Core values--our deepest and most closely held beliefs--make us who we are. Not only do they provide guidelines for us to act, they broadcast to the world who we are, and what is most important to us. In business, it's fundamentally important to have good core values--the kind of values that will inspire others to join you in your quest.
For Troy Guard--chef and owner of the TAG Restaurant Group, based in Denver, Colorado, his values are at the very heart of what he does in business. So much so that he has his own core values plastered on the back-of-house walls of his restaurants to inspire and motivate his employees.
These are the 7 core values that chef Troy Guard enshrines in his businesses, followed by Troy's personal perspective on each:
"Passion was the first of my 'core values.' Passion is the reason we do what we do...it's what drives us every day. It's a funny thing, because people can tell when you're not being genuine...they know when you are not passionate. It shows. If you love what you do, you put everything into it."
"In the restaurant business, everyone has to work together. There needs to be harmony in your team. You may not like someone, you may not hangout with them outside of the kitchen, but we all have to work together to get the job done. Also, harmony in the literal sense--meaning the harmony of food and wine, the harmonious flow of the restaurant, etc."
"We don't take ourselves too seriously. I want my team to be humble--to appreciate and listen to others. We work as a team at all of my restaurants, and I want people to accept they don't know everything. It's okay to mess up, as long as you learn from it. I also want my team to know that everyone is important, no matter who you are. The dishwasher is just as important as the executive chef--everyone plays a role in how the restaurant runs. Without one person, it doesn't run right."
"We like to have fun! We don't take things too seriously, and we try to promote creativity and innovation. We want our chefs to color outside the lines and have a good time. That's where some of our best ideas come from."
"This is so important--not just for the restaurant, but for life. You need to care for yourself, care for your team, care for your guests, care for your community. If you don't care, why should anyone else?"
"I really believe it takes courage to do what we do, to admit your faults and to know there's always something we do better. To stand up and admit you can do better takes a lot of guts!"
"Ownership is the latest addition to TAG Restaurant Group's core values. Ownership means to take ownership and to do your job--not just for yourself, but for the company as a whole. We're all working towards the same end goal."
Chef Troy Guard tells his story in this video: