20 Guiding Principles Examples and Their Importance

Updated September 22, 2023

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Guiding principles help managers and their teams create, develop and maintain company cultures that help a business grow. Many companies also encourage the use of these same concepts to promote productivity, increase job satisfaction and foster professional success. Understanding how to implement these principles in the workplace can help you make your business operations more effective, which may lead to employee retention and revenue growth.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what guiding principles are, plus 20 guiding principles examples and the importance of each one.

What are guiding principles?

Guiding principles are moral values that set a standard for behavior and attitude within a workplace. Companies establish guiding principles to shape the culture of their work environment and ensure that their employees understand what moral behavior they expect.

Guiding principles are important because they can help in decision-making and daily operations. Though many aspects of a company may change over time, including its leadership and business practices, guiding principles continue to prioritize the important values the company embodies. Often, companies adopt several guiding principles to promote specific values.

Guiding principles are also important during the hiring process and performance reviews, as managers can compare a professional's attitude and work experience to their company's guiding principles. This can help the manager decide whether or not the professional is a good fit for the company and can contribute to the culture of their work environment.

Related: Examples of Core Company Values From Top Employers

20 guiding principles examples

Here are 20 examples of guiding principles to help you establish fundamental values for your company:

1. Emphasizing quality

Emphasizing quality within your company encourages professionals to create work that exceeds expectations. Adopting this principle can improve your company's reputation by ensuring that employees produce high-quality work. When using this guiding principle, it's important to set a clear standard to act as a model of what quality work looks like.

Related: Quality Management: Components, Principles and Example

2. Striving for efficiency

Striving for efficiency allows your company to meet deadlines and find the most effective business practices possible. Adopting this principle for your company can encourage professionals to innovate new methods for achieving their work goals, which can lead to better, more efficient, practices for working. In order to use this guiding principle for your work, consider taking time to think of ways to produce work faster without sacrificing quality. For example, creating a digitalized filing system may be more efficient than one that favors hard copies of records.

3. Encouraging resourcefulness

Encourage and reward resourcefulness at your company to help employees become more self-sufficient and innovative. Resourcefulness can lead to more efficient business practices and might help employees gain valuable skills. If you're choosing this guiding principle for your company, consider providing the tools employees need to succeed with minimal interference from supervisors. This may encourage them to seek out their own solutions and use company-provided tools to innovate new practices.

4. Fostering success

Fostering success means providing opportunities for employees to reach their professional and personal goals. This can create a more positive and productive work environment. Try to use this guiding principle for your company by asking employees how management professionals can help them reach their goals and succeed in their roles.

Related: 9 Success Habits (With Examples)

5. Setting industry standards

Setting industry standards often means providing excellent customer service and producing high-quality goods or services. This guiding principle can act as a goal for your company and usually pairs with other guiding principles such as innovation and striving for quality over quantity. Having this guiding principle may help your company gain an impressive reputation and increase your overall success.

6. Celebrating diversity

This guiding principle prioritizes making the workplace inclusive and diverse. This can lead to fresh perspectives and provide fair opportunities to many professionals. To adopt this principle for your company, review your hiring process for possible biases and set a goal to recruit professionals from diverse backgrounds. these practices can help you achieve the values of this guiding principle and improve the culture of your company.

7. Leading supportively

Leading supportively means to create a hierarchy in which managers guide their team members to success and use encouragement and positivity as tools to lead. This guiding principle can create a healthier work environment and improve job satisfaction because it helps employees feel secure and valued at work. When using this guiding principle, consider investing in leadership training to ensure that the management professionals within your company embody this value.

Related: Why Is Leadership Training Important?

8. Always learning

This guiding principle values self-improvement and commitment to learning new things. Encouraging a learning environment within the workplace encourages employees to try new things and continuously strive for better practices. Using this guiding principle may encourage employees to be more productive and innovative. A commitment to learning is also an important guiding principle because it helps prepare professionals for a changing environment by prioritizing constant improvement.

9. Work together

Adopting a guiding principle that highlights the value of teamwork and collaboration can improve employee relationships within your company and foster a positive and fun work environment. While it's helpful to have self-sufficient employees, it's important that professionals can work together to achieve goals. Embodying this guiding principle at your company can be particularly helpful in industries that require collaboration, such as research or fine art companies.

Related: Types of Teams and Tips for Finding Team Success

10. Prioritizing passion

Prioritizing passion within your company may help raise job satisfaction for your employees and create a healthy and happy work environment. Your company can adopt this guiding principle by encouraging employees to pitch projects for the company or by helping professionals reach their career goals. Consider promoting professionals from within your company and find ways to help employees enjoy their work. Having more passionate employees can help your company reach its goals and create high-quality products.

11. Take responsibility

Taking responsibility is an important guiding principle because it encourages and rewards accountability. This can help your company and its employees learn from mistakes and resolve problems quickly. In order to adopt this principle for your company, you might consider searching for candidates that already have the quality of accountability. You can also encourage responsibility by keeping track of employee performance and setting small daily goals for each professional.

12. Working hard

Working hard empathizes productivity and achievement. This guiding principle is important because it promotes a healthy work ethic and helps set employees up for success. Consider adopting this value by rewarding employees who meet or exceed expectations and recognizing when an employee completes a large task or helps another professional reach their goals.

Related: Work Ethic Skills: Top 8 Values to Develop

13. Stay consistent

Being consistent means meeting certain expectations on a regular basis. This may be a good guiding principle for your company to adopt if you want a reputation of being reliable. While your business practices and daily operations may change, companies that value consistency often maintains the same guiding principles and allow them to influence business decisions. This guiding principle pairs well with other values, such as a good work ethic and commitment to productivity and quality work.

14. Act respectfully

Acting respectfully includes treating all professionals and clients equally. This guiding principle ensures that employees within your company treat others with respect regardless of rank, skill level and background. Adopting this principle can help you create a healthier work environment that values inclusivity and kindness. When using this guiding principle, consider ensuring each professional you hire also shares this principle and creates clear consequences for professionals who don't.

Related: How To Treat Others with Respect in the Workplace

15. Communicate effectively

Including communication as a guiding principle is important as it can help your company grow and achieve its goals. Prioritizing effective communication can encourage employees to become better problem solvers and work well on teams. When adopting this guiding principle, consider establishing communication tools, such as starting a company-wide messaging system, to ensure that each employee understands the value of effective communication. It's also helpful to encourage professionals to ask questions and reach out to clients and team members often.

Related: 11 Tips for Communicating Effectively With Employees

16. Be honest

Being honest can often include maintaining ethical business practices and offering transparency to employees and customers. This guiding principle is important because it ensures that the professionals within your company act with integrity. In order to establish honesty as a core value for your company, consider promoting and rewarding honest practices and encourage professionals to be transparent. This can help your company gain a more trustworthy reputation.

17. Prioritize workplace safety

This guiding principle may be especially important for industries with unpredictable or possibly dangerous work environments, such as construction companies or environmental organizations. To prioritize workplace safety in your company, consider improving training programs to include topics such as work-safe apparel, emergency plans and safe equipment use. Depending on your industry, it may also be useful to embody this principle by helping employees gain first aid training.

Related: 20 Workplace Safety Rules and Tips To Know

18. Commitment to clients

Having a commitment to clients as a guiding principle can be especially important for customer service companies. This fundamental value can help your company establish a reputation of excellent service and reliability. In order to adopt this guiding principle at your company, consider providing customer service training for your employees. It's also helpful to pair this guiding principle with other values, such as accountability, respect and a commitment to quality.

Related: Guide To Superior Customer Service Training

19. Foster creativity

Fostering creativity within the workplace can encourage professionals to find new ways of performing work tasks and improve the quality of their work. Encouraging professionals to exercise their creativity may also improve job satisfaction and foster a healthier work environment. To use this guiding principle for your company, encourage employees to share ideas and reward innovation.

20. Adaptability

Valuing adaptability within your company can encourage professionals to react well to change and commit to innovative work practices. Adopting this guiding principle is important because it allows your company to change with social movements, economic changes and company growth. Hiring professionals who are adaptable can also help your company employ multi-skilled professionals who can add to the company's value and produce high-quality work on a regular basis.


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