Align Your Business With Your Values

Core values are the center or heart of a firm’s identity – the philosophies, principles and beliefs that are held by a firm. That is why it is critical for you to take the time to clearly identify your firm’s core values – that which makes your firm unique – so you use them to make decisions about your firm, set goals, hire members of your internal team, and build relationships with your external team.

As business consultant and author Jim Collins points out – of the 3 basic elements that make up a firm’s vision, “the most important to great, enduring organizations are its core values.”

If you struggle to identify your firm’s core values, evaluate your own personal core values.  Your core values should be unique and personal and can be what gives you a competitive edge and sets your firm apart. Think about what values and beliefs make up your own identity. when you become aware of what truly makes you happy, you will find that you will be drawn to those projects and people who bring out the best in you and your firm – and are probably your ideal clients.

Remember that a firm’s core values will define how your team members will behave with each other as well as with your clients, so they consequently will clearly define your firm. A key reason to be sure to put time and thought into identifying your firm’s core values.


In Aligning Action and Values, Jim Collins explains two processes to rediscover your company core values, and if you have not put thought into identifying your firm’s core values previously, these might help as you begin to do so.

• Identify and realign your misalignments.
• Create new alignments.

Whether or not you have a team, list daily tasks that are not consistent with your firm’s core values. Maybe your core values include delegation or empowerment and yet you realize that your team members always have to ask you before they implement a policy or tactic. Reviewing your list of values may also help you to hone down the list to those few that are fundamental to your firm.

Apply a similar process by identifying who you want to hire as a member or members of your team. An article on goal setting and performance management advises that small firms stop and ask “What do I want my team to look like?” “What are the values that I expect my team members to demonstrate?”

Well defined core values will ensure that as you grow you will bring additional team members on board who will not only fit your job descriptions but also are aligned with your core values.

Separate yourself from the competition – clearly identify your firm’s core values, and you will find that not only will you be able to make more informed, positive decisions for your company, but you will more easily deal with problems or challenges.

As you identify your core values, you may be interested in this article:

Photo of Klaus Baer by Dana McGrath

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Drue Lawlor

Director of Business Transformation Coaching Drue leads our coaching and consulting. As a NCIDQ certified designer she and Gail co-developed the 12-month Strategic Business Transformation Group Coaching. The program leads the way in teaching designers how to build or redesign their businesses for profit and success. Outside of Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting she is the co-founder of Boomers with a Plan B. She is driven to help clients create a safer and healthier homes. You’ll find her in Senior Magazine and a contributor to the following books: Design for Aging: Post Occupancy Evaluations and Interior Graphic Standards, second edition.
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1 Comment

  1. Patricia Bean on February 3, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Yes, this is all true, and once we know who we want to build our career with and the type of project that we get excited about its easier to attract it.

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