What Are Core Values REALLY?

Crisp has core values — and in the beginning, I thought it was enough to simply put posters of our core values on the walls of our office.

As it turns out, people don’t learn from posters. 

Just because they know what we say our values are doesn’t mean that they channel them into how work gets done, decisions are made, and people conduct themselves in the organization.

People learn when you lead by example — not just writing on the walls.

Back in the day, I can admit that I wasn’t making decisions that were completely aligned with our core values. But as I looked around and realized that my team wasn’t either and our business was hurting from it, I knew things had to change

Around this time, we had just signed the single biggest deal in the history of our company: a $1.3 million client. Though the check was almost unbelievable, we quickly learned that this firm owner was disrespectful and downright abusive to our team.

This was my chance to lead by example.

I called this gentleman to let him know that we weren’t a good fit for each other, and that our values didn’t align. I wired him back the entire $1.3 million check, the biggest check we’d ever received at that time.

It was hard, but it was the best decision for the Crisp team and the entire organization.

Let this story be a lesson to your own law firm. When you think about your core values, remember they’re what you’re willing to lose money over — not what looks good on posters.

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