Understanding core values to identify, simplify and solidify.

Blog-Byline-RobertOn December 20, 2005, Johnny Damon signed a four-year contract with the New York Yankees after a four-year stint with their hated rival, the Boston Red Sox. Two days later, Damon, who looked like a not-so-distant relative of the Neanderthals, hacked off his flowing brown hair and took a razor to his majestic beard.

As a member of the Red Sox, a self-proclaimed team of idiots, Damon embraced the persona of a man who looked like he spent much of his free time making cave drawings and avoiding showers. He wasn’t alone though. The team attracted wild personalities, and they embraced the outlandish to develop strong team chemistry. Damon’s beard and flowing locks were a part of who he was and were as much a symbol of the Red Sox as the red “B” on their caps.

But when Damon donned the Yankee pinstripes at his first press conference, everything changed. The makeover was not strictly a product of a personal choice but one driven by adherence to the values of the New York Yankees. The New York Yankees have a team dress code that prohibits long hair and facial hair.

When Damon signed on the dotted line, he exchanged a team that embraced idiocy for a franchise with a long-standing culture of excellence down to the men’s grooming habits. These are the values the New York Yankees have stood on for decades, and each and every player is aware of the core values of the franchise when they walk into the locker room.

1238166_634797179886056_484459215_nThe term “core values” can easily be considered one of those buzz words that gets thrown around with minimal explanation or clarification as to what they actually are. According to the online business dictionary, a core values is a principle that guides an organization’s internal conduct as well as its relationship with the external world.

Put more simply, core values guide actions, decisions and vision. They are the standards and values we hold most dear, from either and organizational or individual stand point. Core values are rock solid, unchanging pillars that mark an entity over the long haul. They make the organization more than the organization actually makes them

Much of an organization’s identity and character is wrapped up in its core values. In a lot of ways, it is the beginning of the answer to the question, “Who are you?” Even businesses with similar goals hold different core values. Look at the Yankees and the Red Sox comparison. Both win a lot of baseball games but have different methods of doing so.

Beta Upsilon Chi wraps its vision around five core values: brotherhood, unity, faith, leadership and character. We will address these values more specifically in the coming weeks and semesters, but why is it important to have a sound grasp of these core values?

  1. Core values provide clarity and order. Clear understanding of your identity is pivotal to the success of any person or organization. This is especially valuable to BYX because Christian social fraternities are not exactly commonplace. This is a unique concept, and everybody and their grandpa seems to have an opinion of what BYX is. These core values end the debate to a certain degree, especially when you see them expressed concisely in the identity statement. It states that BYX is a lifelong brotherhood of committed Christian men seeking the bonds of brotherhood and unity in Christ through the avenue of a social fraternity on a college campus. There isn’t a ton of room for interpretation there. It is what it is.
  2. Core values guide decision-making. These principles become your lines in the sand; Once you have stepped across, there is no turning back on them. When an organization treats their core values with proper reverence, every decision is run through them as a filter. The core values will sift out ideas and actions contrary to the identity of the organization.
  3. Core values enable individuals to make educated decisions as to whether or not this is an organization they should join. This third reason is particularly pertinent to the fraternity specifically in recruitment season. Outsiders, and in some cases insiders, can look at what drives an organization’s decision-making and determine if that aligns with what governs theirs. People that will join an organization they disagree with are few and far between. Core values make groups appropriately exclusive. We don’t want men that don’t buy what we’re selling, thus properly conveying the fraternity’s core values are pivotal to the fraternity’s success.

John Maxwell said, “Core values give order and structure to an individual’s inner life, and when that inner life is in order, a person can navigate almost anything the world throws at him.”

A sound grasp of the fraternity’s core values sets BYX up for whatever challenges might come its way. They anchor the fraternity, allowing it to adhere to its purpose, vision and culture within the ever-changing landscape of academia. We must keep the collective “inner life” of the brothers and fraternity as a whole in order.

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