Mission, Vision, and Core Values

Core values word cloud

Author: Walter Boos

In a previous post we talked about the importance of hiring and keeping the right people (right people on the bus —> in right seats). An important component of getting this done is to be intentional and thoughtful about defining your organization’s mission, vision, and core values.

We all understand it is always important to write a job description that itemizes the required skills and experience.  That is the equivalent of making sure the right people are in the right seats.

People waiting for bus

But what is sometimes overlooked is defining the personal qualities and attributes in a candidate that will make them “fit in” with their new colleagues. In other words, should that candidate be on the bus at all? What are your company’s values? It is only when you KNOW your company values that you can then assess potential new hires and their compatibility with those key values.

Tim Cadogan is the CEO of OpenX. In a recent LinkedIn post he had this to say about company values:

“Taking the time to define values, breathe life into them, personally exemplify them and keep them fresh and essential is one of the most important things we can do to make our organizations thrive, whether they are companies, sports teams, classes, charities or volunteer groups.”
-Tim Cadogan, CEO, OpenX (read the full article here).


Southwest Airlines publishes their core values. They are:

  1. Warrior Spirit (Work Hard; Desire to the best; Be courageous; Display a sense of urgency; Persevere; Innovate)
  2. Servant’s Heart (Follow the Golden Rule; Adhere to the Basic Principles; Treat others with respect; Put others first; Be egalitarian; Demonstrate proactive customer service; Embrace the SWA Family)
  3. Fun-LUVing Attitude (Have FUN; Don’t take yourself too seriously; Maintain perspective (balance); Celebrate successes; Enjoy your work; Be a passionate team player)

In being public about their core values Southwest is accomplishing at least two things:

  1. Potential job candidates can read and understand what’s important to the company – and determine if they can be comfortable on that “company bus”. 
  2. Southwest employees who interview candidates can assess their alignment with the company’s core values.

Define and document your company’s core values.  And equally important – assess your job candidates in light of those values.  By doing so you will increase the odds of getting the right people on the bus – so you can then focus on seat assignments.