Business Building: Why Core Values & Principles Matter

Words: George Hedley

Have you ever played on a team where there was one player who was a bad apple, didn’t play fair, or didn’t follow the team’s vision for success? Or have you worked with a fellow employee who had a bad attitude and constantly complained about the company and managers? Or been on a crew with one person who didn’t carry their weight or worked as hard as everyone else? Or worked for a company where one old-timer is not required to follow the company rules, learn new systems or technology, and seems to have his own set of special rules? 

These anti-team players pull down the entire team and make everyone’s life miserable. To grow a flourishing garden, you must cut out the irregular branches and regularly trim out deadwood to get the plants to thrive, bloom, and reach their full potential. And with a team or company, you must have everyone working together, following the same rules, with positive attitudes, to achieve the highest results possible and win the game. To make this happen takes a clear understanding of what your company rules are, what basic principles you stand for, what kind of people you want working together in your company, and how you expect your team to work with each other and treat your customers, vendors, and subcontractors.

What do you stand for?

What basic business ethics, intrinsic values, and internal principles does your company and people stand for? A very important component of building a great company is defining, knowing, and monitoring your business principles or core values. I call these your “Core Values” or “BIZ-Principles.”

Core Values

- Basic values, principles, beliefs, and standards of behavior.

- What really matters to your company regarding how you do business and work with others.

- Fundamentals, principles, rules, and guidelines for employees to follow.

- What we stand for, driving forces, and qualities we strive to exemplify.

Deciding what your company stands for and what beliefs are important to you and your company will allow you to build a strong team or employees. And how you want to treat customers and other companies you deal with. By defining these basic principles or core values, they will act as guides to keep you on the right track for future decisions, choices, dilemmas, personnel issues, and challenges you face. Your BIZ-Principles will act as a filter or sieve when addressing employees who don’t match your values, dealing with customers who don’t have the same beliefs as you, or deciding on which direction you should go on important matters that may fall into tough gray areas.

For example, if one of your basic core values is teamwork and being a team player, keeping people hired who have bad attitudes, won’t follow company standards, or continue to disrupt the flow of progress doesn’t fit within your BIZ-Principles and therefore these bad apples shouldn’t work for your company. If a core value is to be accountable for results, and a field crew foreman continually makes excuses for not meeting his project schedule or production goals, he can’t continue to work at your company without major improvement in his attitude or results. If one of your basic principles is attention to detail, and an experienced long-time field superintendent continually has long completion punch-lists after every project, he should be given the chance to improve or shown the door if there is resistance without improvement. If one of your basic values is continuous improvement and willingness to change, and a longtime manager is really good at running jobs and completing them on-time, but he won’t improve or learn the new software systems or do his paperwork per company standards, he then shouldn’t be allowed to continue on this downward special treatment spiral hindering and holding back the overall progress of your company.

Having clearly defined BIZ-Principles or core values will help you make good decisions about how to lead, run, and manage your company, people, priorities, and projects. There are no exceptions to your principles. For example, full-value means giving fair prices on change orders to customers. Following company standards means everyone follows the rules, not just a few. Take ownership and act to find solutions means not calling your supervisor to get approval on every small decision ten times a day. Honesty and do what you say means telling the truth about the schedule, late or on-time and then doing whatever it takes to achieve the agreed upon deadlines versus telling customers what they want to hear. Achieving winning results means knowing the production budget and working hard to achieve it without excuses.

Draft your BIZ-Principles

Get your key managers and leadership team together to determine your company’s core values and principles. Give everyone the following list of values to consider and ask them to select their top five:

__ Integrity & Honesty

__ Excellence & High Standards

__ Customer First

__ Focused On Profitable Growth

__ Quality & Attention To Detail

__ Laser-Like Focus To Achieve Results

__ Strong Leadership & Planning

__ Decisive, Disciplined & Strategic

__ Professional, Competent & Experts

__ Follow Company Standards & Systems

__ Confident, Competitive & Motivated

__ Dependable & Loyal

__ Pro-Active Decisive Problem Solver

__ Goal, Results & Solution Driven

__ Full-Value

__ Full-Service

__ Winning Can-Do Positive Attitude

__ Safety First

__ Accountable & Responsible

__ Willing To Make Decisions  

__ Efficient & Effective

__ On-Time & Fast Paced

__ Pro-Active & Go the Extra Mile

__ Plans Ahead

__ Always Do The Right Thing

__ Do What We Say We’ll Do  

__ Productive

__ Fair & Respectable

__ Teamwork & Team Player

__ Innovative Creative Flexible

__ Systemized & Organized

__ Committed & Follows-Thru On Commitments

__ Adaptable & Willing To Change

__ Cutting-Edge

__ Continuous Improvement

__ Ability To Develop “A” Players

After your management team selects their top choices, tally them and then discuss which principles work for everyone and represent the real values your company wants to stand for. Try to limit your principles to 5 or less. I recommend no more than 7 or you will have too many to remember, manage, and stay focused on. If you must, you can combine a few principles into one – “Team players with positive attitudes who always follow company systems.” The following are two examples of companies I worked with their management team to help develop their BIZ-Principles:

Acme Construction Company BIZ-Principles

  1. Integrity & Honesty – Do What We Say With Respect.
  2. Accountable & Responsible To Achieve Results With Excellence.
  3. Motivated Professional Who Solves Problems.
  4. Safety, Quality & Production Focused To Hit Goals.
  5. Committed To Continuous Learning, Change & Improvement.
  6. Team Players With Positive Attitudes Who Follow Co. Standards & Systems.

Excel Contractor BIZ-Principles

  1. Honesty, Integrity, Truthful, Respectful & Fair to All Parties.
  2. Take Ownership, Make Decisions, Find Solutions & Act.
  3. Do What's Right & Do What You Say You’ll Do.
  4. Meet Expected Results With No Surprises Or Excuses.
  5. Commitment To Exceed Customer Expectations.
  6. Responsible For Safety First.

Now it is your turn to draft and develop your Core Values. Need help? To get your copy of George’s BIZ-Principles and BIZ-Vision Worksheets, email After you have your BIZ-Principles completed, post them proudly in your office for all to see. Use them to make decisions about how you do business, treat others, act, operate, hire people, manage, and work with others. You can also add them to your employee review process and rate each person on all the values and principles to determine if they are acting within your values or need improvement.



George Hedley CPBC is a certified professional construction business coach and popular speaker.  He helps contractors build better businesses, grow, increase profits, develop management teams, improve field production, and get their companies to work. He is the best-selling author of “Get Your Construction Business To Always Make A Profit!” available on To get his free e-newsletter, start a personalized BIZCOACH program, attend a Profit-Builder Boot Camp, or get a discount at online university for contractors, Visit or E-mail

George Hedley CSP CPBC




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