What are Core Values?

Is the concept of Core Values new to you? Read on!

The word lists you’ll see in the images below were generated by a group of 50 first-year students at a Vermont high school where the Decisions Program is part of the curriculum. They came up with these definitions themselves. Like these students, you are responsible for creating content that identifies you.

What does CORE mean?

Whiteboard list of words about Core
Word list from students at Champlain Valley Union HS (CVUHS) in Vermont.

Merriam Webster defines core as a basic, essential and enduring part of something larger. Something core is central, vitally important, and broad reaching. It brings together different things to create something that is whole, or complete. Our Constitution and laws are the core of our democratic form of government. CEOs, Boards of Directors, etc. are the core of many corporations. At the same time, volunteers are at the core of many nonprofits such as the American Red Cross. Something core helps define the larger thing with which it is associated.

What does Values mean?

Whiteboard list of words about Values

We all know what the word value means; a measurement of worth or of importance. In talking about people, our values are the things we hold dear, the things that help define who we are and how we behave. Our values tell us what is important to us. In part, it is what we are taught in our homes, our schools, and our religious institutions about how we should interact with others and with the world around us, whether in relationships, workplaces, teams, or groups of friends. Values also help us decide how we feel about ourselves, too. 

What are Core Values?

Whiteboard list of words about Core Values

Combining Core and Values creates a special and important name for some specific things that you hold most dearly in your heart and your head. Core Values comprise of a set of actions or behaviors based on your deeply held beliefs, goals, feelings and tenets. You use them, consciously or unconsciously, to guide your everyday behavior. They show others who you are, how you behave, and they help you make decisions, small and large, that determine the impact of your decisions on you and those around you. They are the rails on which you run.