‘You Can Be Serious Without a Suit’ and Other Company Values

If you’re looking to update your core values statement, or throw it out and start over, you’re in good company.

More than a third of Fortune 100 companies are using alternatives to the core values statement, in the form of a credo, a way, a manifesto or a trademarked set of principles or beliefs like Pepsi and CVS, reports the Harvard Business Review.

Traditional values statements often sound alike, using words like culture, integrity, teamwork and excellence. Companies are increasingly getting more creative, more expansive and more distinctive to resonate with a specific constituency rather than using a bland list of values that attempts to appeal to all.

Amazon, for example, does not list core values, but uses “leadership principles” that are targeted at company managers and the roles they play. Example: “Hire and develop the best,” for recruiters. Google bases its values on fundamental beliefs they call, “Ten Things We Know to be True.” Examples: “You can be serious without a suit,” and “You don’t need to be at your desk to get an answer.”

Values statements can, according to HBR:

  • Galvanize a brand identity (Tom’s)
  • Glue together a production process (Toyota)
  • Win over a customer (Southwest Airlines)
  • Showcase a business edge (Reliance Industries)
  • Foster a healthy workplace (Jefferson Lab)

HBR also offers advice on how to create an alternative to the traditional values statement. Learn more and find multiple additional examples here.


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