Why Core Values Are So Darn Important

Core Values

Core Value is a term that you may recognize, but what does it actually mean? And how can installing core values make for healthier business? 

Talking about ‘core values’ may feel like corporate lingo used to butter up your direct debit information, but it’s not actually as sinister as you may think.

Core values remain imperative for survival in the current healthcare market. Not only do they bring an influence to the identity of each business, but the values function as a beacon for staff and employees. 

The company handbook may say one thing, but core values focus on how people should act, how and why they may receive recognition or reward, and under what circumstances they may be punished. Not to mention daily goals! 

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Even SPECTRE, the fictional terrorist organization from the James Bond franchise, operates with core values in place. 

Granted, they may focus on behaviour around the Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. However, they are still in place to provide morals and guidance – even if they are a tad degraded and sinister. Just like Nestlé

So, have you got core values in place for your business? If the answer is yes, then you already know what we are talking about. If you don’t have core values in place, then we can help you out with this blog post. 

First off, let’s explore what core values actually are before discussing how to set your own. 

What are Core Values? 

Why core values are important

Values are what you do. Not what you say. 

Basically, core values are the fundamental beliefs that steer a company or person towards a particular way of thinking. As guiding principles, these core values dictate behaviour and mannerisms when conducting professional activity. 

A company’s core values can be used to understand (and teach) the difference between right and wrong and create goals for quarterly reviews, in-house guides, etc. These values lay the foundations for a company to build. They can also determine the outcome of HR proceedings in larger organizations. 

Boiled down, it’s like a great big check sheet of behaviour and targets that are accepted and promoted by the businesses. These values define how the business should conduct itself and how employees should behave on company time. This time often spills outside the business world, primarily if a specific value determines additional missions to serve the community. 

Core values are most often found as part of a company’s mission statement and can include commitments towards sustainability, innovation, excellence, loyalty, and reliability. Mission statements are commonly displayed on a company’s website, and merge into a cornerstone for digital marketing. More on that later. 

What About Negative Core Values?

Core values become your DNA

Core Values become the company’s DNA.

While some businesses and people expressly share their proud core values, the best way to determine real objectives and beliefs is to examine how they behave. It would be corporate madness to display true intentions should the actual core values revolve around profit from sordid activity. 

Sadly, sordid activity is often the case. For example, tobacco companies bleat about their core value concerning care for others, yet emphasize profit over public health. 

The same story usually applies to those businesses that mass-produce alcohol, encourage gambling, or work with chemicals that poison the environment. These activities don’t sit with a stated core value of environmental care, which is known as greenwashing

Naturally, no business would advertise their negative core values. Still, you can judge what lurks beneath the surface by how their representatives act when it really counts. After all, a core value is only accurate and true if it influences professional conduct and business acumen

Ask yourself this – is the business in question making the world a better place? You should be able to boil down their activity into evident core values. To find the values, seek out what is being rewarded in the business. What goes unsaid, yet passes as acceptable behaviour and remains unpunished, speaks more than what the bosses claim their values reflect. 

Take a look at Nestlé – Good Food, Good Life. The mothering company that cares about humanity and our wellbeing, right? The core values say so. Think again (have a read of this). Not that it would be in their benefit to explain what they are up to!

Why Core Values Are Important

Why core values are important

The typical business tycoon will tell you that ‘a business without core values is not a business’. 

We can’t help but agree. By having clear company-wide core values, you ensure that both you and your employees are working towards the same positive goals. It keeps everyone on track and provides support for future successes and positive workplace culture. 

Having core values also provides a platform for business decisions and aligned values, not to mention providing a base for delivering excellent customer service and encouraging innovation.

In a nutshell, core values are instrumental in shaping company culture and business strategy. As a direct result, the values also hold a bearing upon team communication and spirit, purpose, and lay down the foundations for individual commitment and trust between employee and manager; and vice versa. 

Those who operate their businesses without implementing core values can find themselves adrift without guidance, leading to poor business decisions and a dent in revenue and profits (or worse)! 

Finally, competent and realistic core values have a profound impact on employee engagement. If an employee identifies with their employer’s core values, then they are more likely to feel engaged with their position. And we all know that a happy employee means a vital service can be provided – which leads to customer loyalty and trust. It all comes together in a neat little package.

Example of Core Values from Google

Google's Core Value - Don't Be Evil

As J.D Meir explained in this LinkedIn post about the core values of the digital corporate giants, these values are a key component of the 5 elements of organizational architecture

As such, massive conglomerates make a big point about following their core values. Take a look at Google’s and see how their values fit with the company’s current global image (and look out for the bit about being evil):

We want to work with great people.

Technology innovation is our lifeblood.

Be actively involved; you are Google.

Don’t take success for granted.

Do the right thing; don’t be evil.

Earn customer trust and user loyalty and respect every day.

Sustainable long-term growth and profitability are key to our success.

Google cares about and supports the communities where we work and live. 

Setting Up Your Own Core Values

How to set your core values

Remember: You have to live by these values.

Heed the advice above and pick core values that are feasible and will remain true to your character and business intentions. Don’t try to be outlandish and insist on living outside the box. Most importantly, tell the truth. Don’t try to hide your unscrupulous plans behind kind and sweet-sounding words should you not plan on sticking by them. Practice what you preach! 

So, how would you go about setting up your core values? Firstly, don’t work on these only by yourself. If you have team members, family, and friends that can assist, then get them involved. 

Brainstorming as a group will provide self-control if you are the boss, and bring diverse viewpoints to the party. Suppose everyone keeps an open mind and encourages each other. In that case, you can drill down into the company mantra and dig out common consensus areas – such as patient’s dependability or resourcefulness and innovation. 

EOS – Entrepreneurial Operating System – recommends that you try these questions:

Which values have we been using to make decisions?

Does any one value stand out or shine through?

How do our values shape our actions?

Are there any values that seem out of alignment or that we aren’t using?

Are we learning anything else about our company that should be included in our values?

After putting core values to paper, revisit them after a month or so. If everyone agrees that they still hold up, then you’re on the right path! 

If you already have a mission statement (not everyone can remember theirs – best to reacquaint yourself!), then your statement can provide a great starting point for your core values. Take a good hour to sit down with your mission statement and examine it to see what core values come naturally. 

core values

You can also ask yourself and your team some questions. By placing yourself in your patient’s shoes, certain questions can help you see the whole picture. Some fundamental questions that should help you view your clinic in a different light include dealing with moral stance – what behaviours would the clinic value over profit and bonuses? 

Are your morals tailored towards hard work, compassion, care and value? Or are they merely about the money? Be truthful! 

Perhaps you are trying to shake up the medical world by focusing on lesser-known treatments that bring amazing results – such as Myofascial Release Therapy? 

Don’t forget – these values should represent both yourself and your team, too. Many businesses have core values that home in on a work-life balance and a high standard of well being for employees and business partners. 

This may sound uncool to those who are purely in it for the cash, but you shouldn’t pay those personalities any concern. These are YOUR core values

It’s a healthy exercise to take on your client’s viewpoint. It ensures a successful future as you are dependent in many ways upon customer feedback. Each market niche is different, and therefore the clients are after different ‘wow’ factors. 

Those factors could revolve around friendliness, a family-feel in the clinic, a compassionate approach to acute problems ‘down stairs’, or constant pain relief improvement from chronic discomfort. 

Core values from your customer's viewpoint

Also, try to be as specific as possible. Your clinic’s core values should provide a lens of clarity and judgement when taking on business decisions – such as hiring a new member of the team, or investing profits into a new service or venture. 

For example, SPECTRE wouldn’t hire 007 as he doesn’t fit the culture and won’t share the villain’s mission statement for world domination. Coincidentally, James Bond would probably be rejected from Nestlé’s hiring process for precisely the same reason. Bond doesn’t share the core values of doom and will have to look elsewhere. 

In the real world, when hiring a PT or member of the marketing/admin/front of house, your core values should be reflected in who you take on. Suppose your values strive towards continuous improvement, timeliness, professionalism, and ‘not being evil’. In that case, you are unlikely to hire someone who doesn’t follow the same mantra. Taking this route is not just best for you but also best for your clinic

Core Values in Digital Marketing

Core Values in Digital Marketing

This is a lot to take in, I realize. So I’ll cut to the chase. In the continually changing digital landscape and the barrage of incoming digital marketing and click-bait, there’s one constant that you can use to retain clients and remain steady – your core values

Your core values will define your clinic – right from day one – and provide a consistent tone across your digital marketing platforms. This can take the form of email campaigns, social media, your company website/blog, display advertising, PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns, or whatever format you feel fits best. 

If you remain true to your values, then you’ll be able to measure your success in digital marketing by the quality of your converted leads. If you want some help with this aspect, then reach out and get in touch with us. We’d be happy to point you in the right direction! 

Core Values: In a Nutshell

Core Values

If you want to run a successful company/business/medical practice, you need to lay down some truthful company core values. However, living by those core values can be difficult. It’s incredibly common for teams to set these values and then fall by the wayside.

By utilizing a clear set of core values, you can establish your company’s vision and identify what you are as a business. Keeping your core values in mind provides guidelines and principles that steer your business decisions for the better.

In crafting a set of core values, you need to be honest and not try anything radical if you don’t have the professional bandwidth to accommodate them. If you don’t stay open to your real intentions, you’ll fail to make them a meaningful part of company culture – and then your marketing and trust factors will suffer accordingly. 

All of your business decisions should be based on these core values. Without them, your initiatives, plans for innovation, strategies, and prioritization will falter.

Flemming Arnott

Flemming Arnott

Flemming helps PT business owners all around the world to acquire more new patients by building websites that educate prospects, establish trust and ultimately generate leads. He has worked with Paul Gough for over 10 years and has more than 20 years experience in the industry. Flemming is the "go to" expert for PTs who no longer want to rely on doctor's referrals and who put the patient experience first, with a desire to succeed in the new healthcare world.

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About The Author

Flemming Arnott

Flemming helps PT business owners all around the world to acquire more new patients by building websites that educate prospects, establish trust and ultimately generate leads. He has worked with Paul Gough for over 10 years and has more than 20 years experience in the industry. Flemming is the "go to" expert for PTs who no longer want to rely on doctor's referrals and who put the patient experience first, with a desire to succeed in the new healthcare world.