Business Owners and CEOs

“Core” vs “Permission To Play” Values

By November 6, 2012 No Comments


When I work with my EOS clients on discovering their Core Values I remind them that their Core Values already exist within their people.

I quote the master, Patrick Lencioni, and remind them, when selecting their values, to  avoid three value traps:

  1. Aspirational values – ones they would like to have but do not currently exist in their organization,
  2. Accidental values – ones that existed  but are not meaningful and may be restrictive if adopted, think “technologically savvy” in the first many employees of a software development  company, and
  3. Permission to Play values, like respect for others.

While avoiding these when documenting your Core Values, there is no reason to avoid this last category when interviewing potential employees or when setting expectations for existing employees.

Permission to play values are just what the name implies. Permission to play values are minimum standards of behavior, not differentiators – they don’t define you like Core Values do. You shouldn’t hire anyone who doesn’t exhibit these values, nor should you tolerate employees who don’t exhibit these values.

Two more examples of permission to play values are honesty and integrity, as Patrick Lencioni calls out in this brief video you can find on his website here.

Don’t take the easy way out when documenting your Core Values and pick just minimum standards of behavior. Take the time to discover what your Core Values are. All our EOS clients do.

 Photo Credit: James Cridland

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