Core Values, Culture, Michael Blakemore

Working with What Matters Most

April 22, 2019

By Michael Blakemore

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re presented with a candidate for hire – education, professional background, specific job experience, and involvement with professional organizations. You would also want to know about the individual’s ambitions for their career development, their salary requirements, and their perspectives on what makes for their ideal corporate culture.

But none of these really addresses what may be one of the most crucial indicators of fit, and that is: do they share your core values?

“Core values” are possibly one of those exhausted terms that you hear everywhere, like “mission” and “vision,” but let’s stop for a moment and just talk about what core values are as opposed to what they’re called. These are the things (hopefully you have boiled it down to just a few of them) that matter the most about who you are as a company. These poignant, articulated principles should be so fundamental to your business and so illustrative of the kinds of people you want working for you, that you would make firing decisions around at least one of them.

Because if you would fire around them, you should start by hiring around them. In an ideal scenario, the former would prevent the latter.

After several years and much conversation, Skiles Group has distilled our core values to four simple statements, delivered in plain language devoid of fluffy corporate-speak:

#1 – Do the right thing

#2 – Be curious

#3 – Work together

#4 – Serve with passion

Our staff have helped us to define what these are and what they mean. All are important and play some part in our hiring decisions, but the first one is a “hire and fire” value. It doesn’t matter what else a candidate brings to the table, if we’re not aligned on what it means to do the right thing then we’re not meant to work together.

The flip side to this is from the employee’s perspective. It’s just as important that you understand yourself – who you are, and what you value – because you shouldn’t waste your time in a company that doesn’t share and support the things that matter the most to you as a professional, or worse, that asks you to work in ways that aren’t authentic to your character.

We should all be happy at work – with the company we work for, and the people we’re working alongside every day. A friend recently introduced me to a colleague at a conference; while discussing work habits, she commented that she has never worked a day in her life (in spite of being a very dedicated and hard worker). I hope it’s that way for all of us.

Taking the time to really home in on what your core values are and being intentional about your decision to hire a person (or accept an offer from someone) based off of those principles is an excellent first step towards achieving that goal.