Does Your Company Have Core Values to Live By?

Core ValuesWow!  You actually opened a post with the title “core values?”  I’m a little surprised.  Many people look at “core values” and roll their eyes.  After all, most companies have them and they are generally very nice, very aspirational…and very stale.

You can imagine that they were created by a strange consultant with trendy glasses, who smelled like Mountain Dew and Altoids, who came to the office and spent a day in a conference room – or maybe a result of that executive retreat a few years ago where we all heard Alex got a little tipsy and crashed the golf cart.

But, so what? What do they really mean when push comes to shove?  How do you use them?

At their worst, Core Values are corporate jargon and a company joke – Enron, after all, had values of respect, integrity, communication, and excellence.

But used in the right way, they can be amazing – dare I say magical!  They can allow a company to develop a culture that exists without a lot of oversight.

At The Fool we really do try to live our core values every single day.  And they’re a little different than your typical corporate buzz words.  Here they are – created by a broad section of Fools from several departments and tenures.

You can see them on the wall as soon as you walk through the front door on our culture tour. But they don’t live there – they live in our culture and in each Fool’s daily actions.

Be Foolish!

  • Collaborative - Do great things together.
  • Innovative – Search for a better solution. Then top it!
  • Fun – Revel in your work.
  • Honest – Make us proud.
  • Competitive – Play fair, play hard, play to win.
  • Motley – Make Foolishness your own. Share your core value _____________.

Okay, great – but how do you know you are living them?  What about the pushing and shoving I mentioned earlier? For me it’s about these four questions, and I ask myself these questions frequently for each value:

  1. Do we hire for this value?
  2. Will we fire for this value?
  3. Can you see and feel this value walking through the office?
  4. Is the value referenced frequently?  Really? When was the last time?

In the next couple of posts I’ll answer these questions for each value to give you a greater sense of what they mean and how they simultaneously drive and reflect the culture of The Fool.

About SamCicotello

Chief Learning Officer Chief Rabblerouser Professional Boat Rocker Envelope Pusher Brain Expander

7 Responses to “Does Your Company Have Core Values to Live By?”

  1. Great post Sam, a lot of people preaching values or hanging it on the wall, but few truly mean it!

  2. Simply just want to mention I am just pleased that i came in your web site.

  3. I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!


  1. Core Value #1: Collaborative — Do Great Things Together | Best Places to Work - March 29, 2013

    […] are my honest answers to questions I referenced in my first post about core […]

  2. Core Value #2 — Innovative: Search For a Better Solution. Then Top It. | Best Places to Work - April 15, 2013

    […] are my honest answers to questions I referenced in my first post about core […]

  3. Core Value #3: Honesty – Make us Proud | Best Places to Work - July 16, 2013

    […] – as promised in my first post, here are the answers to our values […]

  4. Core Value #4 : Fun – Revel in Your Work | Best Places to Work - September 26, 2013

    […] Please note that our values are not actually rank-ordered.  I call this #4 to help blog readers keep track.  See the full list of values at Core Values to Live By. […]

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