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Core Values Speech: How It's Done

The first step in rolling out EOS to your organization is an all hands meeting. In that meeting, the Visionary (or Integrator) delivers a "Core Values Speech." The speech paints the picture with history, stories, examples, analogies and perhaps even "anti" examples. The leaders share what acceptable behaviors look like in action HERE. There is a hiring mantra: “hire for behavior, train for performance.” The Core Values Speech reinforces acceptable behavior.

Walk the Walk

In EOS, core values are "discovered." Not written by a marketing company or consultant. Discovered. As each value goes up, leaders weigh in: Can I live this value? If you are a leader, you can't forget that YOU are the model for behavior. Everyone in the company takes their cue from you on how to behave. How to communicate. How to hold themselves accountable.

If a leader is serious and abrupt, meetings and the culture will most likely mirror that.

If a leader is fun, appreciative and hard-working, ditto.

I observed this phenomena of mirroring when I worked for the GAP when Mickey Drexler was CEO. In one meeting, someone noted that all twelve men were wearing a version of Mickey's daily dress. Flat front khakis, brown belt, denim shirt. We had a chuckle, which was mostly nervous from the fellows.

WHY Core Values Fall Short:

They are aspirational – not reflective of the company

They are “permission to play” – so foundation to being a good human being that the bar is too low

They are Accidental – they exist, but not meaningful, and may came from leaders who’ve moved on

They are in a drawer, on a wall. Not actualized into everyday behavior

They become internal marketing slogans, easy to ignore

How to Make them Stick

DO support your Visionary’s telling of a Core Value Speech

Know your core values by heart

Recognize core values in action with ‘core value shout-outs’ – in meetings, on paper, in contests

Ask employees to get in on the fun, and do their own Core Value shout outs

Chunk them out. Rotate through each value by week, quarter, month. Over time, everyone in the entire organization will know them.

This photo came from a personal experience I had with company core values. It was a hot Atlanta day. I had just heard the founder of King of Pops share his core values at the 2019 #EOSConference in Atlanta. I asked the KoP stand employee if she knew them by heart. She nailed it. Knew them all. We both thought that was fantastic. This photo captured the moment. Here are their values.

✦ Be Thoughtful
✦ Get Sweaty
✦ Good Vibes Only
✦ Wear The Shirt
✦ Stay Hungry
✦ Get It Done

Enjoy these Core Values Speech Winners. Be inspired. Get Writing.


As part of the Leadership Team

Core Values

that produces the #EOSConference, I was delighted that our 2020 Conference featured examples of Leaders delivering their EOS Core values speech.

Introducing the 2020 Winners. Watch them and be inspired.


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