Discovering Your Core Values

Here’s a fast and fun way to discover your core values.                                                                                                                    

All credit to Jim Collins 

Gather representative group of employees.

Tell this group that there’s a team of Martian anthropologists studying business on planet earth and they’re trying to understand the culture of your company.

Each person has to come up with the names of 5 employees (other than those in the room) to send to Mars.  There’s no powerpoint and Martians don’t speak English so the point is to choose your 5 people very carefully.  Which 5 people best convey the best things about your company through their actions.  Don’t try to engineer it, just choose the 5 who would best give the Martians a sense of what’s good about the company.

When all names are in, select the top scoring 3.  Then for each of these people in turn discuss why they are important or valuable to the company.  What do they do that sets them apart?  What would co-workers or customers say about them?

Jot down what comes up and look for patterns and themes. Once you get these you can start to find the right words and ideas to express your company’s core values.  If it doesn’t quite do it, keep looking for more stories around the individuals named until the right words emerge.  OR try a different approach and talk about some staff members whose names did not appear and why.  What is it that they don’t do?

This exercise should not take more than an hour.


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