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Core (def):  the central or most important part of something (apple dictionary)

Chore (def): an unpleasant but necessary task (apple dictionary)

My wife and I share a value.  We do not buy stolen stuff.  It was not hard for us to agree on this family value. Until…

We were having a new stove delivered and the delivery man said he could get us a really good deal on the matching dishwasher.  He said the dishwasher was about $800 new and he could get us one for $400 delivered and installed.  My wife called me with this awesome info and she really wanted to take advantage of the deal.  Trying to stay focused and not get caught up in the price, I had her ask the delivery man some questions like; was it new, where did it come from, was it warrantied and by whom, and how could he give us such an awesome deal?  The answers got pretty sketchy and it became apparent that it was hot.  But what a deal! We could get this thing for half price and there was no way for us to really know if it was stolen, so it was not on us if it was.  Right? I think?  We found ourselves trying to justify the purchase and figure out a way this did not violate one of our family’s “core values.” This “core value” changed  from, the central or most important part of us to a “chore value,” an unpleasant but necessary task.  We did not want to do it, but we decided to pass on the great deal.  While we believed we made the “good” or “right” decision, it didn’t feel like the decision was based on it being the center or core of who we were.  It felt more mechanical than anything else. We really really wanted to buy the stolen dishwasher, but we probably shouldn’t? It was a gut check for the both of us.

Core Values are important at home and also at work.  When they’re written down and digested they can become your company’s identity. They become your core; they govern your business without having a list of rules that everyone just abides by to keep their jobs.  They can direct how you communicate, how you take care of customers, how you handle employees, how you handle problems, how you handle successes, and so on.  Instead of a “chore value” which just makes you do something because of what is expected of you.  It is evident when you exhibit a “core value”  vs. a “chore value.  Everyone knows it, especially your customers.  Be sure your company has a short list of core values that is taught and reinforced daily. Everything you do as a company should be weighed against those values.

I’m not sure about you, but I get way more enjoyment out of responding to my day with the central most passionate driving forces inside me rather than responding with a prescribed canned list of rules and responses.  Even more important, the ones around me will find more enjoyment also.  Set your core values and do everything you can to keep them from turning into chore values.

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