Blueprints for a Values-Based Business

By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine

built on values coverIt’s everything you’d ever want in a business: a high quality work environment that attracts and retains talented employees while delivering top-of-the-line customer service and a great product. But how is it accomplished?

Author Ann Rhoades, president of People Ink, has worked with corporations such as Southwest Airlines and Doubletree Hotels to develop their values-based mantra and culture. She reveals what it takes to create such an enterprise in her book, Built on Values: Creating an Enviable Culture that Outperforms the Competition (Jossey-Bass, January 2011).


Her strategy begins with the creation of a “values blueprint” – a summary document that clearly outlines the essential values and behaviors of a business or organization. “Just as you would not build a house working off only an image in your head, you cannot build a lasting culture without a written blueprint,” she says.

Rhoades explains how to create a “values blueprint” in her book, and how to get employees on board. For a real estate broker, it might mean finding sales agents for your team who display the same company values. “Just because someone is skilled and experienced does not mean they are right for your organization,” she writes. Rhoades suggests assembling an interview team, which can also help reduce turnover.

Broker-owners should keep in mind their role in company culture. It’s essential to reward employees and provide effective and valuable leadership communication. Rhoades emphasizes the importance of mirroring the values of your company and finding new ways to connect with people to build trust. Also remember, trust develops through communication of both the positives and the negatives – with your team and your clients.


[Excerpt from chapter one] Drivers of Performance

  • Leaders drive values by making the commitment to a values-based culture and leading by example.
  • Values drive behaviors by acting as a mechanism for illustrating to employees what acceptable behavior in the company looks like. Values must be defined by behaviors that any employee can recognize and emulate.
  • Behaviors drive culture because the collective behaviors of people in the organization are, by definition, the culture, for good or ill. Leaders must create the environment that encourages a high-performance culture based on values.
  • Culture drives performance because people who are committed to and understand the values and behaviors will take responsibility for

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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