CORE Principles are universal truths founded on a proven pattern of success. This means you can’t bring all of your employees into a room and shout out what you think makes you successful and hope it works.
The exact same mistake is made when using psychometrics tools to select employees. DiSC® profiles, for example, are excellent tools to leverage in training and leadership because they describe how a person wishes to be treated and perceived by the outside world. They are useless, however, when it comes to determining how the person will actually act in their job.
CORE Values pose the same challenge. While critical for determining the unique character and personality of the company at that moment in time, they don’t provide a proven pattern of success based on actual data. CORE Values, therefore, are super helpful in your marketing to highlight your appeal, but it’s CORE Principles that determine whether you will be a success or not.
If a prominent leader were to leave the company, for example, the personality and character of the business would forever change. At that point, it would be prudent to revisit the company’s CORE Values to better articulate the new character and personality of the company moving forward. For the company to remain successful, however, the 3 CORE Principles would have to remain the same.
CORE Principles act as both creative constraints when forming CORE Values and as the Guiding Principles when developing your CORE Values. Regardless of what company you look at, you will find that all the things that they hold valuable and associate with success will fit into one of the following 3 CORE Principles.
In a study of hundreds of companies’ values, purpose, vision, and mission statements, paired with established research around all the universally accepted truths that are present in all successful companies, I was able to ascertain that these 3 CORE Principles formed the cornerstones of all successful businesses:
- Companies that focused on putting the needs of people in front of their corporate objectives were always at the forefront of revenue growth and profitability. This includes employees and customers.
- Companies committed to transparency, simple language, customer-centric policy, and forthright behaviors scored highest in customer and employee approval ratings and realized accelerated lead generation.
- Companies that practiced acts of gratitude and behaved in a manner congruent with a genuine appreciation of all their stakeholders consistently enjoyed healthier net profits, lower attrition, and boasted a superior buying experience.
Therefore, all successful companies help people win in a trustworthy and grateful manner.
A great example of this is found with the investment company, JUST Capital. For 9 years they have been researching and documenting companies that practice these 3 principles in a variety of measurable ways. What they’ve discovered is that this portfolio of altruistic companies outperforms the Russell 1000 by 6.17%.
As to HOW companies deliver on these 3 CORE Principles is unique to each brand. These are what we know as CORE Values. As the Wizard of Ads™ has come to prove over the past 35 years, CORE Values are the collection of firmly held beliefs that steer our actions and behaviors. And what is one’s character and personality but the actions and behaviors made by the choices derived from beliefs and values?
It’s those actions and behaviors people around us observe and perceive who we are as an individual or entities. As leaders, it’s what we tolerate from our people that defines us. It’s what we protect and defend that signals others that they belong in our tribe or to avoid us like the plague.
But how do we help people win in a trustworthy and grateful manner?
With purpose. That’s how.
For me, it wasn’t enough to understand what made companies universally successful. We know the unique set of CORE Values are WHY companies succeed. And my research confirmed the 3 CORE Principles are WHAT form the foundation of success.
What I needed to know next was HOW to make a meaningful difference in the organization. After all, vision without implementation is just daydreaming. And daydreams don’t pay the mortgage.
As I dissected each CORE Principle into its constituent parts, what I found was something that we all know to be innately true. We’ve all heard someone say happy, healthy, and wealthy in various contexts before, but now I was getting to the root of the meaning.
The pursuit of happiness is ageless. People go to great lengths to avoid pain and suffering and embrace pleasure and reward.
But what was the root of happiness? We know it’s not other people. It’s not money. It’s not the material things in life. True happiness can only come from within.
As an international sales trainer, I spoke to many thousands of people each year. When warming up a room, I used an ice breaker I dubbed an Attitude of Gratitude. I would go around the room, asking each person the one thing they were most grateful for. It could be anything—personal or work.
As you can imagine, people often started off with the superficial answers you’d expect, but I would just keep asking them why, like a toddler. You see, once you get past the posturing and small talk, you start to see the real person hiding underneath the thin veneer of fear and limiting beliefs that hold most of us back from really leaning into the special moments in life.
In every single situation, with every single person who chose to participate, the room got to see what made that person really happy. For me, it is the funny little expressions my son Oscar makes that make my heart explode with love, joy, admiration, and pride. Oscar doesn’t make me grateful, my gratitude for the moments I have with my little boy makes me happy.
“What makes you grateful, makes you happy.” -Ryan Chute
What is happiness without your health to enjoy it? Your physical health, certainly, but most important, your mental health.
Having been simmering on the back burner for comfortably two centuries now, mental health has been progressively challenged since the first industrial revolution. Being distinctly unqualified to reflect on life as a peasant or soldier in mid-evil times, let’s stick to the last 40 years or so, shall we?
There are three things that people fiercely protect. What most people don’t realize is why they protect them with such vigor.
Time, money, and energy are the three greatest treasures one possesses in modern society.
Time is a non-renewable resource and therefore is the most precious of the three treasures. But it’s not time that people covet. Nor is it the money they chase to trade for stuff. The purest pursuit for everything in life is the energy one has to enjoy the pleasures and rewards of life.
Energy is the ultimate coveted treasure. Time is irrelevant if one does not have the energy to enjoy it. Money is worthless without time to spend it on what matters. That’s why time and money are seen as interchangeable. But not energy. No. Energy is what allows us to pursue our identity, purpose, and adventure. For these are the motivations each of us holds most dearly inside ourselves.
Identity tells the world —tells ourselves—who we are and what we stand for. What we stand against. Identity is our faith, our hope, our desire to learn and understand meaning in our life—bring meaning into our life.
Purpose is what drives us. What has us get out of bed each morning and do something. The less purpose you have in life, the less energy you have. The less likely you are to make an effort. The less you will find meaning, belonging, and health.
Adventure has us chasing the end of the rainbow. Adventure is the age old story of the hero’s journey. The trials and tribulations. The various villains to defeat. The challenges to overcome. And eventually, the tireless road home, and living happily ever after.
All of this. The pursuit of happiness. Finding yourself and your true identity. Living a fulfilling life of purpose. Of going on life’s adventures. All of this requires energy. Money buys time. Time affords us rest and reward. Rest and reward resonate a positive energy. Positive energy recharges your energy.
And pain and punishment hold a negative resonance. Negative resonance depletes your energy. Requiring more time to recharge. Taking away our most precious resource — time.
Now you can see why being housebound during the pandemic has had such a profound effect on where people are now choosing to earn their money, spend their time, and consume their energy.
Like happiness and health, wealth is more than a paycheck. It too, is about a positive resonance (energy).
Abundance. Freedom. Autonomy. Choice.
As business owners we forget that, just like us, our employees are looking to make a profit. This is the discretionary money they have after all the bills are paid to do things that feed their identity, purpose, and adventure. It’s not enough to break even, particularly in a job that depletes energy with negativity like weaponized fear, shame, and guilt, or micromanagement, disingenuous praise, and punishment based on factors outside the control of the individual.
When an employee is fully and completely satiated they are going to conduct themselves in a manner that is becoming of your company’s values. This is how you will demonstrate trustworthiness.
It all begins with your culture.
How do you build a successful company?
As the world has changed, so must companies. The most successful companies have recognized, either through trial and error or intuition, that when culture takes the first position in your strategy, that you have a recipe for staggering success.
Therefore, it’s the companies that are ready willing, and able to protect and defend a happy, healthy, wealthy culture by following the universal truths of helping people win in a trustworthy and grateful manner in their own unique way by acting on their beliefs that will build generational wealth and a legacy worthy of the history books.
Why do you capitalize CORE, Ryan?
Great question. I knew you were a sharp cookie.
One answer. Symbology. Two reasons.
First, CORE is an acronym that stands for customer-oriented relational experience. It serves as a reminder that we’re in business for our customers, not ourselves.
Second, CORE is a reminder to keep it simple, sweetheart. Whenever I got into a sales slump, I made a concerted effort to get back to basics. CORE is a reminder to do just that, at least until we’ve mastered the important stuff first.
Give us a call when you’re ready to make your Culture the Strategy.