How to Develop Company Values in 3 Actionable Steps

Improving Your Company’s Values is as Easy as 1,2,3…

#1 – Understand why company values are important.

#2 – How to develop company values (by using the 8 Value Level System).

#3 – Summarise how to developing company values in 3 easy steps.

Step #1: Understand Why Company Values are Important 

The Values Run People’s Behaviour and Therefore the Results

A value is simply what you evaluate to be important, why it is important, and what it will give you. For example, for someone, it will be important to have freedom to work at a flexible time because it gives balance, peace, and opportunities.

Values are highly driven by emotion. They are either driven to get away from emotions we don’t want such as sadness. On the other hand, to move forward to good emotions such as peace, a feeling of freedom, and success.

The summary of all values is what we call a value system. We have an individual value system and at the same time a group value system. To keep it simple, your values are the way you perceive your life. It runs everything in your life, from small decisions to big decisions. Your values decide whether you seek a promotion, marriage, or maybe a religious or spiritual bliss.

Mission, Vision and Core Value blocks

The Companies are Driven by People – and People are Driven By Values

A human’s value system is stored inside their inner hard disk. You might have heard about the iceberg principle in psychology. The principle that tells us that our inner world is unconscious and lives under the surface. According to the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud, our inner world is all the unconscious programs that we are not aware of in the moment of the here and now.

This means that values, memories, and emotions are stored under the surface. Therefore, we need to focus and ask questions to make the unconscious program conscious. Just like you open a file on your computer, you start by connecting, entering the search, and opening the file. Then you read it.

If You Don’t Connect the Dots You Don’t Get the Results

The value system runs goals, mission, and vision and the company must connect the dots. It is not enough to just develop the values for the company. They need to finish up the work and do the integration of the values at all levels.

Therefore, the company needs to connect the values to the company’s goals, vision, and mission. Then further connect and integrate valuesvision, and mission into the company’s employers, and then to the market and customers.

It is highly important that the employees choose to dedicate themselves to the declaration of values, vision, and mission by their own free will and their own autonomy. Because the western world allows people to belong to their own personal value system, that is ranked from awareness and value level from 1 to level 8, as you soon will learn more about.

Summary of Why Company Values are Important: 

    • Values ​​control people’s behaviour and therefore the company’s destiny.

To activate the values connecting it to the company’s vision and mission.

The values, vision, and mission must be connected to the team where they are committed to following the values, vision, and mission as a great guideline.

Step #2: How to Develop Company Values

coloured stones with different values written on them
Developing company values includes awareness of these 5 values

It has often been said that personal and professional development is just about two things. Firstly, to increase the level of awareness. Secondly, to increase the level of responsibility. When it comes to developing values, that is straight to the point.

So how can we develop the company’s values and take awareness and responsibility into consideration at the same time?

In fact, there is a model that is perfect for that task. It is called the Level of Human Value or the spiral dynamic. The model is a guideline on how people move upward to a higher level of awareness,  responsibility, and development of their core values.

According to the famous psychiatrist Clare Graves, who is the founder of the 8 values system, people’s level of awareness and values are at 8 different levels.

Level of Human Value

Dr. Clare Graves suggests that we live and work on 8 different levels of awareness and value. Like a spiral we can move up or down in the values system. Therefore, the model is also called the Spiral Dynamic. According to Doctor Graves, we will only move to the next level if we don’t find a solution at the existing level. For example, a crisis can take us to the next level of awareness, responsibility, and values, and a crisis can also take us down to a lower level.

We can develop values for companies by using these 8 value systems. The model gives us and the company great information about why people do and behave the way they do.

This is essential when we develop values for a company.

When you go through the 8 levels, please be aware of following:

    • The level that people operate on can not understand a higher level than themselves, only levels that are underneath themselves.

All levels are great in their own existence.

The lowest level of awareness is number 1, the highest level is number 8. When we are developing values ​​for business it is recommended to use extra focus on level 3,4,5,6 because they are the dominant levels in the Western world. Especially value levels 4 and 5 that represent up to 60%. That is really something to think about when you develop values in the company.

Please note that the text and illustration in the 8 values model is very simplified and is not the original model. It is created as an inspiration and is not the original complex model. 

Awareness and Value Level 1 – The Survival Level

  • Estimated to apply:  0.1 % of the people in the western world
  • Group or individual: Individual
  • Behaviour: survival and Instinctive behaviour with the instinct to fulfill the primary needs to survive.
  • Character: can only focus on themselves and have not the capacity or level of awareness to focus on other things than what gangs themselves.
  • Level of awareness: low
  • Core values: be safe
  • Other Values: away from cold, pain, starving – mowing towards safeness, sleep, peace
  • People: dement, newborn, elderly, people who are strongly seeking or addicted to drugs

Number 1 golden foil balloon party decor on white background, birthday anniversary concept

Tips to Develop Values for Level 1

This level is not represented in companies and therefore not to take into consideration.

Awareness and Value  Level 2  – The Goods or Spirits Level   

  • Estimated to apply: 10 % of the people in the western world
  • Group or individual: Group
  • Behaviour: they do what the group rules are told them to do, very often rituals and group activities that are linked to a strong religious or spiritual regime
  • Character: can only focus on their own needs and their commitment and duty to the group. The group’s law becomes the one law of existence, no matter what. People on this level have no ability to understand other than themselves and can not make a deep connection to someone outside the group.
  • Level of awareness: low
  • Level of self responsibility: low, because the response is not their own, it is chosen upon their leaders or their goods
  • Core value: sacrifice is not only a bliss, but a must. The rewards come in the afterlife. Dedication and honor. The primary focus is to fulfill the group goals.  Physical safeness is another core value.
  • Other Values: away from any group rejection, pain, separation and punishment – moving towards to accept, fulfillment of the order and salvation, rewards of the goods
  • The upside: The dedication and commitment can be positive if it leads to positive duties. Great scarification can be done for the higher good and to society.
  • The downside: If you agree and follow the values you are okay – if you don’t, you are not okay. You are out, in the worst case out of existence.
  • People: People are strongly fantasized and always under an extreme religious dogma/group or sect. This level is a “black or white” orientation and the rules are decided by the order or the religions.

Number two textured gold trophy or award

Tips to Develop Values for Level 2

It can be a very tricky case, if even possible at all. The level 2 will only work to fulfill their own group’s value. They can, with the permission of the group, accept the company’s values and rules, but don’t expect them to be a part of the values on a deeper level. It would be a very rare coincidence if the company has the same value system as the group, but of course, it is not impossible. If so, it can work out, at least for a while. Be aware that Level 2 doesn’t understand other levels than themselves. This indeed can create a dilemma and conflicts in your company.

Awareness and Value Level 3  – The Power Level 

  • Estimated to apply: 15 % of the people in the western world
  • Group or individual: Individual
  • Behaviour: they are impulsive individuals with dominant action. They can be a part of a group but always as an individual. They can make a strong commitment to core values as a family.
  • Character: level 3 focuses on their own needs as a number one priority, but they also understand other individual needs when they are at the same levels or underneath level 3. They see the world as a typical “Rambo movie” where the strongest are heroes. Only the strong will survive.
  • Level of awareness: low to middle
  • Level of self responsibility: middle, they take personal responsibility for their actions in their own way. They don’t believe in the court system, but by solving things out by their own rules,
  • Core value: family, loyalty, respect, honour, action, brother or sisterhood,
  • Other Values: away from punishment – moving towards action for power, respect and authority
  • The upside: They can be very street smart and make great results by using their personal energy and their own experience, dedicated and loyal to the company’s value if they have done an agreement and commitment for them to do so.
  • The downside: If they aren’t personally connected to the values and the rules in the company, they don’t follow them no matter what. It’s their way or the highway.
  • People:It can be people that are rich and famous, the middle-class people, the poor people, actors, entreprenørs, a clever lawyer, or a self-made millionær. It can also be the leader or a member of a mafia system. As you can see. All kinds of people are in Level 3.


large number 3 on a black and white calendar

Tips to Develop Values For Level 3

According to Dr. Graves 15% of the western population are on level 3 so it’s likely that your company has level 3 employers and customers. Keep in mind that you must be a strong leader. To connect and dedicate the company’s values, you can present the values and vision as a kind of brother/sisterhood or as the company family’s rules. Level 3 are often highly dedicated to their loved one. Then simply ask level 3 people about their opinion and how the value can be a strong driving force for all in the company family and all the customers. Therefore, if you connect their feedback and take them seriously they will likely reward you with great loyalty. And if you give them power and economical rewards they can be the best ambassadors and workers you have ever had.

Awareness and Value Level 4  – The System, State and Government Level 

  • Estimated to apply: 30 % of the people in the western world
  • Group or individual: Group-oriented
  • Behaviour: they are group-oriented with a strong dedication to following a higher system, such as the government and a religious system. They follow the law, social norms, and structures.
  • Character: level 4 focuses on their own needs and the group’s needs. They are likely to trust the mainstream system and be a strong supporter of all systems, from the local football teams to the church, workplace, political organisation, and the rules of the nation.
  •  Level of awareness: low to middle
  • Level of self responsibility: low to middle, they are lending themselves to the system so self responsability can in many cases be low
  • Core value: structure, stability, safeties, family, duty and ethical, political, and religious norms
  • Other Values: away from standing outside the system – moving towards stability and order in the system
  • The upside: They can be highly dedicated to values, vision, and the team. In fact, they are those employers that work steadily and hard year after year as long as they are a part of a system.
  • The downside: If they don’t feel safe and connected to the system they can create conflicts as a way of understanding which system they belong to. This can create splits in the team and conflict.
  • People: Teachers, judges, people that work in the health care service, in the church, and people that work in the government and the local politics. Of course, it could also be people with any type of carrier. Just remember they are all led by the same structure and system, a belief in the government.


Metal numeral 4 four, isolated on white background, with clippin

Tips to Develop Values For Level 4

According to Dr. Graves 30% of the western population are on level 4 so your company has several of 4 employers and customers. To develop values you can communicate the company’s values ​​with structure, law, ethics and order. However, unlike level 3, level 4 doesn’t need to be personally involved in the process. They are probably the “easiest” levels when it comes to developing core values ​​in a business. This is because it is so natural for people at this level to trust leaders/systems who take responsibility to create a structure and a system. Furthermore, they expect everyone else to do the same, just make sure they understand the value system and make a commitment.

 Awareness and Value Level 5  – The Success Level 

  • Estimated to apply: 30 % of the people in the western world
  • Group or individual: Individual
  • Behaviour: they are highly individuals with a lot of energy. They can be a part of a group but always as an individual being. The behaviour is based upon the optimal goal of achievement, to winning forward where personal success is the greatest award.
  • Character: level 5 sees the world as a big opportunity to win and to gain personal success. Both success and failure can show up. Burnout can take them down to level 1, to a hospitalisation, or they can fall to the shadows of level 5/3 and try to succeed in an unethical way where other people may have to pay for their backdoor solution.
  • Level of awareness: middle to high
  • Level of self responsibility: middle – high, they normally take personal responsibility for their actions and their level of success
  • Core value: Personal awards, family, powerfriends, material gains, respect, action, the entrepreneurial freedom
  • Other Values: away from restriction of the states  – moving towards personal power, prestice, famous and crating a legacy, freedom to work outside the system
  • The upside: They can be highly successful and create many opportunities for the company they work for.  If the company’s values can increase their personal benefits and outcome they would gladly be a part of the system and serve the company very well.
  • The downside: However, you should not blindly believe they will stay loyal to the company. They will not.
  • People: You might have a picture of people with high education, a relevant background and powerful relationships – that is likely to belong to the past. Just think about all the entrepreneurs that are popping up on social media these days. They are typical Level 5.

Creative layout. Rainbow foil balloon number and digit five 5.

Tips to Develop Values For Level 5

Please be aware that all level 5s keep their personal interest and goal as the guideline over the company’s. Therefore, the optimal strategy is to connect the company’s interest directly to the personal interest on level 5. Just like the tips on level 3 you can communicate with level 5 and make an agreement and a “win-win” situation that can give both sides commitment to the value, goals and vision.

Awareness and Value Level 6  – The Green Humanitarian Level 

  • Estimated to apply: 15 % of the people in the western world
  • Group or individual: group
  • Behaviour: they are group-oriented with a strong dedication to creating ethical action that provides the humans, animals, and the planet in a way that provides the future of the earth
  • Character: create an ecological system that is sustainable for nature and ecological living. The optimal company for level 6 would definitely be a green company that is on a mission to change the world for a better future. They are willing to give up personal time and interest to devote themselves to that kind of group.
  •  Level of awareness: middle to high
  • Level of self-responsibility: middle to high, they would like to take full responsibility and are asking others to do the same
  • Core value: ecology lifestyles, family, all life matters, every living being have the same rights, togetherness,
  • Other Values: away from destruction – moving towards a new way of living in a green way
  • The upside: They can dedicate their lives and their works to fulfill their mission for a great vision in the company, for a better world.
  • The downside: They can be too idealistic and therefore miss the big picture in the long run, for example, what will be the consequence if all the immigrants come to live in the western. Most of the immigrants will be on value level 2 and how can we integrate them into the society without destruction.
  • People: can be anybody that seeks to work for values that are connected to the greater good. People here have not given up on the material from level 5. They see the material as a necessary resource for living, but not as a value level of success.

Helium balloon in the number six

Tips to Develop Values For Level 6

According to Dr. Graves 15% of the western population are on level 6  so your company will likely have employers here. You could in fact ask them to help the company to create a clear vision, mission and vision. Level 6 understands all levels from 1 up to their own level and can therefore be a good helper for the company when the company’s values are being developed.

Awareness and Value Level 7 & 8 – Self Expression and a Global Vision 

  • Estimated to apply:  1% Level 7 and 0.1% Level 8
  • Group or individual: 7 individual and 8 group
  • Behaviour: They believe the structure and the society are in a dangerous position and a downfall can happen. Level 7 and 8 are not idealistic in the same way as level 6.
  • Character: According to Dr Clare Graves can level 7 and 8, as the only one, understand all the levels underneath themselves in a strategic way. Level 7 and 8 are at a higher awareness and can understand all the levels even better than they can understand themself. Therefore can, for example, level 7 and 8 use the levels strategically to form a new world and avoid destruction. Level 7 and 8 accept the responsibility and are not there to be missionary but to be able to use destruction as an opportunity to win in a long run.
  • Level of awareness: high
  • Core values: freedom, personal freedom, autonomy and self express, holistic connection to whole earth and the kosmos
  • Other Values: away from a global destruction  – mowing into a new order
Tips to Develop Values For Level 7 & 8

This level is not likely to be represented in companies and therefore you don’t need to take it into consideration.

Step #3: Summarise How to Develop Company Values in 3 Easy Ways

1. Defining Core Values Exercise

Find the 3 core values. Start with brainstorming questions to ask when creating a company’s values. What is important for the company? (make a list of at least 8 to 10 points). See examples of living company values down below).

Then, prioritise the order by degree of importance. Select the 3 most important. The 3 values ​​must be highly important core values ​​that represent what your business stands for in all corners. Expect to do this over and over again. Next, connect your team to work with the values. Involve the team as much as possible, and remember to use the information and the tips from the 8 different value and aware systems.

2. Choose the Three Values

Choose the values and get feedback from all value levels in the company.

3. How to Promote Core Values in the Workplace

Connect, commit and complete the values with all employees in the company by creating workshops and personal sessions for feedback. Use one or as many workshops and individual sessions that are necessary. The company should also connect the core values with a mission and vision statement. Take a look at the examples of BMW on how to write core values and as examples of core values in the workplace.

Examples of Living Company Values & Core Values of an Organisation – BMW:

  • Mission statement: “To become the world’s leading provider of premium products and premium services for individual mobility.”
  • Vision statement: “To be the most successful premium manufacturer in the industry.”
  • Core values: “Responsibility, appreciation, transparency, trust, and openness.”
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