When it comes to networking, talk of goal setting, etiquette, and follow up are all common. But what about professional values?
Top business networkers know that shared values are the true secret to strong, meaningful connections. Whether you’re a successful entrepreneur, or a young professional on the job hunt, it’s never too late or too early to start thinking about what professional values matter most to you.
Why Business Professionals Should Establish Core Values
Establishing a genuinely valuable business networking, starting a company, building a career – these are all significant goals which require multiple steps. But each step is made easier when you have clarity. And clarity comes from knowing what matters to you most. This is where core values come in.
On a company level, core values are a recognized necessity. When done right, a documented set of core values is very important for building a credible brand. But core values also need to exist on the individual level.
How do you create your own core values? Simple (albeit, not necessarily easy) you examine what you care about and respect most. If the people you work with best are highly collaborative, then “team-oriented work” may be one of your core values. If what you care about is the environment, then working with a green brand (like Popl, which reduces paper usage with digital business cards) can be one of your core values.
How to Create Core Values
Here are some steps you can take to help create your own professional core values.
- Reflect on your beliefs and principles: Begin by reflecting on your beliefs and principles, what matters most to you, and what you stand for. Think about the qualities that you admire in others and the values that guide your own behavior.
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Consider your strengths and weaknesses and how they align with your values. This can help you identify areas for growth and development as well as areas where you can leverage your strengths.
- Consider your goals: Think about your career goals and what you want to achieve in your professional life. This can help you identify values that are important to achieving those goals and to living a fulfilling life.
- Look at other values statements: Look at the core values of other companies or organizations that you admire or respect. This can help you get a better sense of the types of values that are important to successful professionals.
- Draft your own values statement: Based on your reflection and research, draft your own values statement. Keep it simple and easy to understand, and make sure that it is authentic and aligned with your personal and professional goals.
- Share your values with others: Once you have created your values statement, share it with others who can provide feedback and support. This can help you refine and strengthen your values statement over time.
Remember that creating your own set of professional core values is an ongoing process, and it may take time to develop a set of values that truly resonates with you. This process isn’t meant to be “hard,” but it does require calm, honest introspection.
Professional Core Values
Here are some examples of professional core values that professionals may choose to adopt as your own. Ideally, you’d only use these as jumping-off-points, since the more personalized your values are, the more effective and useful they are.
- Integrity: This value is about being honest, ethical, and reliable in all of your actions and interactions. It is about being true to your word and upholding high standards of behavior.
- Respect: This value involves treating all people with respect and dignity, regardless of their background or position. It is about recognizing the inherent worth and value of every individual.
- Accountability: This value involves taking responsibility for your actions and decisions. It is about owning your mistakes and taking steps to correct them.
- Excellence: This value involves striving for excellence in all that you do. It is about setting high standards for yourself and continuously seeking to improve.
- Collaboration: This value involves working effectively with others to achieve shared goals. It is about valuing diverse perspectives and leveraging the strengths of others to achieve success.
- Innovation: This value involves being open to new ideas and approaches. It is about taking risks, experimenting, and embracing change to drive innovation and growth.
- Customer focus: This value involves putting the needs and interests of customers first. It is about understanding their needs, providing high-quality service, and building strong relationships.
How Core Values Can Help You In Business and Life
Having an established set of core values can provide many benefits for professionals in both business and in life, including:
- Providing a sense of direction: Core values can serve as a compass, helping professionals to make decisions and take actions that are aligned with their personal and professional goals.
- Building a sense of purpose: Core values can give professionals a sense of purpose and meaning in their work, helping them to stay motivated and engaged.
- Fostering trust and credibility: Professionals who live by their core values are more likely to be seen as trustworthy and credible by others, which can help them to build strong relationships and achieve success.
- Guiding behavior and decision-making: Core values can help professionals to make difficult decisions and to behave in ways that are consistent with their principles.
- Supporting personal growth and development: Core values can provide a framework for personal growth and development, helping professionals to identify areas for improvement and to set goals for self-improvement.
- Creating a sense of identity: Core values can help professionals to define who they are and what they stand for, both personally and professionally.
How Core Values Optimize Your Business Networking
A strong set of core values is an invaluable asset in building and strengthening your professional network.
Here are a few ways that core values can help your business networking:
- Building trust and credibility: When professionals consistently act in accordance with their core values, they are more likely to be seen as trustworthy and credible by others. This can help to build stronger relationships and increase the likelihood of successful collaborations.
- Demonstrating shared values: When professionals share common core values with others in their network, they are more likely to find common ground and build stronger connections. This can help to create a sense of community and support, which can be beneficial in both personal and professional contexts.
- Aligning with others' values: When professionals understand and respect the core values of others in their network, they are more likely to be able to work effectively with them. This can help to foster positive relationships and increase the likelihood of successful collaborations.
- Creating a positive reputation: When professionals consistently live by their core values, they are more likely to be seen as a positive force in their industry or community. This can help to create a positive reputation that attracts new connections and opportunities.
- Contributing to a greater cause: When professionals have a strong sense of purpose and a commitment to a greater cause, they are more likely to be able to connect with others who share those values. This can help to create a network of like-minded individuals who are passionate about making a positive impact on the world.
Living and working in accordance with your established set of core values is a recipe for fulfillment and incredible success. Remember to seek out and connect with others who share your values and to demonstrate your commitment to value-based work through your actions.
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