Core values are personal ethics, fundamental beliefs, traits, qualities, or ideals that guide you when making decisions, building relationships, and solving problems.  Identifying the values that are meaningful in your life can help you to develop and achieve personal and professional goals. It can also help you find jobs and companies that align with your ideals.

Businesses can also have and maintain core values.  These can help an organization determine how to allocate resources, make important decisions, and grow.  Business’s core values are quite possibly the single greatest component to teamwork, company culture, and success.  Without values, teams are bound to mistrust and dysfunction.  They are usually summarized in the mission statement or in a statement of core values.

People and companies typically select a set of 10 or fewer core values to focus the ways they hire and maintain staff, approach daily business practices, conduct communications and more.  These values can inform how people interact (humility, respect, honesty), the focus of a person or business’ work (ingenuity, creativity, data-driven) or the individual responsibilities one will hold (consistency, quality and reliability).

Identifying core values for yourself or within a company can provide structure and guidance, especially when dealing with a challenging decision or dispute.  If one of your core values is honesty, for example, you would refer back to it when deciding whether or not a certain piece of information should be kept secret.

Here is a list of 68 Core Values.  Take the time to choose 10 (or less) or so for personal and work/business.  I’ve found the best way to do this is to do it in rounds.  First, mark all that calls out to you (within reason).  Then, from that list, find the top 20 or so that you feel more represents you/your work/business values.  Lastly, find the 10 from that shortened list that you feel are your essential and non-negotiable core values.  There may be a few that are similar in nature- pick the one that has a deeper meaning or feeling to you.

Acceptance     Accomplishment     Adventure     Ambition     Attentiveness   Balanced Giving/Receiving     Caring     Charm     Cheerfulness     Collaboration     Compassion     Concern for Others     Confidence     Contribution     Courage     Courteous     Creativity     Dependability     Economical     Education     Enjoys Life     Faith     Family     Financial Responsibility     Freedom     Friendship     Fun     Generous     Globally Conscious     Gratitude/Grateful     Harmony     Honesty     Independence     Integrity     Intelligence     Intuitive     Kindness     Knowledge     Love of Outdoors     Loyalty     Open Communication     Open-Minded     Optimism     Orderliness/Neatness     Outgoing     Passion     Patience     Peace/Non-Violence   Personal Growth     Physical Health     Punctuality     Recognition     Reliable   Security     Respect for Others     Self-Discipline     Sense of Humor     Spirituality     Service to Others     Socially Conscious     Spontaneity     Supportive     Trust   Variety     Wealth     Worldliness

My personal values are: Balanced Giving/Receiving, Concern for Others, Enjoys Life, Freedom, Gratitude/Grateful, Open-Minded, Passion, Personal Growth, Physical Health, Spirituality.

My Business’s Core Values: Collaboration, Concern for Others, Contribution, Creativity, Enjoys Life, Freedom, Globally Conscious, Gratitude/Grateful, Integrity, Open-Minded, Passion, Physical Health, Respect for Others, Socially Conscious, and Trust.

Enjoy this exercise and use it often to best support your needs.