Company Core Values versus Associate Core Values

By Gary Gregory, Author of The SUPERFANTASTIC ME!: Curate your WORD, PRINCIPLES, and CORE VALUES to become the BEST version of YOU!

Allow me to begin this article with a unique and bold statement.  Your Associate’s core values should NOT be your Company’s core values. 

Let’s begin with a few definitions to make this clarify the direction of this article. 

What are core values?  Core Values are curated words of accountability showing the world how you will operate as an individual and collectively as a company. 

Who exactly are associates?  Your associates are your team members.  These are your onsite team members including community managers, assistant managers, leasing, and maintenance.  Associates are also your corporate team members including regional managers, VPs, accounting, HR, facilities, and more. 

What does it mean by company?  If even you are a landlord for one door up to a multi-billion owner or manager for thousands of doors, your rental business is a company providing homes for others. 

Owners and managers should indeed have Company Core Values.  However, what is all too often missed is encouraging or supporting their associates to curate their own core values. 

WHY? What do I mean by this? 

  • A company’s core values are valuable to the business. 
  • A company’s core values identify HOW it will conduct business. 
  • A company’s core values define its own accountability to itself and to its customers. 
  • A company’s core values are what it follows for success. 

Here is where the division should occur. 

  • An associate’s core values are valuable to them.  
  • An associate’s core values are HOW they will do things. 
  • An associate’s core values are HOW they bring your uniqueness to the company. 
  • An associate’s core values are HOW they stand out. 
  • An associate’s core values should complement the company’s core values. 

Most companies will have a set of core values. These core values are valuable to the business. Without an associate’s own core values, most will end up adopting the business’ core values. They end up becoming a version of the business including the ups and downs, not a version of themselves. Essentially, they can become a burden to the business because they are dependent on the company’s success for their success. When they become like the business and everyone else, they become redundant and ultimately less valuable. 

Core values provide the path for an associate to spotlight the real their purpose for the business to benefit. There are several benefits. Psychology Today presented “9 Surprising Superpowers of Knowing your Core Values.” Some of those benefits include: 

  • Reduce stress 
  • Easier decision-making and problem-solving 
  • Inspire better habits 
  • Pursue goals that are important 
  • Establish your identity 
  • Empower yourself with confidence 

Most notably, when an associate knows their own expectations and following these—they are empowered to reach their potential.  Your associate’s belief will grow, and they will have the faith to walk it out. Freedom to grow and flourish stems from having a set of guidance to keep them on the right path. Their freedom and value are found in their core values.  

For several years I spent my time trying to become the mission and core values of the business I worked. Slowly I turned into a personal version of this company. What happened was I lost my uniqueness, the value that I could bring to the company. The result of this was a stagnant career for too many years. Overlooked for promotion opportunities, I fell into a rut. It was not until I intentionally attempted to lift myself up from the company’s core values (e.g., social norms), that I began to see the unique value I could bring. It was not necessarily tied to the company core values, it had to be from me. Once I lifted my head up and brought my value, I found myself—and ended up getting promotion after promotion. 

Core values define the HOW for person.  I found there are three negative approaches many people take when they do things without core values. 

Some do things because they have to and only because it is required. Most of these types of people are selfish and/or checked out. The results from these people are minimal and only what is required. Nothing more and sometimes less will be what you get here. For the most part, these people are actively disengaged. 

A lot of people do things reluctantly. They will hem and haw at the thought of doing things. They are comfortable where and how they are. When asked to do things you will find these people may or may not do them. Some will even procrastinate as long as possible. If they do something, it is mediocre at best. These are your disengaged or your quiet quitters. 

Last, there are some that will flat out not do things in any fashion—good, bad, or indifferent. It’s their way or the highway, stubborn or scared. 

With core values, there is a significant difference.  The top 3 benefits from associates curating and owning their own core values: 

#1 Be significant: When was the last time you heard of a worthy person doing things in a mediocre fashion. Most of the news is filled with top-level athletes, top-level businesspeople, or the people that overcame insurmountable odds to find success. These are the people that do things with excellence and find significance. Closer to home, what about the parents who spend time teaching, loving, and encouraging their children. I will guarantee those children find their parents significant. 

#2 Valuable Development: As you are doing things, it takes time to do it well. You may not know all the nuances, details, or processes to do things right, so you learn. You take the time to understand, “How should this be done properly?” There is intention. The time spent here is valuable development, growth, and inspiration. 

#3 Do It Right the First Time: Most of us have heard the quote, “Do it right the first time so you don’t have to go back and do it a second time.” Getting this right will eliminate stress and save you time. Doing things in excellence with your core values guides you and will encourage you to get it right the first time. Whether it be personal or professional, do it right the first time. 

Associates can define their own accountability in how they will do things.  

An associate’s value comes from being the best version of themselves, not a version of the business. The associate can become more valuable to the business when they have their own set of core values to complement the business’s core values. Bring value to the business by being encouraging associates to be the best version of themselves through their own unique gifts, skills, and talents. 

Identify how to support your associates’ core values with The SUPERFANTASTIC ME! available on Amazon. 

About the Author 

Gary Gregory is a Transformational Leadership Coach who brings transformational experiences, tools, and knowledge to equip the SUPER within you so you can steward the FANTASTIC around you. 

He is recognized as a two-time best-selling author and has been in leadership roles for over 20 plus years. 

Gary is a former sponsored triathlete, Ironman, ultramarathoner, and personal trainer. 

Find more information on how to Equip and Steward your team’s leadership at