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Core Values for the Independent Contractor


As an employee of EAGLE, I’ve spent a fair bit of time looking at posters, placards and marketing pieces that talk about our Core Values.  INNOVATION, INTEGRITY, EXCELLENCE, TEAM make up the four pillars of our organization and I like them for their simplicity yet powerful statement.  And they really do fit with what we try to achieve on a day to day basis at EAGLE.

Recently, I started thinking about the folks we work with, the independent contractor community.   I wondered if having struck out on their own whether they felt the need or desire to develop their own list of core values as key principles to how they would operate their business and careers.  So I asked a number of senior level contractors who had been self-employed for a long time and almost universally, I received the same answer from each of them.  “I’m one person so I don’t need to worry about how other people act, I just worry about myself”.

I understand their view but the more I think about it, the reasons for having a set of core values seem obvious.  Here’s why developing your own company core values, even if you are a company of one, is an excellent investment to make.

  1. Improved decision-making: The business world is complex and decisions are rarely cut and dried. Core values can act as a test and improve the speed by which you make a decision.  Ask yourself, “If I do X, does that reflect the core values that I’ve decided are paramount to my success”?

  2. Consistency: It’s hard to be consistent and as stated above, there is often a whole lot of grey between the black and white. But it’s amazing how core values over time become not just words but guiding principles to how you make decisions and consistency flows from that increased certainty.

  3. Success: Core Values help define a path, your preferred future and by implementing them, you are consciously putting together a complete game plan to ensure you are on the road to success.

  4. Evaluation: Things don’t always go as planned and sometimes you need to look back and see where things didn’t go quite right. Core values again act as a test against which to evaluate your decisions.  And yes, the unexpected does happen, but it is amazing how often when we truly look back, we identify where we took the wrong fork in the road.

Core values are not just a large corporation thing and regardless of the size of your enterprise, can be great tool for helping guide your career and differentiate your approach . As Mahatma Ghandi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.