Top & Toxic Test: Do Your Core Values Accurately Reflect the Culture of Your Company?

Core values can be tricky. When I first got involved in strategic planning almost 30 years ago, I used to think they were fluff, created by really caring HR people. Was I wrong!

Over the years, I’ve found that core values underpin a culture and are a more impactful strategic tool than I’d ever imagined. After working with dozens and dozens of companies, I know they can define and enhance culture and create a competitive advantage. However, I’ve found that core values often underperform because they are either not crisp enough or truly reflect of the culture of the company.

Last week, I had a discussion with a CEO, who was in the middle of a process to reset the company’s core values, about how to validate them. While there’s a whole process to get the right data on the table and to get them right, it’s critical to pressure test them to make sure you’re not wasting your time.

I call it the Top and Toxic Test:

  1. List your top A+ Players who are a great fit, consistently generate A-grade results and exemplify your core values. If they all rate at least an A on every one, your core values are right.
  2. List your toxic five: historical high performers who created headaches, drama, frustration and friction in the system. Those who, when leaving the organization (and hopefully, they have already gone), left people sighing with relief or quietly applauding. Each of them should notably fail or violate at least two of your core values, scoring seven or less on a 0 to 10 scale.

This exercise filters your amazing people and toxic people and helps you to make better decisions about who comes in and who gets to stay.

By the way, if you still have toxic players in your organization, maybe you should call a special meeting with their manager to ensure they know that they’re toxic and what they need to do to be a healthy member of your high-performing team.

The Challenge

  • If you’re not sure if your core values are right, do the Top and Toxic Test.

If you need help figuring out if your core values are right – or what you can do with Toxic

A Players – please let us know. Our team has worked with many organizations, both new and well-established, to reset their vision and core values.

Additional Podcasts

Is Your Corporate Culture Really Aligned with Your Core Values?

How to Identify A Players in an Interview

How to Deal with An Underperforming Executive

Additional Blogs

Core Values as a Safety Issue

The Issue with Company Core Values

Toxic A Players: What to do with Brilliant Jerks

The Hidden Costs of Not Having a Team of A Players

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