February 2016 H OUSING N EWS R EPORT

MY TAKE By Sherry Chris

President and CEO, Better Homes & Garden ® Real Estate

Beyond the Poster: Why Core Values Matter

than the daily roadblocks you navigate. That new challenge could force a prioritization you didn’t think you could actually make without tremendous ramifications. The challenge could make you question decisions you thought were no-brainers. It could fly in the face of what you believe the company is capable of. At those times — may they be few and far between — you need a framework: • Decision making: The highest return-on-investment for core values. We make thousands of decisions a day. As I stated above, some are more challenging than others. Core values can be the critical starting point. Or the final word. • Strategic growth: Growth for growth’s sake may be tempting to satisfy a short-term goal, but it’s no way to build a business that lasts. Core values empower you to approach growth with a long-term view. • Hiring and affiliation: Who you work with; who you partner with; who you hire. People are the lifeblood of business, no matter how much technology changes our landscape. Your team and partners must share your core values. • Prioritization: No matter how large your team, or how deep your company’s coffers, your need to prioritize will make you feel conflicted. We all face it. I have had to make too many prioritization calls than I care to admit. But not once have I doubted my decisions because they were rooted in our core values. Your core values are specific to your business. They must be an authentic reflection of what your company is today and what it wants to be in the future. Authentic. Let’s take a moment to discuss that. A disaster scenario with core values is if you select some that just simply won’t pass the sniff test. Here are ours. They are as true today as they were the day we committed them to our company’s fabric. We like to call them PAIGE. • Passion: To stimulate energy to a higher level of inspiration and emotion

In July 2007, I was given the most exciting opportunity of my professional career: to lead the Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate brand. We were starting with a clean slate: we could make this a brand of the future. We didn’t begin with an existing network, or a brand look-and- feel, or even a website. We began with one thing: core values.

If you build something with the right foundation, it stabilizes everything. We launched the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand during what — on paper — may have looked like the most challenging possible time given the state of the housing market and the overall U.S. economy. It made having core values all the more important. Because we were a start-up, having core values was a natural first step for the way I wanted to build the brand And here’s a public service announcement: be prepared. Core values are painful. They require constant care and feeding. They will reflect who you are as a company with no airbrushing. If you do not act in the way you state, every blemish and scar will show. They may not, under any circumstances, be compromised. Depending upon the current state of your business, you may need to make some substantial changes before you can officially adopt core values. You may need to make some operational, personnel, or policy changes to have the right fertile ground within which your core values can take root. Take the time to assess your business environment. It will pay dividends in the successful implementation of this critical strategy. The importance of core values goes beyond having a unifying rallying cry. It goes beyond having something catchy to put on a poster that you hang on your wall. Core values should be at the center of everything you do, every decision you make. Inevitably in business, you will be faced with a tremendous challenge thatwill requiredecisions. Itwill bemore confounding

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