Define and Live Core Values


Corporate values that clearly establish expectations

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“LSA’s ability to help us define and live core values to keep us aligned during extreme growth created the glue and rules of the road for us to be successful as a firm.”
Brenda Wagner | Founder & President | Proxicom

Leaders often look to define and live core values when there is a need to increase accountability, improve organizational health, protect cultural norms, or get everyone on the same page regarding fundamental beliefs and expectations that matter most.

Along with your vision and mission statement, corporate values, are a key strategic driver that sets the organizational direction and expectations.  Done right, core values improve how people get hired, promoted, developed, managed, engaged, and retained.  Done wrong, core values that are not reflected in everyday actions — especially those of senior leaders — won’t mean much.

The Difference Between Core and Aspirational Values
To define and live core values, one of the first steps is to understand the difference between core and aspirational values.  We define core values as the fundamental beliefs and decision making filters that:

  • Are deeply ingrained
  • Guide an organization’s actions
  • Are never broken or compromised
  • Make a company distinct
  • Have proportionate consequences if they are not followed

We define aspirational corporate values as expectations that are currently lacking throughout the organization but would be nice to have now or in the future.  While aspirational values can be exciting to discuss, it is difficult to integrate aspirations into talent and performance management processes.  Because of this difficulty, we believe that core values help to create the clarity of expectations required to make a meaningful difference.

We believe that corporate values should be thoughtfully, strategically, and practically designed from the bottom up.  The typical steps to define and live core values are:

1.  Review Current Values
Review existing values with key stakeholders to:

  • Create clear delineation between values and define what each value looks like in action
  • Identify priorities and gaps in the current values
  • Understand where employee input matters most

2.  Conduct Employee Discovery
Gather insights through a combination of interviews, focus groups, and surveys from employees regarding:

  • What the values mean to them and look like in action
  • Where value gaps exist
  • Why a value is important and which values are the highest priority

3.  Draft Competencies and Behavioral Anchors
Based upon employee feedback and analysis, the next steps are to create a draft outlining:

  • 4 to 6 core values that matter most
  • 2 to 3 competencies for each value
  • 1 to 2 behavioral anchors for each competency

4.  Conduct Internal Competency Checkpoint
Facilitate checkpoints with key stakeholders to confirm that the competencies and behaviors accurately reflect the core values.

5.  Align Core Values Across Employee Levels
Align the core values across key employee levels (e.g. individual contributor, manager, executive) by defining values-based competencies with behavioral anchored performance scales for each level.

If you want a practical way to define and live core values to help take your organizational health to the next level, please contact us to learn more.

Related Information

Thanks a million for the great strategy and cultural alignment session for our global leadership team.

Your experience and patience to expertly deal with the inherent and complex challenges between business units uncovered many hidden truths that created a great roadmap for us to move forward as a unified leadership team.

I recommend LSA to any leader looking to shape and align organizational culture.

Juan Plaza
Geospatial Sales Manager, Latin America


You have become our premier change leadership strategic partner. Your expertise in the human side of change is unparalleled and enabled our company to successfully implement our ERP Solution under challenging and ever-changing circumstances.

Thank you for your practical and outcome-oriented approach.

Ted Ramlet


The experiential New Employee Orientation was an incredible success for 2,500+ new hires over 4 years spread across the globe.

LSA partnered with us to create an innovative solution on very short notice and added a huge amount of value.

We could never have done it without their unmatched combination of expertise, professionalism, and creativity that aligned everything with our unique culture and growth strategy.

Even our executives and experienced hires were blown away!

Brenda Wagner
Founder and President


I can’t emphasize enough what a huge shift you helped to create for us as an organization. Thanks again for your change management consulting help and guidance.

The clarity, practicality, focus, and accountability are exactly what we needed to make this strategy and major transformation a success from a hearts and minds perspective.

Cris Alvarez
VP Corporate Strategy

LSA Global Cambridge Investment Research Financial Services Client

LSA Global really shifted our perspective about strategic clarity and organizational culture.

The 3 C’s approach to workplace culture is very practical and really helps  executive teams – even skeptical ones – ensure that your culture is healthy, high performing, and aligned.

Amy Cappellanti-Wolf
Chief Human Resources Officer


It was a challenge to find a consultant with an approach to performance improvement that fit our unique performance culture and style. We were pleasantly surprised to discover LSA’s depth of expertise in the fields of motivation, developmental coaching, performance management, and measurement.

LSA seamlessly integrated those components without our folks feeling like the intervention was forced. They understood what we were trying to accomplish, helped us clarify our objectives, and created a solid, refreshing approach that quickly got us moving and engaged at all levels across the organization.

Overall, I couldn’t be happier that we found a true strategy and implementation partner in LSA.

Doug Hansen
President and Director

Redwood Trust

The LSA customized Organizational Alignment Survey gave us a comprehensive view of how our employees experience our culture, talent, and strategy.

The systemic approach provided us with a great forum to discuss the strengths and opportunities in our organization, and then to quickly get focused on the key actions critical to executing our business and people strategies.

Mark Forrest
General Manager, FSM Division


Great job in designing the Mergers and Acquisition strategy session for our global leadership team. The session was excellent.

I gained additional insight on the importance of the role of HR regarding strategy, culture, and people in Mergers and Acquisitions and would recommend LSA to anyone looking to align strategies and cultures.

Gloria Veon
Senior Vice President, Human Resources


We highly value the relationship we have with LSA Global.

I highly recommend LSA to anyone who is looking to strategically, practically, and fundamentally improve individual and organizational effectiveness in a way that makes sense for their unique culture and strategy.

Laura Dominguez
Director of Human Resources

We looked to LSA Global as a consulting partner to help us explore innovative and scholarly approaches to promote employee engagement and sustain the unique culture we’ve built over the last decade.  LSA helped us perpetuate coaching as a discipline across the organization by integrating our core values, goal setting, and performance management.

We appreciate LSA’s commitment to cutting-edge practices to help keep us a step ahead during this time of rapid change.

Rosalyn Chan
Vice President, Human Resources

Redwood Trust

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