Establishing Core Values

Establishing Core Values

By Jim Knowlton


Establishing your company’s core values can be one of the more difficult tasks as you grow and establish your business. How can you decide which core value is the most important? What is their greatest use, other than a plaque on the wall?


Let’s start by defining exactly what a core value is. Core values are the qualities, values and character traits that are most important to you or your company. They include the words or phrases that describe who you are and what you stand for as a person and a company. Many companies list their core values on their website or display them in their offices to remind employees and visitors what they strive for each day.


Too often, a team’s core values are written by management with little to no input from the team and members as a whole. This type of top-down decree often results in limited buy-in and engagement from the team. Core values are best when written in collaboration with both team members and leadership. Once written, it can be said that the core values of the company or team are the “rules of engagement” with one another and your clients.


One of the ways core values are best utilized is with the hiring and releasing of team members. Your core values are reviewed in depth during job interviews and prior to any job offer. They are used in daily huddles and weekly meetings as a yardstick for compliance with tasks that are deemed most important to the overall success of the team. Commitments made by individuals are measured against the core values, and when found to be in violation, the team member is released from the team. This is especially critical when the violation is in regard to values like honesty, timeliness and client care.


Begin with a purposefully scheduled meeting for the sole purpose of writing and reviewing your company’s core values. Be sure to include team members, management and leadership as equals. A first draft should be completed before a second meeting is scheduled for final review. Once completed, real estate teams' core values should be posted or displayed in a public area, reviewed prior to all group meetings and updated from time to time as needed.

Nearly three decades of real estate experience—including 15 years of coaching with Verl Workman—have made Jim Knowlton one of the top agents in the country and one of the most popular coaches on the 
Workman Success Systems‘ team. In addition to serving as director of Coaching for Workman Success Systems, Knowlton also owned and managed several real estate franchises, earned numerous awards for his performance and continues to lead a Keller Williams Mega Agent team in New Hampshire today. Contact him at

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