Core Value Fitness

There are only three types of business people.

  1. 0.0: My business is just fine, thank you very much. Mission, vision, values, and culture? Did your mom not hug you enough? GET BACK TO WORK.
  2. Planet Fitness:  We bought into the concept of company mission and culture for a couple of weeks. We wrote our mission statement and promptly put it in a nice binder on a shelf where it is decomposing like the Planet Fitness sticker on my car.
  3. Crossfit:  Dude, you HAVE to try missionvisionvaluesandculture! OMG, you’re not going to believe how awesome our company culture is! You should totally do this! My core values are absolutely ripped, bro!

Several years after our founding we committed our core values to paper. We meant well, we really did. Each core value had a very nice bullet list of descriptions. The list, which nobody could quote, promptly went into a binder and onto a bookshelf to collect dust. On special occasions, we’d pull them out and dust them off like an archaeologist would a clay pot. They served a purpose for a hot minute in history and no longer hold water.

We didn’t see the light until I was introduced to “business Crossfit:”  years of membership in Entrepreneurs’ Organization and reading the book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, by Gino Wickman. At this point, it’s probably instructive to reveal Keystone’s core values to you, a very important part of “business Crossfit!”


We are master craftsmen, experts in our professions, constantly honing our skills. We maintain our expertise no matter the expectations of the world around us.


We listen carefully, ask the right questions, display empathy, and maintain an open mind asking “What more can I do?” to meet the goal, provide the right solutions, and do the job right the first time.


We are polite, professional, realistic, and authentic. We communicate promptly, clearly, and candidly in a respectful manner. We display a positive, helpful attitude, and maintain a healthy sense of humor when the going gets tough.


We are loyal to our Keystone family; flexible and ready to help each other. We are ready, willing, and able to do our part to make our shared mission a reality. We treat each other as we would like to be treated.

Once you have written core values, they become your measuring stick. How you hire, how you get new customers, who those new customers are, how you produce products and services, how you grow, how you manage talent…absolutely everything you do should be viewed through your core values. Our core values are what we expect of everyone; Keystone staff, customers, and vendors.

What are your company’s core values? Can your employees repeat them? Are you walking the talk?

Want to learn more about mission, vision, and values? Here are some helpful places to start:

Harvard Business Review

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