Use Your Core Values to Drive Decision Making: Here’s How …

Think about the last time you needed to use a screw-driver to turn a nail. Did the phrase, “lefty loosey, righty tighty” come to mind?

Phrases we’ve heard repeated and used in action a dozen times over become ingrained in our brains, so they help guide our actions and shape our decisions. This theory is played out at Tasty Catering, one of Chicago’s premier corporate caterers. By intentionally creating habits and cultural reminders of the organization’s core values, Tasty Catering’s leaders have offered their team members a guide for decision making that perfectly fits the organization’s culture and goals.

Learn how they do it in this short video, part of the Return on Values (ROV) research project.

Watch this video with your senior management team, then use the questions below to launch a discussion on integrating your own company’s core values. 

Discussion Guide

Tasty Catering’s team members repeat their core values before every meeting, giving colleagues a deep familiarity with the company’s guiding principles. These values are then called upon as team members make decisions and give feedback to colleagues. It’s not uncommon for a team member to stop someone, even a senior leader, and ask, “Are you sure you’re not forgetting value number two?”

With this in mind, discuss the video with your team:

  • Does your company have a set of core values? Are they reflective of what you want your company to be, and how you want team members to make decisions? If not, how could you revise your values to bring them more in line with your operating principles?
  • Take a walk around your facility. Are there visual reminders of the values? How would a new employee learn the company’s values and understand what they truly mean?
  • Think through your ongoing employee development and performance feedback. Do these processes reinforce your core values? Should they? If so, how could these processes be enhanced to reflect the core values?
  • Identify a decision you face in the coming weeks. Evaluate your options with your company’s core values in mind. Does this provide any clarity as to a course of action? Why or why not?
  • Tasty team members have created deep familiarity with their corporate values through regular repetition. Are there any rituals that would make sense, within your company, to help create familiarity and guide decision making?

Share your stories: How are values part of your company’s decision making process? How do you develop understanding of these values? Share your stories and processes with us!

About the Return on Values (ROV) research initiative: The ROV research initiative is a three year partnership between Inc’s Small Giants Community and the Center for Values-Driven Leadership to explore the relationship between culture, values, and business success in small to mid-size companies. This intensive, evidence-based research will result in case studies, measurement instruments, data, and insights that will help equip entrepreneurs and business owners to lead companies that perform well in the marketplace and care for employees, customers, and communities.

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