Core values have received more attention in the past year than ever before. More companies are recognizing that improving their office culture is a strategy that leads to sustainable success and at the center of a company’s culture are the core values in which they truly believe.
I learned the term “core values” when a previous employer handed me a laminated card with Core Values printed at the top. There was no further discussion, no training, and we never heard about those laminated core values again. Not so powerful. They were not core to the company’s way of doing business and they were not values that anyone truly lived by.
When I started building the Zog brand I knew I wanted to create core values that could live beyond our leadership team and flow to every employee, partner, vendor and customer. Our core values are fun, team player, caring, reliable, own it and continuous improvement.
The Zog core values dictate what we should and should not do. They are our rules of engagement.
1. They are actions that display the best aspects of the company. Look at your team. When you think about your rock star employees, what do they do that you wish everyone would do? How do they behave in challenging situations? How would your company grow if everyone behaved like that?
2. They are already present in the organization. Core values are not aspirational like Enron’s granite sculpture chiseled with the word INTEGRITY. Core values already exist and are performed consistently by many team members.
3. They are the basis for hiring and firing. This is key. ZogSports/ZogCulture has an entire interview dedicated to assessing a candidate’s core values fit and our hiring scorecard has ratings for all six of our core values. You can always teach people how to do their job but you can’t teach someone core values. They either have them or they don’t. Firing for not adhering to the core values shows everyone at your company, and your customers, that you are serious about keeping your core values alive.
4. We are willing to take a financial hit to keep them intact. Many companies have that star performer who is also difficult to work with. Even if it’s your best salesperson or your lead engineer, a person who does not believe in your core values undermines everything your company stands for. When your other employees see their coworker acting against the company’s core values, they will stop using the core values to make decisions and may even stop believing in the company. By ridding the company of a negative core value fit, your other employees will rally and pick up the slack.
The value of having core values
Core values provide a framework and foundation so that my team has the flexibility to make decisions that will be best for the company. The beauty is that because our core values are alive within our organization, my team makes the same (usually significantly better) decisions than I would have made in the same situation. When every employee has the tools to own their decision-making, it allows the company to scale faster because our management team doesn’t need to weigh in on most decisions.
If you believe that what we believe and want to join us, check out our career and part-time opportunities at https://www.zogsports.com/join-the-team.aspx
About the Author
Robert Herzog, Founder and CEO, ZogCulture and ZogSports
I believe life is better with real personal connections, caring communities and a sense of play. I founded ZogSports after my close call on 9/11. In 2012, we launched ZogCulture to help create playful experiences at work so that employees can connect, be part of a community, and infuse play into the DNA of their company’s culture. We are directly impacting over 150,000 people per year across the country and have donated over $3.4M to charity. In 2017, Zog made the Crain’s Best Places to Work list (again!) and earned the prestigious B Corporation “Best For the World — Community” award.
If you’re interested in this sort of stuff, I have an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from Wharton and a BA in Economics (which I rarely use) from Brown. I live and play in NYC with my awesome wife of 15+ years and two super active, sporty boys.
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