Paper people cutouts Your corepurpose and values are the foundation of your company because theycharacterize how your business is going to function. (Photo:Shutterstock)

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I started Company Nurse, the premier nurse triage service forworkplace injuries, with one purpose: to lessen the pain ofworkers' compensation for all stakeholders. We do this every day byproviding injured workers with immediate, compassionate care andproviding employers, claims adjusters and investigators, TPAs, andany other stakeholders with the information they need to proceedwith the workplace injury process.

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And to give our customers the best experience possible, we relyon the buy-in of our own people.

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Related: People, processes and culture: The most importantparts of a business

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That is the key to running a successful company: making what youvalue most part of everything you do, internally and externally.And if those values aren't defined, how can you expect to have aclear vision and mission? How can you create plans and strategiesif you don't even know why you're doing what you're doing? Welearned this lesson from our business coach Jason Rush, and it has changedthe course of our company's growth and success.

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Here's how to achieve that alignment:

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1. Bring your core purpose and values to life.

Your core purpose and values are the foundation of your companybecause they characterize how your business is going to functionevery single day. If you don't already have them defined, that'swhere you need to start.

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In our case, we already had our core purpose and values defined,but they needed to be brought to life for everyone in the company,not just the leadership. With our coach guiding the conversation,we shared stories that articulated how our values came into being.As we talked about them with Jason, we constructed new wording tomake the values more sincere and honest – something that our wholeorganization could connect to individually and as a whole.

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The goal of the exercise was to help everyone throughout CompanyNurse understand why these values are essential to our work and ourinternal processes. Once our teams started to understand the "why,"it became a lot easier for them to come on board and join us inliving those values.

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2. Create a company culture around those values.

Once you have those values in place and you've shared them withthe team, the next step is to embed them into your company'sculture. Part of that process is making those values public andvisible at all times, whether that's a poster in the breakroom or,in our case, literally putting the writing on our walls.

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Among the leadership, we understand that we set the tone foreveryone else in the organization, so we make sure to do so verydiligently. Every decision I make, I consult our values and makesure that my response is in line with them.

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We also regularly recognize employees who are living out ourcore values. That goes back to the basic psychological principle ofpositive reinforcement: The more that employees demonstrate ourcore values, the more they get recognized, and the more buy-in theyhave. We recently expanded our standard internal recognition withthe launch of a formal recognition program that honors employeesboth internally and externally

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It's not as easy as a snap of your fingers to build ahigh-performing team that operates with the values of theorganization, but with some hard work and intentionality, it isachievable. And it is worth the effort.

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3. Use your core purpose and values to establish processes andrelationships.

Your core purpose and values should guide everything you do:meetings, hiring practices, strategic relationships with partnersand clients, and more. One of our core values is "Work together towork it out," which has largely contributed to how we've built ourprocesses and relationships.

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For example, we implemented daily "huddles" where we gather for 15 minutes at thebeginning of each day and share our schedules, where we are withour priorities, and what we're working on that day. It's also achance to voice any places where we need help or to work out anycommunication kinks.

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These quick, stand-up meetings, along with our strategic weeklyand quarterly meetings, have boosted our team communicationten-fold and helped to break down departmental silos. Through regularmeeting rhythms, we have been able to discuss issues andinitiatives more freely and gain better alignment than we evercould before this process. That communication has very practicalresults. For example, we can better allocate resources to eachdepartment because we know what each person does on a regular basisand how that work contributes to the overall organization.

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Our work with our business coach and our new communicationprocesses have also had the effect of making everyone more open.There's no hiding from the facts – everything is being voiced, andwe have a trust among the team that we can bring anything forwardwithout judgment or resentment.

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Values are also important for establishing lasting partnerships and hiringnew team members. When you find people who have similar values,you're more likely to be on the same page about how to do businesstogether. The same goes with a potential new team member. If you'reconcerned about getting the right people on board and keeping awaythe wrong people, your core values can help you make the rightdecision every time.

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4. Use your core purpose and values as a guide to setgoals.

Every goal you set should stem from your values. Two of ourvalues are "Go the Extra Two Miles" and "Driven to Find Solutions,"which directly correlate with going above and beyond for ourcustomers as well as with the services we provide.

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At Company Nurse, we constantly find new ways to lessen the painof workplace injuries. For example, we launched a mobile app toprovide injured workers with easier access to Company Nurse. Weexpanded our contact center to provide multiple channels forcontacting Company Nurse (including call, text, and web chat). Andwe offer several value-add collaborations with other services thatcan continue to lessen our clients' workers' comp pains.

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Values inform how you can reach your goals genuinely and withintegrity, and they can help illuminate the correct path forward.Because we are working every day from the base that is our values,we are able to more easily build on them and set goals for thelonger term.

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The real proof, though, is in the overall improvement of ourcompany as a result of putting our core values front and center.The pace of our growth has really impressed big players in theindustry, and we're now working with some of the largest insurancecompanies and third-party administrators in the country. Buildingup our communication, alignment, collaboration, and trust hascontributed to opportunities to open bigger doors and go afterlarger clients.

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Leaders, the best advice I can give is to make sure you areintentional in everything you do for your company. Your corevalues, core purpose, and mission will help you do that. You'll bepleasantly surprised at how that small change in thinking canreorient the trajectory of your entire business.

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Paul Binsfeld is the president and founderof CompanyNurse, the premier nurse triage service for workplace injuries.He has worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years, usinghis expertise to liaise with workers, employers, healthcareprofessionals and insurance companies to make workplace injurieseasier to navigate from start to finish. He is a recipient of theBusiness School Lausanne's Hall of Fame Innovator Award.

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