First, successful people became successful by having core values. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's time to listen up.
What Are They?
Core values are values that should govern how we operate and the standards that we rise to on a daily basis. When someone walks into your place of business, how do you deal with that person and the importance you put on the results of that meeting are your standards. How you treat that customer and how well you meet your own standards is the essence of core values.
When things do not go your way, when you are rushed, behind, in a hurry, having a bad day, it's under these circumstances that your standards and how you execute them makes the difference between success and failure. On our best days, most of us are capable of producing an effort that will result in favorable results for us. When things are going well, under optimum conditions, we can usually mange to get reasonable results. That is not to say that reasonable results is anything to shoot for, it is only establishing a base line for us.
The question is, how often does optimum results, ideal condition present themselves to us? 10%, maybe 20% of the time, tops. What do we do for the rest of the 80% plus time? Core values help us become better people. Having and adhering to these values, gives us a wall to put our backs up against and then look outward at the world. They give us an opportunity to define who and what we are. We get a chance to define what we are and how people can expect to be dealt with when they come in contact with us.
Joe runs a small plumbing business and services a town that he has lived in all of his life. When people call Joe, they know 3 things; he will always be there for them, he will do a good job and charge a fair price. Simple, straightforward core values. It's the only way someone in a small town can run a business and still be in business. Core values dictate the way you will operate. Sometimes you set the values; some times the values are set for you.
How Important Are They?
You are in the middle of the woods, its getting dark; you need to find your way back to the road where your car is. If you do not get out by night fall, there is a good chance you will freeze to death during the night, out alone in the woods with no gear and no way to start a fire. Luckily for you, you have a compass. Your core values are your compass for directing you through life, both personal and professionally. It's pretty easy to spot a business that does not have its core values in place. Businesses that do not have them have instead what I call the "any slop will do" mentality.
The easiest way to spot these rudderless businesses is to examine the results they produce. A successful business that has a set of core values will produce the same results every time. A business without them will be all over the map. Remember, "any slop will do" for these businesses. When I bring up my theory of any slop will do at seminars, this comment really gets people riled up. They take it as a personal affront; they take it as an attack on them personally. The reality is, they should.
Core values help us set a standard, the minimum that we will accept in terms of results. The minimum that we will accept is just establishing a start point; a point that we will build on and grow from.
It's Not What, It's How
Core values are not about the "what" you want to do but about the "how". "I want to make a certain amount of money, how will I go about doing that" is where your core values come in. "How will I treat the people I come into contact with, what quality will I want in the service or product that I produce, what can my employees expect from me, how will I deal with suppliers." etc.
Good results do not happen by chance. Successful people, people who are happy with their results did not get to where they were by leaving things to chance. They have a plan and they execute their plan. Part of that plan is ensuring a uniform high stand of operations.
One of the best explanations of what having and using core values really means is this, "core values dictate how you act when no one is watching and you still do it the right way."
Bryan Beckstead is the creator and developer of the Power Time System and the Power Productivity Maximizer and has been involved in the Self Improvement and Self Empowerment industries for almost 35 years. His aggressive, in-your-face approach has earned him a reputation as someone who will give you the facts without the usual sugar coating. If you are really serious about improving your quality of life, visit him at http://www.powertimesystem.com