Patton's Picks from the PMA Library: The Core Value Equation

January 2021


If you're looking for book recommendations in the productivity and professional development genre, Patton offers a weekly summary of some of the essential and emerging titles from the PMA Library.

The author struggled to understand the value of "soft skills" in his business with things like core values. He'd composed poetic phrases that he believed would check the box but soon realized there was much more to the concept of core values and how they can have genuine bottom-line value for any organization.  Just like the author's realization, The Core Value Equation offers several concepts relevant to nonprofit leadership:

  1. Organizations don't have core values; people have core values. The development and implementation of core values must be organization-wide. Can everybody in your organization cite its core values? Can you? Start with your leadership team.
  2. CORE VALUES = DECISIONS = ACTIONS = RESULTS. Your core values lead the formula that drives your entire organization. They need to be unique to your organization, and they don't have to be nice! The core values become an invisible scale that informs employee behavior and decision-making.
  3. Consider three levels to your core values description: Theme (30,000 ft), Description (10,000 ft) and Policy and Procedure (ground level: practical examples of how the core values manifest themselves day-to-day).

To make core values "sticky," make sure you survey frequently: get stories and use tools like NPS or Q12 to monitor team ratings. Final point: Use core values questions in recruitment and new hire interviews! 


Darius Mirshahzadeh is the CEO of The Money Source, a nationwide technology-driven mortgage company that was founded in 1997. He previously was senior vice president of wholesale lending at Pacific Union Financial and graduated MIT's entrepreneurial master's program.