By Jessica Dunbar, EverCheck Marketing Manager
For some companies, core values are total BS. They’re lip service, a box to check, a pretty set of canvases to hang in the lobby of the corporate offices.
For others, they’re substantive. They’re the litmus test by which executives and employees make daily decisions, the backbone of the organization.
My company is the latter, and it has taught me more about my own personal values than I would have ever imagined.
First, let me admit that I was never one to buy into the “values thing.” My career, having started around the same time the Great Recession ended, was mostly a product of circumstance. Try as I might to design it, I was still bound by the constraints of a slowly-recovering economy. Companies weren’t thinking about much other than bottom lines, and the people-first mentality that’s so prevalent these days hadn’t quite taken hold yet. But I didn’t mind. I needed an income, and that was all. I hadn’t yet realized that I could expect more than that.
I didn’t buy into the “values thing,” that is, until I interviewed with EverCheck. Brian Solano, EverCheck’s CEO and my interviewer, always found a way to bring our conversation back to EverCheck’s core values. When discussing the strategic vision for the company, he’d mention how “great design” plays such an integral role in our competitive advantage. When we discussed benefits, he would talk about the importance of “living balanced” and “pursuing growth and learning.” When chatting about what sets EverCheck apart from other employers, he was quick to point to the value, “think green” - arguably one of EverCheck’s most prolific values.
After much consideration, I accepted the position with EverCheck. Now, after nearly two years as their Marketing Manager, I can safely say that EverCheck is not BSing anyone when it comes to their core values; they’re the real deal. Every decision we make, from high-level strategic decisions down to what kind of toilet paper we buy (I’m not kidding), is all backed by a value. Spend one day in our offices and you’ll hear “That makes sense. And it aligns with our value, [insert value here].” Again, not kidding.
But for as much as I’ve learned to appreciate company values, I’ve also learned a thing or two about my own personal values. And yours, too.
You have them, whether you know it or not.
Whether or not you believe you have personal “core values” is irrelevant. You have them. What you may not have is a set of defined values. You just haven’t put a name to them yet. Sit down, grab a pen, and start writing. Think very hard about your habitual actions, and then find your themes from there. And don’t worry if you don’t like what you’ve written. You can always work toward adopting different, even better values as you go.
There are good values, and there are bad ones.
If you value honesty, you may be prone to telling the truth. If you value kindness, you may be prone to choosing your words carefully for the sake of empathy and compassion. If you value integrity, you may be prone to taking ownership of your actions. These are good values, and if they apply to you, bravo. You’re probably a fairly decent human being.
There is such a thing as bad values, too. If you value self-importance, you may be prone to interrupting others or steering conversations back to your own personal anecdotes or objectives. If you value complacency, you may be prone to doing the bare minimum to get by. If you value intolerance, you may be prone to making homophobic, racist, or sexist statements.
Not all values are created equal.
No matter your values, find people whose values align with yours.
The old adage that opposites attract is wrong. Your goal, whether you are searching for a new career, friends, or even a life partner, is to find those whose values align with your own. In psychological terms, this helps reduce what we call cognitive dissonance - or the stress that is a direct result of believing one thing and acting in a way that contradicts those beliefs.
I’m thriving in my current career because my values closely mirror those of my company’s. That’s not to say that the companies I worked for previously didn’t have values, even really great ones. They just didn’t align as closely with mine as EverCheck’s do. Because what I value and what EverCheck values align so well, I’m able to make decisions with a high degree of certainty that I’m doing right not only by the company, but also myself.