For any business, core values are absolutely essential. Running a company without them is like venturing into the unknown without a compass.

Acknowledging this premise is easy enough, but creating Core Values can be difficult. Here's how Stan Acton, owner of Acton Construction in Campbell, Calif., established his company's core values.

At our weekly company meetings, everyone was to bring something about their week that they felt represented something they were proud of or liked about the company. We collected those comments and observations for about a year. I then distilled those down, word-smithed them, and presented them to the company. We later changed a few.

My favorite, and most powerful one—accountability—didn’t show up in our list. It is critical to me, so I added it and demand it.

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