It took us a couple of years, but early in our development, COACT created what we call a Vision Document. We came together as a group and completed the important work of determining a platform of the belief systems and strategic architecture that would guide our corporate activities.

We used a framework that I developed years before for my consulting work. I believe all good work begins with a strong base that clarifies an organization’s shared beliefs – core values, if you will. These core values are guiding principles that are not easily ignored, even when making financial decisions.

When we began to plan our marketing platform for 2014, we gravitated toward the idea of focusing some of our messaging around our core values. Our intention was not to sell COACT, as much as it was to inspire others to consider what it might feel like to work with a company that thinks the way we do. Personally, I believe organizations spend far too much time talking to their prospects about the same things that their competition talks to them about. What really differentiates organizations is what they believe in, how they think about their work, their approach to solving problems, especially in more mature industries.

The statement leading into this article is one of our core values; we fearlessly pursue a better way – we continuously improve the current condition. Those of you who work with us know that our work starts with a process of understanding the current state of your business growth process. From there, we build an idea of the future that is the vision for our work together. We build these elements into our work and take action that will move our clients from where they are today to where they want to be.

“You might say we fearlessly pursue a better way.”

So, whether you call it your belief system or core values, or bundle this work into a corporate ethics document, these enduring tenets should describe how you feel about your work and how you take action day-to-day. These tenets are core to the way you make decisions and key to differentiating your organization in the market. If there are times when you feel that you are on unstable ground, or your people system isn’t responding as you think it should, it is likely due to uncertain or ignored organizational core values. People who don’t see their leaders acting predictably, as their core values infer, lose their way and begin to question the business system.

Here is a process that might help you determine your core values, your shared belief systems:

    • Get the right people in a room
    • Ask the group to respond to a couple of questions (usually it is best to prepare a handout for reflection and then ask each person to share their thoughts):
      • In our organization, what do we make a point to recognize and celebrate?
      • Likewise, what causes great concern or “shakes” our organization?
    • Ask the group to process common themes or threads of thought
    • Organize and name those common themes
    • What you celebrate and the opposite of what causes you concern are the themes that will help you design your core values

I hope you will fearlessly pursue a better way, leading your organization on the journey of continuously improving your current condition.