• core values for your youth activity center

What are Core Values and Why Your Youth Activity Center Needs Them

Let’s start with an example of a core value your youth activity center could have.

Integrity is a key part of ‘who’ your youth activity center is. Integrity is highly valued: employees who believe in being honest, open, and truthful thrive at your center. Others who want to play politics, hide mistakes, and lie will not thrive. In fact, you will find that they don’t fit in with the culture of your center at all.

In this example, what does the trait of integrity mean to your youth activity center?

If you said “It’s a core value,” Bingo! You are correct! Now that you have this example in your head, let’s dive into core values a little more.

 

What are 5 things that define your youth activity center’s core values? 

  1. Traits or qualities that represent your center’s highest priorities, deeply held beliefs, and fundamental driving forces.
  2. Guiding principles that are essential to forming the vision of your center and the heart of what your center and your employees stand for. Not just in your center and your community, but in the world.
  3. Fundamental core system that is essential to attracting and retaining the best, highest contributing employees to your center.
  4. Define what your center believes and how you want your center to resonate with employees and the world around you.
  5. Integrated with your employees and their belief system and actions that are visible to parents, students, vendors, and industry peers.

 

Why are core values the foundation of your youth activity center?

Core values form the foundation for everything in a youth activity center’s workplace.

It’s an amazing blend that forms your center’s culture:

  • Personal core values of employees and leadership
  • Experiences and upbringing of all employees
  • Ability of leadership to exemplify and lead through core values

The core values of your youth activity center’s founders are powerful shapers of your center’s culture and they permeate the walls and the hearts that form it.

Why is this so? Leaders have power in a youth activity center to set the direction and define daily actions. They set the tone in establishing the quality of the work environment for people directly or through managers. Because they walk their talk, their core values become the core values adopted by all.

 

Why does your youth activity center need core values?

Youth activity centers are a place where adult instructors, administrators, and owners have great potential for influencing a child’s attitudes about discipline, hard work, producing results, self-worth – in addition to athletic skills and training. Adults – especially those in teaching and coaching roles – are the role models that a child looks to for their own behavior choices. A child often wants to imitate and emulate their role models because of the admiration and respect he or she has earned. This doesn’t replace their parental role models but provides another adult example for them. So obviously, the core values exhibited by role models and their organizations have huge potential for influencing a child’s life.

No person or organization is perfect. But everyone strives to model positive examples much more than not. Developing your own core values helps you to ensure that your influence is positive.

 

How do you identify your core values?

In identifying the core values of your center, your goal must be to pinpoint key core values – not a laundry list of values that you copied from another center. Living any more than 10 core values is almost impossible for employees. Four to six is ideal because they are easier to:

  • commit to memory.
  • make visible.
  • maintain as the center of all actions.

To help in identifying your organization’s core values, ask yourself three questions.

1. What behaviors will the company value over making a quick buck?

A team member who chooses to honor the core value over making a sale will be rewarded and not reprimanded.

2. When is it appropriate to put the needs of the team above those of the customer?

A customer should be fired before the team quits because of the customer’s bad behavior.

3. When and how should the success of the team be rewarded as a team, and not unfairly rewarding those who just “appear” to be superstars?

Fantastic service – not magical sales powers – may be the reason salespeople are exceeding expectations. Also, think about which sub-teams should be rewarded for fantastic efforts and when?

 

What are some examples of business core values?

In addition to the previous example core value of integrity, we will share a few other examples where you can see the real-life impact of each illustrated core value.

Core value of caring

For many successful small to mid-sized centers, the core value that defines their success is the care that they exhibit in serving customers. When customers articulate how cherished by the center they feel, it’s obvious that employees are living the core value of extraordinary customer care and service.

Core value of empowerment

In an organization that values empowerment, employees are unafraid to take thoughtful risks. They’re likely to identify and solve problems and are comfortable making decisions without the guidance of a supervisor. Employees who thrive in this empowered environment will do well. Those who prefer precise direction before action will fail if empowerment is a core value of the center

Core value of transparency

Where transparency is valued, everyone will know what is happening in their area and the others that comprise the center. The goals, direction, decisions, financial statements, successes, failures, customer successes, and employee contributions are clearly and freely shared. Employees who don’t want to know and use all of this information may not fit the center’s culture.

Core value of teamwork

If a center values a high level of teamwork, they will think of departments as teams and ask employees to work in those teams, developing new class ideas, or growth strategies. Because the center values relationships and a cohesive approach to working together, it will sponsor employee activities and events for employees and some that include their families. Centers holding this value close foster even closer relationships among employees. More introverted employees who want to work in solitude may find this environment is not a good fit.

Core values of responsibility and accountability

A work culture that values responsibility and accountability must hire employees who are willing to be responsible for their output and outcomes instead of those who make excuses, lay blame and fail to hold each other accountable. Responsibility and accountability as a core value means employees are willing to call each other out when necessary and where management must deal with problem employees in order to maintain the morale of good employees.

 

How do core values start to define behavior?

Make your core values accessible by translating them into value statements that define how people want to behave with each other in the center and they can become integrated into everyday actions. Value statements will be revealed to internal and external communities made up of parents, students, vendors, industry peers, community contacts and prospects.

You can consider your value statements to be the living enactment of the fundamental core values held by most individuals in your center.

A center that has identified and examined the values by which employees want to live is a workplace with motivation potential. Values such as integrity, empowerment, perseverance, equality, self-discipline, and accountability, when truly integrated within the culture of the center, are powerful motivators. Core values are the guide by which a center selects new employees, rewards and recognizes performance, promotes to more senior roles and guides interaction among staff members.

 

How do you measure core values?

You measure living proof of your core values in behaviors. If it’s a core value for employees to do what it takes to take care of parents and students, then don’t discipline them for missing a routine meeting because of it.

A nursing group of employees identified caring service as one of their core values. When they wrote their value statements, one was, “We will respond to all customer calls within one minute.” You can see that their value statement plays a defining role in the employees’ motivation and morale and can easily be measured by the behaviors of those performing these activities.

 

Could there possibly be a downside to identifying core values?

Actually – yes. Identifying the core values that define you presents the opportunity for a downside when leaders fail to uphold the core values they’ve helped to establish. Employees lose trust in leaders and their motivation is deflated. Employees are sort of like 3-year-olds. They watch everything – good and bad – that adults (or leaders in this case) are doing and imitate it.

When leaders watch the everyday actions that take place within their center they should see core values in action.

Employees who choose your center share your core values if given a choice. They are motivated by a work culture that promotes being part of a system that is much bigger than they are and allows them to experience motivation and engagement through shared core values.

Listen to Jackrabbit Technologies co-founder and CEO, Mark Mahoney, talk about Jackrabbit culture and core values below!

About the Author:

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After studying graphic design at the University of Georgia, Jill held several positions in media and marketing including Art Director, Editor and Marketing Director. As a student of dance, she has spent plenty of time in children’s activity centers and puts that experience to work for her in the work she does with Jackrabbit. In addition to her interest in dance, Jill also enjoys sports, gourmet cooking, entertaining, singing and spoiling her five grandchildren.

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