Writing value statements can be one of the hardest pieces of work you’ll ever do.
Get them right and you’ll have a set of beliefs that you can point to in all manner of business situations—internally and externally. They make it easier to hire the right people, give employees a sense of purpose and present an unwavering persona to your customers.
Core company values exist in all businesses. Clearly defined value statements, however, may not be something you’ve tackled just yet. Whether you’re a business owner, work in HR or are a copywriter, writing core company values doesn’t have to be a headache.
Here’s how to utilise the power of Google to make writing these intimidating statements a breeze.
Before you start
You’ll need an idea of what your values are.
This is not an article on mining your company’s core values. What I can help you with is putting those ideas into words that resonate with the people who interact with them.
Most businesses I’ve worked with start with a handful of buzz words.
“Collaborative” is almost always one of them.
Tricks to nailing effective values statements
It’s time to take these empty words from “meh” to “wow”.
Start your timer!
Search for synonyms (1 minute)
Wordhippo.com is any writer’s best friend. Simply type in a word to receive dozens of related information. I use it mainly for synonyms, some of which may resonate more closely to what you actually mean when you use an over-used word like “collaborate”.
Confederation, connection and participation all lend more authenticity and originality to your value.
Tip: Sometimes it’s just as strong to say what you aren’t. Use the antonym feature to help you.
Leverage someone smarter than you (5 minutes)
Searching quotations can be distracting, so make sure you stick to a time limit.
A website like Brainyquote.com is a gold mine of pithy sayings and word plays. Here are three fabulous examples for “collaboration”.
“The biggest sources of opportunity are collaboration and partnership.” —Mark Parker
“Life is not a solo act. It’s a huge collaboration, and we all need to assemble around us the people who care about us and support us in times of strife.” —Tim Gunn
“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire.” —Amy Poehler
Make sure to underline any combination of words that resonate with you.
Tip: Look outside your line of business for further inspiration and delightful combinations.
Make a list of emotive adjectives (2 minutes)
You want people to connect emotionally with your company’s core values. They either align or they don’t, so this is the place to be BOLD. An emotive adjective can do just that.
Here are some of my favourites: obsessed, curious, delightful, invested, authentic, humble, spirited, intelligent, surprising, brave, confident, talented.
Put it together (7 minutes)
What you have so far is the inspiration for your final copy. Now you get to show off your writing skills.
Grab yourself a whiteboard or big piece of paper and play with all the words and phrases you’ve come up with.
You’ll be surprised at the different combinations that arise.
Tip: The heading needs to stand on its own as well as tie in with the rest of the copy because this is the bit you want people to remember.
So what did I come up with for my imaginary collaborative company?
“Create a connection”
“Producing great work is a team sport. Be as proud of building on someone else’s idea as coming up with your own. We hire talented individuals who genuinely care for and support each other, our customers and our business.”
Have you ever had to write company values? I’d love to hear how you approached it or what you came up with in the comments.