A lot of companies have a mission, vision or core value statement. Some have all three. In most cases, not all, very few people in the company can recite them or even describe what they convey. That isn't to say they aren't valuable but rather a reality of what I have witnessed.

But my question is about you. Whether you sort mail in a mail room or sort out problems in the board room, what do you use as a compass? We all have a value system. They are unique to us based on experiences, biases, faith and a myriad of other influences. But have you ever stopped to take a personal inventory?

Whether you call it core values or a code of conduct or morals and ethics, they describe a set of boundaries that you use to navigate through life and business. So everyone has these but few people really take stock. Here are mine:

1. An ethical statement

"I will not do anything illegal, unethical, immoral." If it appears wrong it probably is so don't do it.

2. A personal stake statement

"I will always strive to do what is right even if it hurts." Its easy to justify doing something and saying its right. But when you are willing to personally sacrifice to avoid doing something that appears sketchy then others will instill more trust.

3. Placing value on others

"I will strive to insure those deserving of the credit receive it." Taking credit for someone else's idea or work is a kind of theft in my book.

4. Creating an environment of trust

"With the exception of confidential business information I will tell no secrets nor tolerate gossip."