This past weekend, I returned to the Business School on the campus of UW-Madison. It is the only place I have spoken every single year of my 20-year speaking career. The students, attending a weekend business retreat to commence of their major in Accounting, always impress me and fill me with hope for the future. This year’s group did not disappoint.

What a perfect time to start intentionally digging for your personal core values. One student asked a question that I have received so many times from professionals well into their careers: “How many core values should you have?”

It’s a logical question that I don’t believe has a numerical answer.

I responded as I always do: “I don’t know. But what I do know is that it’s really hard to live what you can’t remember!” Your memory bank is the first test in assessing the value of a list of personal core values. The same is true for organizational core values. Unfortunately, it’s a test the owners, leaders and employees of most organizations would fail.

You have to intellectualize your values on the pathway to internalizing them.