Do you ever find yourself in the lobby of another organization, staring at your own core values framed on their wall? Have you attempted to make a unique statement, only to discover that it is not so very different from everyone else’s?
To quote a little research from a recent article in the Harvard Business Review entitled Ban These 5 Words from Your Corporate Values Statement, 90% of companies reference ethical behaviour or use the word integrity, 88% mention commitment to customers, and 76% cite teamwork and trust. A core values document is supposed to inspire your employees in a way that is unique to your organization, but it seems the language is often not unique at all.
So, here are the five words you should never use in your core values statement:
- Ethical (or integrity)
- Teamwork (or collaboration)
Chances are you might recognize a few words from the list above. The problem with them is twofold according to this Harvard article – in the first place, they are really just table stakes for any business that wants to be competitive and, secondly, they don’t define what is distinctive about the organization.
This article goes on to describe a few ways you can differentiate yourself, and really define what is unique about your company through your core values statement. It’s definitely worth reading, and then incorporating in a way that is meaningful to you.