How important are values in business, really?

Most companies have mission and vision statements that they publicly and proudly broadcast to their employees, customers, and anyone else that wants to know what’s the driving force behind the company. This can also just be the grounding concept that prompted the founder to start the company in the first place. If we look a little deeper, we may also find the core values of the company, which are the fundamental beliefs that guide the behavior of the company with its employees and customers. But really, how important are these core values? Values in a company that take them seriously are a standard, but to those that don’t entrench them in everything they do, values mean nothing. This post will explore how important or unimportant core values are to companies.

Let’s take a look at companies that seem to hold their core values with high regard. Not just through lip service and window treatment but with how they treat their employees and customers, which are the fundamental elements of innovativeness.


This luxury hotel chain named after its founder JW. Marriott is a leader in the hospitality industry offering luxurious amenities and higher tier experiences for its customers. Its value statement is “we put people first, we pursue excellence, we embrace change, we act with integrity, and we serve our world.” From this we can distill Marriott’s values as a priority list: employees, excellence, change, integrity and service. With over 175,000 employees around the world, its no wonder their people are the top of that list. The Marriott Management Philosophy outlines J.W. Marriott’s tradition of values and beliefs that he instilled in the culture of the organization that he founded in 1984. These values have been and will continue to be important for the future growth of the company. And based on these values the company is continuing to grow, as evidenced by its 2018 adjusted net income totaling $2.2 billion, which is a 38 % increase over the prior-year adjusted. Company’s don’t grow like that without solid management, infrastructure to withstand exponential growth, and fundamental beliefs that guide the company morally. Here’s a great article about why Marriott employees stay.


This iconic e-commerce giant is an internet-based retailer, manufacturer of e-book readers and Web-services provider. Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 offering any book to any reader anywhere. Its values are customer obsession, Invent and simplify, hire and develop the best, deliver results, earn trust of others. Although the business model has come under scrutiny for being just a retailer of consumer products, the values support Mr. Bezos’ contention that Amazon is a technology company that simplifies online transactions for consumers. The enterprise has also held to the ‘invent’ portion of that value, as evidenced by the number of patents applied for and / or granted to Amazon. In addition, Amazon has held to its ‘deliver results’ value by expanding its operations beyond retailing and delivering results in its e-book readers, Amazon Web Services portfolio, Fulfillment services and Inventory management systems. With the second-largest workforce in the US, Amazon has maintained its value to hire and develop the best. Here’s an article about the rollout of one of Amazon’s employee engagement initiatives. Finally, according to this report, Amazon has earned the trust of consumers in an area that has been and will continue to be hotly debated, privacy and use of consumer data.

Alternatively, the following company’s have taken a less literal approach to its value statements. Obviously, business leaders don’t’ consciously violate their values or intend to do so when they start out as wide-eyed, eager entrepreneurs but something happens that makes their value system breakdown, consequently making values less of a priority to them.


Another company founded in the 80s was major player in the interstate pipeline sector then launched its broadband services unit to trade commodities online. Enron’s values are Respect, Integrity, Communication, and Excellence. In addition, it had a "

Vision and Values" mission statement which declared, "We treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. We do not tolerate abusive or disrespectful treatment. Ruthlessness, callousness, and arrogance don't belong here. Yet if we look at the