Home Why You Need Core Values

Why You Need Core Values

What gets you up in the morning? Seriously think about it. Your alarm goes off; why are you getting out of bed? Of course, many adults would say they have to pay bills, provide for a family, and save for a great vacation, but there has to be more, right? It can’t just be all about money? If it were all about money, you would go to the worst company if they paid you well, and you would stay at a terrible job that provides a good value for you. The truth is, money is part of why we get up, but what keeps us going each day is much deeper than that. It’s more tied to core values and who we are than we may even know.

The average adult makes about 35,000 decisions a day. However, have you ever wondered what guides the process behind making these decisions? Do you know what influences your choices?

Almost all the decisions you make in life stem from your core values. Your core values encompass your foundational beliefs. They dictate your behavior and help you make the decisions you do.

Both personal and business core values are essential if you want to succeed, especially in today’s modern remote workplace. Moreover, these values are broad concepts you can repeatedly apply to various situations to guide your actions. In this article, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at core values, why they matter, and how to discover yours.

What is a Core Value? Core Values Meaning

Core Values

The broad definition of core values is that they are a set of fundamental beliefs, ideals, or practices that an individual or organization operates from. They are the principal perspectives that guide the way a person or organization behaves with others.

People and organizations usually have about 10 or fewer core values. Identifying core values for yourself or your company can provide structure and guidance in challenging situations. For example, let’s say one of your core values is honesty. In this instance, you decide whether or not to keep certain pieces of information confidential or not. 

To better understand core values, let’s look at personal and business core values.

What are Personal Core Values?

Core values are standards that guide the choices and actions of people. Usually, we make decisions based on the possible impact they’d have on our values. However, most of the time, we do this unconsciously. This is because we are aware that our core values can have ambiguous implications. 

Core values influence behavior and form beliefs. Therefore, personal core values are important for personal development. They can guide you to make intelligent decisions by considering your strengths, wants, and needs.

Examples of personal values include honesty, loyalty, reliability, consistency, and commitment. People in happy relationships often say that their partners share the same values. This means that they both share the same core values that dictate how they live their lives.

In an ideal world, all of our core beliefs will be positive. However, we are not living in an ideal world, and values like greed and self-interest exist. Negative values can develop if you’ve had to survive in a challenging situation or if you live in fear.

How to Discover Your Personal Core Values

1. Write Down your Values

Review the core values list below and write down the ones that resonate with you most. Choose the values that best describe your feelings and behaviors. You add other values if it’s not on our list as well.

2. Consider the People You Admire Most

Often, values are personified in those we love and admire. When we admire a quality in Someone, it is usually because it is something we value as well. Make a list of 6 people that you admire.

This can include a colleague who you admire because of their dedication or a family member because of their empathy. You can also include people you consider heroes. For example, many people admire Martin Luther King Jr. for his commitment to fighting for social justice.

The idea here is to note the values of 6 people you admire. 

3. Consider your Experiences

If you want to learn about your values, reflect on your life’s best and worst moments. Then, think about what these moments revealed about your core values—for example, winning an award as a professor. This means leadership and motivating others are important to you. Meanwhile, negative and painful experiences may have taught you empathy and compassion for others.

4. Time to Consolidate

After drafting your master list of core values, it’s time to consolidate and categorize them. For example, if you have optimism, motivation, and inspiration, they can all go into one category.

5. Identify your Central Theme

Choose a word that best represents the group once all your core values are in categories. You can leave the other words in the group to give the main word more context. For example, if you wrote values like loyalty, commitment, and honesty, group[ them under a core value of “human relationships.”

6. Choose your Top Ones

The number of core values differs from person to person. However, it is always best to narrow them down to five or ten. From your list, choose the top values that are essential to your life. You can always come back to your list to see if your top picks reflect your core values. If they don’t, you can always adjust them to ensure they’re in the correct order.

What are Business Core Values?

Like personal core values, business core values are guiding principles for the choices and actions businesses operate from. They will help with the marketing you do and the technology you choose. However, they differ from company to company and are mainly pre-set while you have to uncover your personal ones.

An organization’s core values cover all activities, including the various strategies used to fulfill a purpose and how everyone interacts with each other. They are the core elements that set the work ethic of the organization. 

Importance of Business Values

Business core values facilitate decision-making. An organization will eliminate any product if its core value stands behind quality. These values let potential and current clients and customers learn about the company’s identity. They give the customers an idea of what to expect when doing business with the company. A solid set of core values can help put a company one step ahead in a competitive market.

Core values can even help when recruiting new employees. Job seekers tend to apply for jobs at companies that share the same core beliefs as them. Core values help to distinguish a company’s identity in various ways. As a result, a company can become more competitive in the marketplace and as an employer. This is because both its clients and employees know what it stands for.

According to Forbes Magazine, “Employers should trade 90 percent talent for just 10 percent character.” A company’s productivity can increase when it attracts like-minded employees who share the same core values. In addition, companies that abide by their core values show integrity which can foster loyalty.

Business core value also affects behavior. Defining and enforcing specific values can inspire employees to go above and beyond for the company. Core values can help shape the work environment and maintain high performance regardless of the circumstances.

How to Identify Business Core Values

1. Assign Someone to be In Charge

It is essential to choose Someone to be in Charge of this process. It can either be one person or a group of individuals. Decide how accountability will be kept and ensure the main focus is on core values, not aspirational ones. It may seem insignificant, but it can be hard to tell the difference between what you hope to achieve when you’re constantly in it as part of your daily life. 

2. Bring everyone on board

It is vital to bring everyone on board. A diverse group of people with different organizational skills may prove beneficial. This includes managers, executives, product developers, frontline employees, and customer service representatives. Moreover, part-time employees and even interns can help.

Try to get commitment from the executive leadership team, C-suite, or co-founders as well. Engage them in discussions about why it is important to have core values and what difference they can make?

3. Get Inspired

The next thing you can do is find other companies in your industry and, beyond that, inspire you. Check out their list of core values. Take the time to go through every single one of them carefully. Choose the one that resonates with you and your company the most. You should also make a note of why that specific core value resonates with you and your company.

4. Ask for Input

Once you have a rough draft of your company’s core values, ask the people in your organization for their input. Be open to what they have to say and incorporate anything useful they have to say.

5. Make it Clear

Once you have your set of company core values, it’s time to clarify things. Take some time to understand what these core values mean for the organization. Note that this step may take some time and several iterations, so don’t get frustrated.

6. Get Internal Feedback

You can now present the final list of core values to everyone in the organization. Organize a Q&A session and take into consideration any concerns. 


Here are some examples of values. This is not an exhaustive list of examples of core values so that you can add any you think is missing. There are also a lot of different automation tools out there that can help generate some for you for ideas. 

  • Achievement
  • Ambition
  • Caring
  • Charity
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Dependability
  • Empathy
  • Encouragement
  • Enthusiasm
  • Ethics
  • Excellence
  • Fairness
  • Family
  • Friendships
  • Flexibility
  • Freedom
  • Fun
  • Generosity
  • Growth
  • Happiness
  • Health
  • Honesty
  • Humor
  • Individuality
  • Innovation
  • Intelligence
  • Intuition
  • Joy
  • Kindness
  • Knowledge
  • Leadership
  • Learning
  • Love
  • Loyalty
  • Making a difference
  • Motivation
  • Optimism
  • Open-mindedness
  • Passion
  • Perfection
  • Performance
  • Personal development
  • Popularity
  • Power
  • Professionalism
  • Punctuality
  • Quality
  • Recognition
  • Relationships
  • Reliability
  • Resilience
  • Risk-taking
  • Safety
  • Security
  • Self-control
  • Service
  • Spirituality
  • Stability
  • Success
  • Thankfulness
  • Traditionalism
  • Understanding
  • Wealth
  • Well-being
  • Wisdom


A solid set of core values is essential when making important decisions. For example, personal core values can help you find your purpose, increase your confidence, etc. Meanwhile, business core values are crucial for making decisions. They also educate their principles to potential and current customers, employees and stakeholders.

Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Joe Martin
VP of Marketing

Joe Martin is currently the VP of marketing at Scorpion, a leading provider of technology and marketing to help small businesses grow. Formerly he was CloudApp’s GM and CMO and a Head of Marketing at Adobe. With over 15 years of experience in the industry and tech that makes it run, he provides strategic guidance on how to build and use the right stack and marketing for businesses to grow. Joe believes marketers need smart training and leadership to scale company growth. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @joeDmarti.

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