Over the last several years, there has been increasing chatter about core values. On the surface, this would appear to be a good thing. It may, in fact, prove to be one of the greatest obstacles we face in leaders genuinely embracing core values. You see, chatter stays exactly there … on the surface. My biggest fear is that core values have become the latest widespread veneer. 

Veneers are specifically designed to make something look like what it’s not. The surface conceals what something is really made of … to make it look more valuable than it really is. Veneers work well on furniture, but not in organizations. If we discuss core values in only a shallow way, we allow the veneer approach to take hold. This is one of the reasons so many executives in leadership positions don’t embrace core values as their most important resource. They have grown up experiencing values as veneer.  When core values are used as a veneer, they can clearly cause more harm than good. A lot more harm.

In your professional journey, have you seen core values treated more often as veneer or genuine, authentic depth?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.