Core Values: Practicing What We Preach

Core Values: Practicing What We Preach


As a person who puts a premium on personal growth and development, defining the essence of Highland’s core values has been a significant process for my team and me over the years.

In the early days, we developed a core values statement filled with the kinds of emotionless words that are part of virtually every company’s credo.

Our list included words like “communication”, “integrity” and “initiative”; all important attributes of course, yet no one on our team could remember more than one of the five or six words on that list.

This was a problem.

Those values were “out there” rather than “in here”.

While “standard” values of good business are a central part of our culture, they do not define who we are. They do not give us clear direction, and they do not create energy. 

Our unique core values are the source of our identity and all that we do.

Once we got away from the obvious and thought more about what we uniquely do in our business no matter how conditions fluctuate, we came up with an authentic statement of our core values: 

Caring for People, Pursuing Excellence and Living Fully.

These core values inform the mission statement that guides our business today:

As a fiduciary, Highland treats your money as if it was our own. We are committed to helping you align your wealth with life goals and aspirations, making the right financial decisions to protect your future, and maximizing investment results. We manage the financial details so you can invest your time and energy in doing the things you love. Our goal is for our clients to move forward with clarity, confidence, and peace of mind at every phase of their financial life.

We discovered the power of aligning business strategy with our core values and this has helped Highland create a unique and specialized service for our clients.

Goals and conditions may change, but our core values remain consistent and provide a basis for planning and reaching objectives.

How do you get to the heart of your core values?

Start by answering one question:

What do you believe in?

Understanding this will:

  • Unlock an amazing amount of energy and focus
  • Provide a critical lens for decision making
  • Attract opportunities (and people) with similar values to you 
  • Repel opportunities (and people) that don’t align with you and your purpose
  • Allow for the alignment of your values with your life and increased fulfillment


The problem with preaching is that it’s not always easy to walk the walk, and there is always room for improvement. While we could choose to accept or even ignore our weaknesses, we consistently work on them. We think of the process as a canvas that can be used to highlight our strengths and work through areas that need improvement.  But our commitment “in here” to helping our clients live life fully is our guiding light no matter how the circumstances “out there” change.

What about you?

Do your core values define who you are, provide clear direction, and create energy?

John Christianson
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