“Place your core values on a pedestal or why have them at all?”

Steuben Glass Company breaks every imperfect piece of glass no matter how big or small the piece. This potent symbolic act reinforces their values and makes them unforgettable!

Every leader must resolve to model their organization’s standards and values for all stakeholders. If not, they should resign. The longer they hang around the more damage they do, even if it’s unintentional.

If you and your core leaders don’t model your values, place them on pedestal and defend them aggressively, who will? A code of values passionately pursed keeps an organization focused and on course, especially when the leader is absent and tough times come.

It’s important you limit your core values to what your leadership team can get their hearts and minds around. Long lists are difficult to model and reinforce. Every thing you do should have value, but not everything can be a core value.

Great organizations have differing values, but common to all are integrity, accountability, diligence, perseverance and discipline. Organizations that passionately pursue their core values are successful regardless of their endeavor.

Senior leaders, managers and your internal customers (team members) must emphasize your core values daily. Ignore them and you risk mediocrity at best, or worse, failure.

Enron, Global Crossing, Tyco, Arthur Anderson and other very successful 20th Century companies, along with many churches and non-profits, self-destructed because of a bankrupt value system.

Ask most Japanese CEO’s about his main job, and he says, “harmonizing values and helping my core leaders adjust to changing priorities in an ever-changing marketplace environment.”

Values motivate and sustain outstanding performance and respect for the long haul. Take your values out of the desk. Ditch the brochures and put your core on a pedestal until they are a way of life for your team.

This exercise alone would transform most organizations and propel them from the middle of the pack to leading the way.

For church leaders who don’t think this is important may I remind you of the values of Jesus in Matthew 5-7 and John 13-17. How about the value system of the First Century Church in Acts 2:41-47?

For any organization, including the Church, to have real marketplace influence it’s foundation must be a set of core values that are relevant and emulated every day by everyone from the corner office to the front door.

Unlike the Steuben Glass Company we should not be breaking imperfect people, but like that famous company we should be holding our people accountable for how they model our core values every day.

Great leaders will go out of their way to help a struggling team member improve their performance—if their heart is right. However, they will quickly release even the most talented team member who constantly ignores the team’s core values.

Broken any glass lately?