February 2016

• Authenticity: Being exactly what we claim to be

Focus on the user and all else will follow

• Innovation: To be contemporary in our approach to business and life

It’s best to do one thing really, really well

Fast is better than slow

Growth: To have increasing influence

You can make money without doing evil

• Excellence: To consistently exceed expectations

Great just isn’t good enough.

Every word means something. Every value means something. We make franchising decisions based on core values. Hiring decisions. Business decisions. We talk about them in every meeting — internal and external. We believe they set us apart. But that is not why we have them. We conduct ourselves — professionally and personally — by PAIGE. Zappos.com, Inc. (“Zappos”), a company I admire, has become wildly successful because it is first and foremost a service company that happens to sell shoes, clothes and accessories. Its core values reflect that. Some of my favorites are stated here:

You may think, “I am a very different business than a Zappos or a Google.” And you would be right. Mostly. Yes, your industry is different. Your resources are likely very different. Your competitive and business pressures are not the same. But where it matters, you have everything in common with Zappos, with Google, and with Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate. You care about your customers and your teams. You strive to differentiate from your competition. You want to build something to last. Strong companies share a lot of the same genetic code. If core values are necessary for Google and Zappos, they will be necessary for your company. When you look at your business through the lens of core values, you will always see more clearly. Well- articulated core values may not solve all of your company’s issues. They may not make your competition irrelevant. The hard work, my friends, is still yours to do. Your core values will be your North Star. They will provide clarity, long-range vision, a path to strategic decision-making. People come and go. Companies rise and fall. Core values remain.

Deliver WOW Through Service

Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded

Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication

Be Passionate and Determined

Zappos can’t “deliver happiness” without living and breathing these core values. They can’t excel in a highly competitive, margin-pressured business where the same shoe can be bought from 38 different sources. They transcend what they sell. They serve. Everyone from their CEO to their entry-level customer service representative weaves these values into their daily lives. At its core, Google, Inc. (“Google”) is an information company. It makes the world’s information accessible and usable. This noble mission has transformed the way we live and work. It would have been impossible to become the global leader they are today without staying true to their core. There is simply too much pressure — from Wall Street, from competitors, from everyone. When you think about the scale and scope of Google, it seems impossible to put one’s mind around what they have achieved. I have selected a few of Google’s core values to illustrate how they have accomplished what they have:

Sherry Chris is the president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC.


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