The Hidden Key to Effective Leadership: Defining Your Core Values

Posted by Jenni Catron on Sep 6, 2023 5:00:00 AM
The Hidden Key to Effective Leadership: Defining Your Core Values

In our LeadCulture framework, I define culture as: who we are and how we work together to achieve our mission. 

Notice that there are two key phrases in this definition:

  1. Who we are
  2. How we work together

The first part is typically pretty locked in for most organizations. It’s your purpose - why you do what you do, often described in a mission statement and supported by distinctives that set you apart from your competitors. Most organizations do good work bringing clarity to this. 

It’s the second part that I see leaders leave to chance. Most leaders have an intuitive sense of “How we do things around here,” and assume this is understood by others. Sure, astute team members pick up on these unwritten expectations for how to succeed in your organization and, by and large, we get away with this organic approach to culture shaping until growth creates complexity that leaves this vague understanding untenable. 

That’s when you find yourself saying things like: 

“I don’t understand how they didn’t know that”

“We’ve always done it this way”

“I would never say that to a customer”

One of the anchor tools in our LeadCulture framework is what we call the Values Grid. The Values Grid helps you define how you work together. More than just a list of 5 core values, the Values Grid pushes you and your team to consider the values that really guide how you work, and then expands upon those values by providing three additional core elements that bring your values to life.

Let’s look at the 4 parts of the Values Grid:

  1. The Value. Nothing flashy here… just one word or short phrase that is important to you. Examples might be: servant leadership, collaborative communication, humility, fun.
  2. Belief Statement. This statement forces you to synthesize why this value is important to you and your organization. Research confirms that we’re typically only going to remember 3-5 core values, so we better choose values that have deep meaning. The belief statement puts language to your conviction for why this value is critical. 
  3. Behaviors. What does this value look like in action? For example, the value of “excellence” may mean something very different to you than to another team member. For each value, write 3-4 behaviors that help team members understand what this value looks like in action. 
  4. Sticky Statement. We remember values when we make them memorable, either via stories or language that provides a picture. Make your values memorable by crafting language that recalls a specific story or conjures an image that makes it distinct. 

By way of example, here is the 4Sight Team Values Grid.




Sticky Statement


We can't lead others if we aren't living what we teach.

We establish and maintain healthy rhythms personally and professionally

Lead yourself well to lead others better


We are committed to consistent growth and learning by pursuing continued education and certifications that help us serve our clients better


We pursue relationships with leaders a few steps ahead of us.


People First (Heart)

Leadership is the sacred privilege of changing and affecting the lives of others. We don't take this for granted and are committed to seeing people before the task, the project, and the dollars.

We give others the gift of belief.

Slow down to see people


We add value always.


We are conscious of the vulnerability required by leaders to engage us and are committed to stewarding their trust.


Humble Confidence (Soul)

It's not about us; it's about Christ in us

We lead with "open hands" - faithful to do our part, confident in God for outcomes.

Open hands


We faithfully steward what is entrusted to us without manipulating or controlling it.


We quickly admit mistakes, take ownership, and move forward with new understanding.


Wise Stewardship (Mind)

We recognize the sacred responsibility of our power (influence) over decisions, people, and resources and are committed to being good stewards of all that we are a part of.

We continuously cultivate deep understanding, insight, and knowledge, the ability to make good judgments

Seek wisdom


We are wise in our usage of social media or public facing comments when we speak, recognizing the significance of our influence and platform.


We heed our instincts, listen to customers AND get sound data before making decisions.


Courageous (Strength)

Our courage and strength are gifts to those we lead.

We take calculated risks and step outside of our comfort zone.

Go first


We are honest with our clients even when it's uncomfortable choosing to share what we believe will make them better.


We embrace hard conversations knowing that we'll move forward stronger for it.



Does your team currently have values? Do they sometimes feel a bit vague? If so, I encourage you to use the values grid to help you put greater definition to your values, which will provide more clarity to your culture.

Be sure to download our free Values Grid Guide here. 

Need to write values or revisit them? Check out our course, Culture Works: Values Grid. This course will walk you through the process of defining your values and building out your values grid. If there is anything we can do to help you as you navigate this values journey, please reach out! Our coaches are certified in the LeadCulture Framework and are ready to guide you as you develop and implement your own values grid.


Are You New to The 4Sight Group?

As leaders, we’re full of ideas and initiatives. We see potential and opportunity all around. We can almost taste the outcome, but often we get bogged down by how we’ll get from here to there.

The “how” can be overwhelming and discouraging, so we give up on our goals or fail to build a plan to help us achieve them.

These five steps will get you and your team on the path to moving from ideas to action! We’d love to have you join our community and access this free PDF!


Keep leading well!

Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group


Jenni Catron Circle

Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.

Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.

Topics: Leadership, Values, self leadership, Leadership Development, Team Culture, team values, staff values

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