Coming up with your core values may sound like a luxury reserved for Fortune 500 companies that have time and money to burn. Don’t be fooled – they also have a role to play in your startup. Think of your core values as your purpose personified. Transcending your activities and strategies, they give life to “Why” by making your company’s reason for existence tangible and real. They tell the world why you’re here, what you stand for, and what you believe in. They offer guidance as you try to navigate the tempestuous startup sea to find safer waters. Choose values that reflect the founders’ attitudes, the company culture, and – most importantly – what the company aspires to become.
Every branch in the U.S. Military has its core values etched in stone. But their core values have to do with much more than fancy plaques on walls. The military lives and dies by them. Do the same for your startup. Hire and fire based on your values. Live them from the beginning, and they will become self-fulfilling. Use them to define your raison d’être and to inspire a brighter future.