Are you clear about your organization’s core values?

Are you clear about your organization’s core values? - Pinnacle People Solutions

The other day, when I met Mr. Vijay Mehta who runs electrical equipment business, he announced “I had to terminate employment of Mr. Anup Shah who was heading our logistic function for past several years.” When I asked Mr. Mehta for the reason, he replied “There were instances that made me realize that he was not fit with our core values.”

The question which came immediately to my mind was “What took so long to realize that Anup’s core values were not aligned with that of the company?” Investing in a person whose core values were not fit and that too for such a long period seemed like a big waste.

The real reason Mr. Mehta ended up hiring Mr. Anup and then keeping him around in spite of mismatch of his (Anup’s) values was because Mr. Mehta himself was not clear about his organization values and culture. The confusion was not at employee’s level but at the business owner’s end. This was a cause of worry.

Lack of clarity of their organization’s core values and resulting instances such as the one mentioned above are pretty common among family business owners.


What do core values mean?

The set of principles which you as business owners believe from bottom of your heart and follow consistently and unconsciously are your personal core values. Needless to say, there is no such thing as a right or wrong set of core values.

Typically, the core values of founder-owners that they want to see incorporated in their organization become organization’s core values.

An excellent example would be that of Infosys. Integrity & meritocracy, which were common core values of founders, became the core values of the organization.


Why should one care about organization’s core values?

Organization’s core values are great binding factor and platform for creating organization’s culture thereby achieving vision and core purpose of existence.

Core values act as a guiding light while making crucial decisions, changing business goals or even moving to altogether into to a different business. Ultimately, your organization’s core values create differentiators between the organization and its competitors.

With no core values, the organization will be spineless. In other words, it will encourage making a profit at cost of anything.


If my organization doesn’t have clearly defined core values, how do I find them?

The discovery process of core values can be as simple as asking questions such as following.

  • What do your clients recognize and remember you for?
  • What are the unwritten or unsaid principles on which organization will never compromise on?
  • What are the activities that you (as an organization) consistently and unconsciously do better than others?
  • What do your organization do consistently to satisfy your clients?

There are several techniques and templates available for defining core values, but in my opinion, the only thing necessary for organization’s core values is resonance with business owner’s own values.


The point I want to bring forward through this article is that consciously spending time to define clear core values is in the long term interest of an organization.  Often, defining core value seems abstract and thus a ‘non priority’ exercise for family business owners. However, what they don’t realize that, over time and especially as the organization grows, ambiguity in core values will impact the choices organization will make. And, this can lead the organization to a path that is completely misaligned to the values it was started with.

As they say, if you don’t know which direction you want to go, any direction will do.

Please let me know you thoughts and experiences, by commenting below.



Note 1: As I have mentioned in the article, lack of clarity of their organization’s core values is pretty common among family business owners. However, getting this clarity is problem half solved.

Once business owners are clear about the organization values, they have to consistently articulate and nurture the values over time. Articulating & nurturing core values are a separate article topics in themselves and I will be covering them in my next article.

Note 2: This article is written based on my professional experience at Pinnacle and other companies. Pinnacle specializes in working with the management of family-owned companies to craft & implement HR Strategies to accomplish their business vision & goals.

Note 3: Name of the person & business type mentioned in the starting part of the article are fictitious. Original names have been withheld for privacy.


  • Why Values in Business alone, the whole life without Values be that be religious, social, family or political, will be as like a Body without soul.. under the guideline from Deepak Ji, we too are working on a Value Based organisation. its not difficult task. rather life becomes much more manageable.looking forward to read more on the subject. regards. ashok jain

    ashok jainNovember 7, 2013
  • Mr. Patil,
    This is a very good article.
    The challenge is that Family Owned Businesses (FOB) doesn’t realize the importance of defining Core Values. And not just defining, they need to tell the whole world about these values on which the organization if founded. The FOBs are backbone of Indian economy and will remain so. But to compete with Global companies and to enter in the world market, we have to have our Vision, Mission, Values and Goals clearly defined.
    I am sure you will continue to work with FOBs to enable them to take on the world.

    Bharat A. ChhedaNovember 8, 2013
  • I fully agree to the contents of the article and specially so in SMEs (small & medium enterprises). I believe that VMV – Vission, Mission & Values form the pillars of any organization. Values are like the ‘Light-House’ which guides ships during difficult times. Values help to bring sustainability within an organization.
    Mr. Deepak Patil’s rich experience is able to bring out the root causes for failures or limited success of the SMEs. The series of articles started by Mr. Patil can be a boon for companies who want to come out of their limiting growth and excel, especially the FOBs.
    Looking forward to such value added articles.

    Kailash B. AsharNovember 8, 2013

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