Good corporate culture is about as elusive as a unicorn. Creating a place where employees want to go to work and want to do their very best every day isn’t easy. There are a few large companies who have succeeded (Zappos, Pixar), but most have thrown in the towel. While it might be easier to build a great culture in a small business, it still takes work and intent. And the time to think about the culture that you want your business to have, whether you’re still in the planning process or 10 years in, is now.

One of the easiest ways to capture the culture of a company is in it’s core values. These are written signals of what the company has decided to prioritize. Your company can have 3 or 30 core values, but they need to reflect the deeply held convictions that your employees will embody. These core values should influence who you hire, who you fire, what kind of customer you attract, and how you make long-term plans.

There is no perfect time in your business to create your core values. Whether you’ve just found your core start-up team, or have been going strong for several years, the only requirement is that you have other people on board to help you write them. If you lock yourself in a closet and come out with stone tablets of values authored solely by you, the buy-in from your employees will be in the exact same proportion to the level of input they had. Zero.

When we at Grit & Virtue looked at what we were building, our team knew that we wanted to create our core values at the beginning. We wanted more than just a mission statement at our launch. We wanted our community to get to know our hearts immediately, so that we could build deep connections quickly.

And so our DNA was developed—and we really mean developed. These didn’t fall from the sky, fully formed and perfect. They were painstakingly crafted. Prayed over. Worried over. Written and rewritten. Tossed out and brought back in. And finally agreed upon.

You’ll notice that we have six, and that they are each one word long. By having only a few and keeping them short, they are memorable, understandable, and leave enough space for each of us to make them personal. As we share our core values with you, and our thinking behind them, we hope you can find inspiration to create your own.

Grit & Virtue’s 6 Core Values:

 

Community

There’s a reason why this one is placed first. Humankind has always craved community, and the fulfillment that comes from engaging and sharing with others. We desire it, seek it out, and despair when we are without it.

First and foremost Grit & Virtue was a community. Before anything ever appeared on the Internet, there was a group who huddled, dreamed, and planned. Then the community grew larger when our Instagram feed was launched. You came, you shared your story and you found others who you could relate to. Now with the addition of a website and a blog, we are building our community a little bit more. New friends, new stories, new heartbreak and celebrations. We come here to listen, to learn, to speak, to lift up, to help and to find help. Grit & Virtue is our corner of the Internet. Our tribe’s homebase. And there’s always room for another sister.

Momentum

We believe in this so much it even made it into our mission statement. Without momentum, there is no movement. Without momentum, our mission stagnates. God doesn’t give us a mission and then ask us to twiddle our thumbs. He asks us to take bold risks and pursue with endurance.

As you may remember from high school physics, momentum is a vector. This means that besides the magnitude of momentum, it also has a direction. We want to keep our momentum pointed in the right direction—toward the mission God has called us to. That’s why we at Grit & Virtue resource our community and help you develop daily habits of focus and accountability. To keep that momentum going.

Family

From the very beginning, we wanted to set our priorities straight. Yes, we’re building our business and pursuing our mission. But we will not choose business over family. All members of our team are married (two to each other), and several of our team members are parents of young children. By explicitly stating that we embrace families and honor them, we give ourselves the grace to do so.

Including family in the values of our business allows our team to not feel like they have to choose one or the other. There’s no guilt for missing a call due to a sick child, or needing to take time off to be with a loved one. God’s first calling is for us to serve our families well. And Grit & Virtue embraces that.

Integrity

Our culture often values outcomes over origins. There’s more importance placed on the sparkly end product than what you had to do to get it to that point. We are firmly stating that we value the journey. We value the work that goes in, the hard decisions that must be made, and the difficult challenges that must be overcome. That through it all, we must remain virtuous.

We want to be sure that what we build for our community is wonderful, but if the way we reached that point doesn’t add up with integrity, then it’s worthless. We are held accountable by eyes that are never closed, by ears that are always listening, and by a heart that knows ours at all times.

Devotion

It’s hard to know the mission God has for you if you aren’t listening to Him. Having a personal and intimate relationship with God is foundational for building not just your business, but your life.

Proverbs 14:1 reads “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears it down.” It’s up to us to build our relationship with Jesus through prayer, worship and reading His Word. The team at Grit & Virtue believes this to our core. We open all meetings with prayer. We are planted in our bibles. We seek God’s guidance and favor in our personal lives as well as in our business. And we want that for you too.

Quality

When our team was thinking about the type of product, content, and business we wanted to develop, none of us ever said: we should create something that no one finds useful. We want Grit & Virtue to be something of substance. A thing of beauty and depth. Something that sticks with you and enriches your soul. A source that you trust and is worthy of that trust.

We vow to do all that we can to provide quality in all that we present to you. If it’s not of the quality we’re after, we will hold off on it’s debut until it’s right. We will re-work and iterate. We will stop production and fix any flaws. Nothing that we send out to you will be less than our very best. And that’s a promise.
Core values are not static labels of a business. They are dynamic descriptors of the mindset and culture of those who work there. So if you and your team create core values, and then realize that something isn’t right—then it’s time for the culture or the values to change. Which one of those it is? Well, that’s up to you.

What do you think about core values? Have you established yours? List one or two of your favorites below to inspire other women on a mission.

Megan Stevens
Megan Stevens

Megan Stevens is embracing her recent move to the South, enjoying the hospitality of Northern Alabama with her husband, 3 year old daughter and soon-to-arrive baby. Megan is passionate about community, celebration and life around the table.

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