possible that it’s framed and posted on the wall in your staff coffee room.

I’ll give you a minute while you go get it.

Read each value statement carefully. You probably have between 8–12 of them. They are likely peppered with phrases like “relentlessly focused on” and “wholly committed to”. Powerful stuff, eh?

 
This might interest you: Values Do Matter! Find Out What Leaderonomics Value Statements Are…
 

The one I want you to zero in on is that one that jumps off the page, because quite frankly, it just doesn’t fit. If the last time you did a review of your core values was more than two years ago, then in all probability, there is at least one that simply doesn’t resonate with your present team.

You have three options:

  1. You can re-cast vision around that value, “blow-torching it” until it is being lived out once again among your team.
  2. You can take out the white-out and simply eliminate the value.
  3. You can ignore the discrepancy and re-file the core values document back where you found it.

I’m going to build a case for option No 2; that sometimes the best option is have the courage to hit “delete”. This sounds like leadership heresy, but hear me out.

Teams change. And sometimes along with those changes new values emerge and old ones become out-dated.

Recently our team did a review of our core values and discovered one that was clearly a reflection of a different time in the history of the organization. After trying desperately to make this value “fit”, we finally had to look at each other and admit:

“This value simply no longer reflects who we are.”

Don’t take the idea of deleting a core value lightly. This is a big deal. But be open to the possibility that a value once held in high regard by a previous team may simply no longer be true for this present team.

And have the courage to hit “delete”.

How do you keep your core values alive and relevant?

 

Scott is the vice president (International Ministries) of Willow Creek Association, an association that serves leaders through world-class leadership experiences and resources. To connect with him, email us at editor@leaderonomics.com. For more Thought Of The Week articles, click here.

 
Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com.

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