List of Core Values

Core Values List of 150 Common Values

Looking for a core values list for your business or personal use? Well, we’ve got something better than a huge list of values! We’ve got an interactive exercise to help you discover and define your core values. If you prefer a more tactile experience, check out our Core Values Card Deck.

If you want to jump to the core values list, click the button below.

Core Values Exercise

But before diving in, you might want to read about why core values are so important for businesses and organizations.

The Definition of Core Values: What Are They?

According to one sociologist, core values are the root beliefs that a person or organization operates from. They are the principle perspectives that guide a person or organization’s behavior with others.

The National Park Service says this about core values: core values can govern relationships, articulate what you stand for, and guide business processes. Core values are not operating practices, business strategies or ever-changing rules depending on who is in management position at the time.

Why Core Values Got a Bad Rap

At first glance, choosing core values may seem like a bit of marketing puffery. That’s because historically, many corporations were guilty of listing core values on their website or in their annual report, and they weren’t actually living by them. For example, before Enron’s eventual demise, Enron’s core values were listed as the following:

  • Communication
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Excellence

One needs only to read a refresher about the notorious Enron scandal to see how the company was behaving in truly the opposite spirit of their so-called core values. According to the Harvard Business Review, 80% of the Fortune 100 tout their core values publicly—values that too often stand for nothing but a desire to be trendy or politically correct.

In order for core values to be valuable for your organization, they must be authentic and believable. You must choose core values your business can actually back up with its reputation, actions, culture, and products and services.

In order for core values to be valuable for your organization, they must be authentic and believable. You must choose core values your business can actually back up with its reputation, actions, culture, and products and services.

Consumers can sniff out inauthenticity easier than ever before, so don’t bother having a list of core values if they aren’t actually meaningful and realistic. Coming up with a list of core values is easy. Living up to them often takes real guts!

Why Define Your Company Core Values?

Our Core Value interactive exercise creates a powerful bedrock for decision making, culture shaping, recruiting and branding. For a business partnership, this exercise is even more important to make sure all the owners are on the same page in the most foundational way. The bigger the organization gets, the more important it is.

When used appropriately, core values serve several purposes (both internal and external):

  • They create the vision.
  • They guide decisions and influence behavior.
  • They act as the heart of the brand and a cultural cornerstone.
  • They help differentiate your business from your competitors.
  • They build customer loyalty.
  • They aid in recruiting and retention.

This is big stuff! A business without core values will flail amid tough decisions and blend in with all the rest.

What to Do Once You Have Defined Your Company Core Values

Once you have defined your company core values, it’s up to you to decide what to do with them. Posting them publicly is often a good idea if they are authentic and will instill trust in your brand with potential customers or employees. The stronger you feel about your values, the more  you will want to do with them. That could mean putting the core values on your website’s home page, posting them on a wall in your work space, or printing them in company internal hiring and training literature or marketing materials.

Core values can directly or indirectly affect a consumer’s view of your brand.

Imagine you need to fill up your gas tank. You’re staring at two similar looking gas stations located across the street from each other. The prices are the same, and the buildings look similar. The marquee of Gas Station A says: “Eggs only $1.29!” The marquee of Gas Station B says: “What We Stand For: Value, Balance, Innovation and Community.”

Which one are you going to? Well, unless I really need cheap eggs, I for one am going to Gas Station B!

For an example of a real company’s core values, take a look at Salesforce, a software that manages customer relationships. Their core values are:

  • Trust
  • Customer Success
  • Innovation
  • Equality

In their staff training program, understanding what’s behind their brand core values helps establish culture and influence behavior. According to their website, “these four core values are the driving force behind everything we do at Salesforce. They serve as our North Star, guiding us to always stay true to ourselves and what we stand for, and to act accordingly.”

When you have a brand core value like “Customer Success,” that means you need to live by it. For example, on the Salesforce website, they have a 1-800 number at the very top of the home page. They know in order for some customers to be successful using their software, they need to be able to easily call and talk to a person to get help. Hiding that phone number or forcing people to go through a bunch of hoops to get to customer service would not align with the brand value. So you can see how the core values can actually influence decisions big and small in the everyday operations of a business.

So now that you know what core values are and why they are important for your organization, click the button at the top of this page to try out our interactive exercise and “Find Your Values”!