Are core values really valued in Companies

Integrity, Respect, Consistency, quality and so on… Are they the same set of core values adopted by your company? Really? What a coincidence! hundreds of companies do so. Amazed, don’t be as there are many of them which may not even know what are the actual core values of their organisation, it’s a trend to set values in company, so they all do it without realizing its worth or its implementation.

Most often than not we get confused between the goals, culture and core values in an organisation, there is an organsation whose Core value was consistency, one of the trainer who was a friend of mine asked the MD of the company- “Why Consistency?” and he replied, “ Because we want our people to give consistent results in everything they do.”

The trainer was taken aback, as this was not the core value it was just a goal which the company wanted to achieve. This is exactly what confuses a lot many employees also and they actually stop believing in the phrase called CORE VALUES, as they see that the implementation of these so called values is not there at all.

I know of another company where everything was totally centralized (as in every decision was taken by or with the involvement of the MDs office, which is usually involved in making only important and not day to day decisions) and one of their core values was ACTION which meant taking their own decisions. Such was the hypocrisy and how do you think employees working in such companies would ever respect their core values leave aside the matter of following them.

One of my bosses used to tell me to breathe the core values of the companies and believe me we all used to do the same…the values became an integral part of our daily work that we hardly could get rid of them even after leaving that organisation. It is not just by designing the Mugs or diaries with the core values but also taking ownership of each decision or action taken keeping in mind the core value of the organisation. No matter how difficult it may look initially but once you start believing in them, they can bring back success and more success, and Yes dear friends I still breathe the core values of that company.

If we have to make the values successful then we have to take some real actions, such as:

Be true: Yes, to have a set of intelligent core values the company has to be true to itself so that what they are currently doing can be made their core values or even if it is an aspiration value they can actually imbibe them in their culture by making it clear to the employees the difference between the two, so that their trust can be held and they also believe in the similar authentic set of values. It should not be the case that the senior management says something else and the core values goes a separate way, no; both have to be persistent for their values.

Own it: Serious trouble starts in companies when the senior management or leaders of the companies do not own these set of core values. They pass it on as the work of employee relation or HR department, which is not true. HR can only help in proper communication, awareness, and ideas for implementation etc but the ownership of such things remains with the leadership management only. They cannot pass the buck by saying that HR is responsible for maintenance and adherence to the core values. No, it’s completely unrealistic and so the authenticity of such values is just not there. In such cases its better not to have any core values for the companies than to have the wrong ones.

Breathe them: live them, read them, believe in them and as my boss used to say breathe them, which is what makes them successful. Do not compromise on the core values no matter what. Lead by example, if as a leader you own them and start showing each one of them in all the areas of work, your team members will surely do the same. If you have a core value such as “PROFESSIONALISM” make sure you show such an outlook in everything you do, no conciliation allowed which may mean a decent attire, no gossips, no nonsense.

If “INNOVATION” is your Core value adapt it everywhere, give incentives for any new innovation or creativity, and distribute rewards in order to build the trust of your people in these values.

So go ahead, find out your core values and let your company be the proud owner of some Intelligent Core values.

Share your core values for better understanding and for  my learning. :)

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  • p. sri rama murthy

    This article on “core values” is excellent and learning.. My sincere felt thanks to the author

    With warm regards…P.Sri Rama Murthy

  • Having gone through numerous efforts by corporations to establish core values, all with good intention, the process breaks down both in understanding & execution. People need to really understand what the core values mean for them and their customers. Then, management needs to “walk-the-talk.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Mike for contributing….Core values can only work from Top to bottom, and sometimes have to be imposed also, very few cases would be there in the whole world where CORE VALUES are developed with consensus.



  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you so much Mr. Rama Murthy…I’m delighted to read your appreciation.



  • Yogendra Dikshit

    Let us first understand that core values are not “Attitude or Aptitude”. Core values are basically connected with universal value system and social ethics. This ethically governed or nurtured pattern determine different core value parameters. For a strong nation, strong society, strong enterprise, a company or a strong individual it is essential to adopt the core values in the every sphere of life, so that a value culture evolves that controls every delivery system of the nation. Be it governance, manufacturing, services so on so forth.Those who do not compromise values they are always on strong footing and finally succeed. Yogendra Dikshit, ISRO

  • rajesh

    CORE VALUES are essentially the set of behavior you expect from your employees to perform. The organization are known for their values which they use while dealing their stake holders/customer. Nice article to to gain knowledge !

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Mr. Dikshit, thank you so much for defining Core values for all of us.
    Indeed the value culture can bring better results even for the country,,but i feel we are still to go a long way for accomplishing that.
    Let us start with not compromising on the value system.

    Thanks Again…

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you Rajesh for the insights on the article. I’m glad you all liked it.

  • Yuvarajah

    Wonderful article on such a pivotal and crucial element of personal, group and organisational life.

    Mr Yogendra had said, core values are not “attitude”.

    But, is it not our ATTITUDE that feeds and nurtures the sustenance of core values. In the training realm, none of the newly acquired knowledge and skills means anything to performance without the attitude factor playing the foundation.

    Core values represent the internal locus of what shapes people’s perceptions, thoughts, behaviour, and attitudes. It forms part of a belief system in our they view the themselves, others and the surrounding world they come into contact. It operates silently within the the intra and inter-personal levels, but the ultimate measure of it’s existence is only manifested outwardly through actions and behaviour.

    Core values are nurtured and anchored to the tenets of what is acceptable from universal, nationally, societal or cultural context. It’s contextual. One man’s meat is another poison.e.g the core value driving the law governing Capital Punishment.

    It’s the same with the business world. A company establishes a set of core values to govern the fundamental thoughts, behaviour and performance of how they want to conduct their business. Of course, this is easier said than done. Inconsistencies prevail between preaching and actual. Enron, Satyam, Lehman, Worldcom, etc are good examples of how core values were infringed and violated.

  • Pradip Chavan

    Very true Archnaji!! I have similar experience. In one of the organisations I worked people never compromised on values, they are true, they own it and they breathe it.. Unfortunately I never found another organisation where people even understand the meaning of their core values..
    I’ll certainly share some core values which I followed, practiced and still do… Today I am in hurry and thought I should appreciate your efforts to put importance of values in apt words.. Thanks for this eye opener..

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Yuvaraj..

    Excellent contribution with examples to the write up and I’m deeply thankful for that.
    After I finished writing up this article was not satisfied with all that I wrote here, but now after reading your inputs on this..I’m feeling much better. :)

    Thanks again for completing it actually that too with nice examples of Satyam and Lehman…perfect examples of breaching the values.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Pradip…thanks a lot….

    It gives immense pleasure when efforts are appreciated…:)

  • I couldn’t agree more with your comments on a firm’s core values. The discussion really speaks to the larger issue of organizational consciousness. I’ve just read a great book called Resonanz: Energy Dynamics in Conscious Organizations in which the authors address the issues of core values, consciousness, and universal connectedness of a firm’s practices with its environment, society, and markets. It turns out that FORTUNE’s 100 Best Firms to Work For share the commonality of a one-pointedness or holistic approach to their businesses, and it pays off. These firms are two to four times as profitable as the S&P 500! I recommend this to anyone interested in organizational consciousness, because seeing organizational processes as more fundamental energetic movements helps explain how it all “fits” together.

  • Prafulla K Acharya

    Core Values of an organization are decided by its top management based on its beliefs, attitudes and opinions: certain basic assumptions underlying how we see, perceive and understand things around us. Core Values are based upon common feeling. thinking and doing on a set of accepted Operating Values and followed up observable behaviour by all members in the organization. But in actual practice the core values remain much less actualized at operating level.
    One organization claims Customer Focus is its top one among the other core values. Their operating values on this count are Courtesy, service orientation, sincerity, humility, promptness, patience, honouring commitments, punctuality, flexibility, attentive, empaty to name a few. But in practice all these declared operating values are very poorly actualized in their observable behaviour.
    Core Values determination is easy decision, but its actualization needs thorough ground work from top to bottom. In Indian feudal system we all plan all nice things, but in practice it seldom comes near its goal. This is a socio cultural issue in organization management to be given priority for bringing higher performance and productivity through total participation.
    Prafulla K Acharya

  • Matt Sabetti

    Some companies care , but many either don’t or pay lip service to the notion of “core values.” Research shows that the mere existence of formal CSRs (Corporate Social Responsibilities) or professed Core Values don’t necessarily translate to their existence in practice. I agree with Wayne and Yogendra, it really speaks to the difference between awareness and consciousness. For core values to “mean” anything, they must be lived as a lifestyle and not practiced as a work habit. As I say, this underscores the difference between awareness and consciousness. You can be aware of something on an intellectual level, but as Stephano Sabetti and Malcolm Gladwell have pointed out, consciousness is part of your very being. Thus you don’t have to ideate, moving the energy up into the intellect. Consciousness is the sum total of your direct and indirect experience, and so it’s in your fiber. Blink! and Resonanz: Energy Dynamics in Conscious Organiations discuss the importance of organiational consciousness, which has certain core values as inviolate in forming the nucleus of an interconnected firm that sees all organiational phenomena as inexorably connected. Thus the intellect , while important to creativity, is grossly overvalued. Most corporate decisions are based on consciousness, in the moment. Moreover, leaders succeed not by the supremecy of their intellect, but because they can connect to their associates on a personal level. It’s more about sensing and feeling what’s appropriate and on what level given the auience, geographic environment, needs of a diverse worker base, etc.
    For example, it’s become fashionable to talk about how “green” your firm is. But this behavior can’t be approached in a vacuum. If you’re “green” but mistreat your employees, dissonance – perhaps in the form of high turnover – disrupts organiational wholeness.

  • Rahul

    Very well articulated in small space.
    I fully agree that once we develop the intent we can definitely live the core values. It actually gives energy to work more effectively, take decisions, interact with stakeholders etc etc.

    Really valuable article it is.