Ford Motor Company provided an exemplary model of communicating their core value when they launched “Quality is Job One”. That concise message not only informed prospective buyers where Ford’s major emphasis was placed, it communicated to Ford’s employees the intention they were to fulfill.

The word may seem a nebulous abstraction but “value” is the bedrock upon which all life rests. Survival is the fundamental value, but once that is assured, others are more operational—their hierarchy determining all choices made. Values that rise to the top become the drivers in life’s further development, whether that is the life of an individual or a company.

Servant Leadership, our core value at Schmidt Associates, does not lend itself to capture in a succinct slogan. That’s OK. Not only do actions speak louder than words, they speak first—particularly in regard to servant leadership. Instead of telling others our intention, we listen to theirs. An optimal response can only be garnered from a position of full understanding and appreciation. If we prove capable and respectful of “owners” (clients’) values, a relationship of confidence and trust grows in which we may be allowed greater leadership responsibility. That is our preferred platform; it has worked pretty well.

Knowing what is of greater and lesser value is the basis of sound judgment—a skill necessary for survival and success. What is your core?

“Define what your brand stands for, its core values and tone of voice, and then communicate consistently in those terms.”

—Simon Mainwaring