Is There Value in your Core Values?


Conrad Zurini | Broker of Record | Manager | | 905-719-3033

We recently updated our core values to reflect our commitment to our success, but more importantly to create a positive impact on our agents, our staff, our customers and the communities we serve. We have made a conscious effort to update our values (3 times in 12 years) to reflect what is happening in the broader market, changes in the way people interact and to embody our company’s strategies going forward.

Blah, blah, might be thinking. When I survey major company’s websites, I often don’t find their core values or guiding principles clearly displayed so are these just words on a page or a dusty plaque in the back of some marketing department? I have a real affection for the written word. When I read something or hear something cleaver, I always take note because someone or somebody came up with that collection of words. I often think, what was the impetus to their word selection and phraseology? I have always been fascinated with success stories, so late last year I watched the movie Air, the story about how Nike and a tight knit group of executives forever changed sports marketing and how elite athletes get remunerated for their image endorsement.

As I was doing my research for this blog, I asked various people if they had seen the movie. So many said yes they had and how Micheal Jordan was their hero, and how he changed the game of basketball forever, and that Viola Davis was amazing in the role of his mom. There was some disappointment that ‘the great one” (I know that’s Wayne Gretzky) wasn't really a character in the movie which was about him, or was it? Who would play Michael Jordan anyway? Tough shoes (forgive the pun) to fill.

I think the star of this movie was the written word, not the script (which was good), but the actual written words which make important cameos throughout. What? You don’t remember words on the screen? You are NIKE’Snot alone!

Most people I asked did not remember any words either. They remember that Matt Damon had a dad bod in the film, but they did not recall words. Even when I mentioned that these words were on white paper and the text was original typewriter font, known as courier typeface, still I got blank stares. Then I asked ChatGPT to identify the written statements on white pieces of paper in courier typeface and their significance in the movie. ChatGPT’s response was “I couldn’t find specific details about what appears on white pieces of paper in the movie ‘Air’. 


The available information focuses on the general plot and themes of the movie......”. it went on to say that for intricate details like these watching the movie might provide the answers you are looking for. Why the ‘f’ didn’t I think of that???? (Human capacity ‘1’ Artificial intelligence ‘0’)

So I watched the movie again and sure enough the star of the film showed up at five minutes 25 seconds, the 10 Nike Principles, with #9 getting the spotlight, “It won’t be pretty”. Throughout the film the star steals scenes and sets up the next one. The most profound scene is at the end where the Nike founder is lying on his couch doing a forgiveness meditation

for himself as he unwinds the decision he made. The camera pans back and above him, framed on the wall and bigger than life, are the Nike principles which have guided him through this unorthodox decision he made. Phil Knight asks, “what is the most money we have made on a single shoe line? $3 Million? That’s not bad” he whispers. Well that

first year Nike made $162 million on Air Jordan and it is reported that Michael Jordan averaged $400 million a year in revenue share. The year that deal was struck Nike had 17% market share, Adidas had 29%, and Converse 54%, and ironically Nike bought converse for $305 million in 2003. Do you think if Nike principle #10 did not exist, (If we do the right things we’ll make money damn near automatic) that Phil Knight would have made that momentous decision?

As a result of this movie, I was inspired to makeover our guiding principles and/or our core values, so at the end of 2023 our leadership team and I created our next generation of core values, which have been replaced in all of our office locations. These values promise not to be just static words on a page. We are working on making them come alive in everything

we do, they will be at the core of all of our decisions, they will echo our rhythm (how we do things) and continue to shape culture.

The Power of Core Values

When was the last time you looked at your core values? Do they have relevance, are they easily articulated, do they have meaning to your customers, your team, and your fellow colleagues? Do you even have core values/principles? We all talk a good talk when it comes to our mission, values, and vision, but are they a living breathing document?

Or are they just words on a page, or a plaque on the wall, or a piece of paper in a file at the bottom of your desk drawer. Some entrepreneurs go through the exercise MVV (Mission, Vision, Values), so that they can check it off a proverbial list but, it is something integral to your brand promise, and how the internal and the external world interacts and engages with you.

The Story You Tell Day in and Day Out

If someone were to read your social media posts, your newsletter (if you have one), your emails, your texts, your extra remarks on your listings, view your videos, watch your weekly vlog (ya right), etc, would they be able to have a clear understanding what you and your business stand for? 

Would they appreciate what you are accomplishing, or what you are thinking when it comes to them (your client), or how you organize your business? Are you strategic or haphazard? The content you put out into the universe should be the building blocks of your brand. If these blocks are made of wood one day, straw the next, and stone the week after, what does that tell your consumer base about you?

Keeping and maintaining someone’s interest is a difficult gig on the best of days, and yes, our everyday existence can be a bunch of white noise but, if you stay true to your core values your message will become familiar and so will you as a professional in your field. It is important to break through your own white noise, by creating attention grabbers. Oprah Winfrey was the master of that, she competed with other daytime talk shows and often the topics were similar but her break through, I believe, was Oprah’s Favourite Things - she was the very first influencer! This elevated Oprah above her competition, it was something that was her OWN, and of course her audience stood up and took notice. What was even more remarkable was the fact that those who weren’t her die hard fans took notice of this list as well.

Why Your Communication Rhythm Really Matters

The magic really happens when you start seeing those around you adopt your rhythm. Think of Beyoncé’s new song Texas Hold ‘Em - nothing extraordinary from a lyric perspective but the rhythm is the star of this show. It has exploded on social media and a new line dance was born in 48hours. Think of all those posts which will feature her song and will command a place in our day. This is the extreme, but apply it to you and your tribe and how your tribe will respond to your posts with the same cadence as yours. How they will communicate to their tribes and be able to refer you to their friends and family, with the same rhythm you put out there. I have always said the best review you can get from your clients is, “So-and-So really got me/us, they really understood where we were coming from and anticipated our stresses/needs/wishes before we had them”. 5 star!!!!!

So, don’t just create your core values and set them aside. Post them offline and online, where you, perhaps your team, and your clients can see them all the time. Model your business systems, social media strategies and client interactions with your core values/guiding principles in mind. Let them guide the decisions you are struggling to make in your business. Unsure if you should invest in a new technology or revamp your systems or put on a client event? Look to your values for the answer - it could be the Air Jordan of your business, which could be the trajectory you have been looking for.