Company Core Values Tips

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Business Writing as a Second Language

Writing skills are fast disappearing in the business world of the 21st Century. Poor high school and university preparation coupled with the lazy habits of the e-world have produced generations of poor writers. Here are six quick tips you can use to improve writing in your organization:
1. Stamp out Email language shortcuts. Require all company Emails to conform to 'business letter standards'.
2. Review all outgoing documents, correspondence and Emails until you are sure the writer is communicating in clear and concise English.
3. Don't hesitate to conduct training on how you want your organization's business correspondence and documents to appear. You do training on personnel, IT, and technical issues - why not writing?
4. Don't get too hung up on writing style issues. For example, some people like to start sentences with prepositional phrases, some don't. Academics frown on it all of the time but it can still be an effective tool. Remember, ten editors reviewing a single paragraph will give you ten new paragraphs.
5. Readability is the only measure of effectiveness for successful business writing. If the prose makes the reader fall asleep while reading, it's the writer's fault, not the subject.
6. Have writing contests for knotty problems. When faced with a writing situation that is difficult, assign the problem to a group of your staff and award a prize to the best response. You might be surprised at what you get.

These tips are just a few of the many techniques available to get your company on the road to higher sales and profits through good writing. A wise mentor once told me: "Write so that your reader understands you whether he wants to or not."


Live Your Values!

Live your Values! Once you discover and define core values that are the foundation of your company, speak them and live them. Weave them into your company's workplace so that every employee has a reference point for business practices and individual behavior.


Ask Why When Communicating Core Values

To clarify and distill a statement down to real purpose, use the "Five Whys" exercise.
The "five whys" exercise works like this: once you make a descriptive statement such as "We accept accountability for our products"

Ask why.
We are accountable to our customers and stakeholders.
Of that answer, ask why.
They expect of us quality products and services.
Of that answer, ask why.
We are experienced and an expert at what we do.
Of that answer, ask why.
We are individually qualified and, as a team, we produced the world's most respected and preferred widget.
Of that answer, ask why.
We take responsibility for our decisions at the individual and company levels.
After such in-depth discussion, the answers will reflect a deeper sense of purpose.


Core Values in the Workplace

Write the list.
Once defined, communicate core values. Be creative and consistent in promoting them, both inside and outside the company.

Live your Core Values.
Reinforce your Core Values. Make them a reference point for your business practices, and hold them up as guidelines for individual behavior within your company.


Questions to Ask About Core Business Values

Select three to five people who have a clear understanding, strong credibility with peers, and competence in your business.

Questions to ask:
What values are so important to you that you would keep them even if not rewarded?
What values would you want passed on to your offspring and heirs?
If you had enough money to retire tomorrow, what values would you continue to hold?
What values can you see being valid 100 years from now?
Would you hold a core value even if it became a competitive disadvantage?
What values would you take to a totally new organization in another industry?


How to Share and Communicate Core Values

Name a champion of the cause. Enlist a top executive to make Core Values his or her personal issue to support, promote, and blatantly mention them at every opportunity.

Remind managers and officers to refer to and reinforce the company's Core Values in meetings and gatherings.
Name an ethics officer. Identify a respected person to be the official guardian, representative, and keeper of the company's Core Values.

Write and disseminate a policy containing the Core Values. Deliver it through official channels. Make clear that it is to be highly valued and a reference for individual behavior.

Support your company's values with a system of rewards and sanctions. Encourage employees to conduct business with those values in mind. Give constructive feedback, recognizing, and encouraging adherence to Core Values.


Express Company's Core Values

Express your company's core values in a way that:

-inspires support and commitment,
-motivates those who are connected to the organization,
-is convincing and easy to grasp,
-uses proactive verbs to describe what the company does,
-is free of jargon, and
-is short enough so that anyone connected with the company can readily repeat it.


Step By Step Business Core Values

Work from individual values to a set of organization values. Committee members must individually articulate personal values and, as a group, resolve differences when they surface.

Decide who will define your company's core values.
Assess each person's idea of values: What core values are important to individuals? What core values are important to the organization? What core values are important to other stakeholders (investors, customers, suppliers, unions, communities, governments)?
Clarify and resolve the differences of opinion that will naturally arise. Select the company core values that should be in the final list.


What are Core Values?

Core Values are statements that express an organization's ethical commitments. The exact format of a company's Core Values is less important than the fact that they exist, that the company recognizes and defines them, and encourages employees to follow them.
In this section you will find three "brain-starters" - questions to ask as you begin, a step-by-step procedure, and a list of possible Core Values from which to choose.

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