This is the first blog of the seven-blog series, Creating a workplace where people thrive: The power of organizational core values.

When I started Magnolia in 2002, I didn’t have a mission or vision statement for the company. All I knew is that I wanted to create an organization that would “cultivate learning and positive change” through excellent work. When I wrote that tag line, I meant it not only for those we serve but for each employee. I wanted Magnolia to be a place where team members thrived and realized their full potential. Sixteen years later, our team finally captured what makes Magnolia a special place to work.

After an enriching discussion, we arrived at seven core values: heart-centeredness, integrity, abundance, service, cultivation, excellence, and use-focused results. These core values represent what matters to us, what defines us, and what drives us. They anchor our words, actions, and decisions while also guiding our relationships and interactions with each other and our clients. When deliberating next steps, decision points, and possibilities, they ensure our actions are congruent with what defines us. If our work shifts away from what matters most, they give us the courage to make the choices necessary to realign with what we value.

Our core values are more than a framed print hanging on an office wall.

They are our compass.

As I reflect on what makes Magnolia unique, I’m compelled to share how we live our core values. Not because we are a perfect company, but because I believe values matter. They inspire us to be better leaders and employees. They give us the courage to break through our limitations and realize our potential. When we breathe life into our values, they are the catalyst for cultivating learning and positive change.

If organizational core values matter to you, I hope you’ll follow this blog series. Each post will explore one of Magnolia’s core values, including what it means, why it matters, and how we live it. Whether you’re interested in capturing what makes your company a special place to work, or you want to realign the compass directing you or your business, I hope this exploration of our core values catalyzes something for you or your organization.