core business values

Do You Know Who You Are? Ask These 6 Questions to Determine Your Business’s Core Values

Posted 04 October 2016 by Stacey Papp

Quick: What’s a five-letter word for “a large group of commercial vehicles”?* 

Crossword puzzles belong to that golden era of gaming in the decades before Words with Friends (and, in terms of brainpower required, in the light years before Pokémon Go) when you didn’t need technology for a game – all you needed was a pen and some quiet (and maybe a cup of coffee). 

The standard bearer of the crossword puzzle lives within the pages of The New York Times, which pose a challenge even for the real crossword junkies.

Satiric writer David Sedaris has been public about his weekly agony: “It’s pathetic how much significance I attach to the Times puzzle, which is easy on Monday and gets progressively harder as the week advances. I’ll spend fourteen hours finishing the Friday, and then I’ll wave it in someone’s face and demand that he acknowledge my superior intelligence. I think it means that I’m smarter than the next guy, but all it really means is that I don’t have a life.” It’s called a hobby, David!

A crossword requires more than just some smarts, of course. You also need a little bit of a creative bent to your mind, as the definitions generally aren’t copied-and-pasted from the dictionary. If you’re a real CW aficionado, though, you’re probably a bit of a word collector, and sometimes you come across a word that is just so exotic that you can’t help but picture what the clue would look like.

Here’s one to test yourself with – 14 letters: introspection. 

Stumped? The word is something we can almost guarantee you’ve never heard in casual conversation, and maybe never even read in a book, but it’s something that everyone – and every business – needs to do from time to time: omphaloskepsis.

It’s a Greek word that literally means “navel gazing,” as in, looking at yourself as a meditation exercise – sort of pondering your own existence. Nuts, right? Who would ever think there’s a word for that?

It’s pretty important to do some navel gazing to figure out who and what you are as a business – what you stand behind and what you value. Some new businesses may have skipped this step, or, in the case of a family business passed down, the younger generations maybe haven’t taken the time to reevaluate Dad’s mission statement – but it’s not too late. In fact, even a business that actually has its core values outlined should take a fresh look at them to make sure they a) still apply, and b) are being worked toward daily.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself during your introspective process:

  1. Does the business currently value anything? If so, what? (Be honest – it’s OK to say “turning a profit” – but you may want to incorporate other values as well, such as culture, customer service, social responsibility/charity, or safety.) 
  2. Are they aspirational yet achievable?
  3. Why does the business value these things – what do they mean?
  4. How do they make your business unique?
  5. Can the company commit to these values in a way that informs daily behavior and the decision-making process?
  6. If so, how can the rest of the team be motivated to embody these values – how will these values be made actionable?

For a more in-depth look at what big companies like Google and Southwest Airlines value and – maybe more importantly – what NOT to do when creating yours, check out this handy guide from Buffer

And if during all your soul searching and navel gazing, you discover that better efficiency and productivity and an analytical, data-driven approach to decision-making processes are important to your business’s core values, consider integrating fleet management software into your toolbox of tricks. 

*It’s “fleet,” of course!

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Be sure to check out how Fleetmatics’ GPS vehicle tracking solution can help take the guesswork out of your day (and crossword puzzle)!