Corporate values provide a way for an organisation to signal what it thinks is important about what it delivers and how it delivers it.

Values tell customers, employees, suppliers, distributors and other partners that this is the kind of organisation that they would like to do business with.

The most popular values

We've analysed hundreds of business strategies to bring you this list of the 10 most common values. They are, in order of popularity:

  1. Integrity
  2. Innovation
  3. Respect
  4. Excellence
  5. Collaboration
  6. Quality
  7. Transparency
  8. Value
  9. Teamwork
  10. Safety

The most popular - integrity - is almost twice as popular as the next most popular - innovation - and over three times as popular as the 10th most popular - safety.

Differentiating your values

Business strategy emphasises the importance of differentiation. Differentiation allows you to stand out in the market. It tells customers what they can get from you and from no-one else. It allows you to grow in areas of the market that have not already been outcompeted,

Does that mean that adopting the same values as everyone else is a bad thing?

Not necessarily. But if you do choose values on the above list of the most popular, it is important that you tailor them to your specific organisation and market.

If you value integrity, it's important to be very clear about exactly what that means in your organisation, how it manifests in the products and services you deliver, and what unique benefit your customers will derive from it.

And choosing different values, or expressing them in unique ways, does provide a way to set yourself apart from the crowd. provides a tool to document and describe an organisation's values.

Walking the walk

Stating value is not enough. It is important that you are able to demonstrate how your organisation and its people live them in their daily actvities.

Stating a value draws attention to it. So if you fail to live up to it, the consequences are likely to be worse than if you'd said nothing at all.

The McKinsey 7S framework provides an opportunity to assess whether an organisation lives up to its values or not and whether those values are aligned with the rest of its operation. You can do this right within

Addendum: How things have changed

We first ran this analysis in February 2021. We then repeated it in September 2021 with an even larger data set. Here is a summary of the changes between those time periods.

Value February 2021 September 2021
Integrity 1 1
Innovation 2 2
Respect 3 3
Excellence 9 4 (+5)
Collaboration 10 5 (+5)
Quality 8 6 (+2)
Transparency 6 7 (-1)
Value 4 8 (-4)
Teamwork 5 9 (-4)
Safety 7 10 (-3)

It is interesting to note that the actual top 10 values themselves remain unchanged. There has merely been some shift in their ordering.

Does this reflect a change in priorities as organisations consider a post-pandemic return to work?

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