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The Importance Of Values: 12 Ways Startups Can Build Their Ethical FoundationUntitled

Companies are forged based on their ethics. Not only are ethical values the building blocks of any startup, they can be critical in determining how a company deals with certain situations and how it handles internal and external issues.

Setting a strong ethical framework in place is necessary to ensure that the company doesn’t find itself in hot water later in its life, with potentially devastating effects on its development.

But how can a business figure out what values make up its ethical foundation and how can it make sure it stays true to them forever?

To help, members of Forbes Coaches Council look at 12 ways startups can create an ethical framework for their company from the ground up, and why it’s essential to do this earlier, rather than later.

1. Define Your Core Values Early

Your core values are the soul of your business, so defining them early on is essential! Your core values inform your hiring practices, business operations, company culture, and business strategy. Build an ethical foundation by filtering every business decision you make through your core values and seek alignment. Doing so will create coherence between your strategic vision, people and processes. – Jason William Johnson, Cubicle Escape Club

2. Integrate Ethics Into Your Hiring

It is important to focus on ethics early to save time, conflict and money over tough choices later. One way to establish an ethical foundation early is to integrate it into your hiring process. Ask questions to elicit a candidate’s decision-making process, for example. Be very selective about who gets to join your company and only invite in those who have a solid moral compass. - Kelly Tyler Byrnes, Voyage Consulting Group

3. Organize A-Team Brainstorming Session

Facilitate a meeting with your most important stakeholders. The goal is to select five to seven values that align with your mission and help accomplish your strategic objectives. Then, create a list of 20 tangible behaviors for each value that set expectations for employees to know how to live the value. Culture develops rapidly when the team knows what specific behaviors make goals a reality. - Michael S. Seaver, Seaver Consulting, LLC

4. Engage And Benchmark

To align everyday decision making to your values, first engage employees in the creation of those values. Then, add a category called “value alignment” to your monthly scorecard. This allows leaders to have a conversation with their talent about how well their decision making a