Author: Edward Maggard

Date: December 10, 2021

I recently heard a story about a consultant who was working with a group of leaders in a company. He asked them what they consider to be their core values. One of the values they stated had had to do with creating a safe and positive work environment. The consultant had to challenge this, as the people within the company he had talked to said that it wasn’t that fun of a place to work.

The officers of this company sheepishly admitted that they were pretty demanding, and expected a lot of their employees, and were actually kind of hard on them. The consultant suggested that perhaps this was not the core value yet, but it was an aspirational value. Understanding the difference is a key skill for a leader of impact.

Core values are the values that are actually present in the company. These are the things about which people say, “that’s just the way we do things around here.“ If you desire certain qualities in your workplace, but realize that you have a ways to go in order for these values to be true of your company, you have identified some aspirational values.

First of all, be sure that you really want these values. Then, you have a decision to make. You can either state that this is an aspirational value, and give steps by which your company can make these values real and core. Or, you can try to make this value true without announcing it.

In the case described above, these leaders really did want their workplace to be different. They set about laying out steps to help people feel that they were making a positive contribution.

The action point here is clear. Identify the stated values of your company, and then take an honest look at whether these values are being lived out. If, in actuality, you were falling short on one of your values, determine whether you really want this to be true in your organization. If so, make a plan to realize this value. If not, it’s better to take it off of the list. If you are ready to be brutally honest, ask your coworkers and employees to what degree they feel your company is living out your values. If you sincerely take in their input, and make adjustments accordingly, you are on your way to building a more positive work environment.

If you are looking for a study related to your values as a leader, check out “Foundations” which is part of the LeaderImpact Global’s Integrated Life Series available on  


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