#84 Core Values at Work: Part 1

Many companies have core values, which are a set of values that they share throughout the company on how everyone should proceed in their jobs.

At the Bruce Lee Family Company, Shannon has created core values for the company based off of her father’s philosophy. With the New Lunar Year fast approaching, Shannon has decided to revisit and refine those core values.

Bruce Lee was against compartmentalizing your life. Often we have our own personal values at home and then we have to switch to our workplace’s values. It is really important to Shannon to create harmony between her personal values and her work values, and she is lucky enough to get to shape the culture at her work.

In developing her core values for the Bruce Lee Family Company, Shannon asked herself, “What does it really take to work at the Bruce Lee Family Company?”

The Bruce Lee Family Company is a really small workplace, and it has been an interesting journey for Shannon to decide what the workplace culture will be. She has found that the people who stay in the company work well within the core values and those who leave did not fit the values. This is why having core values at work is so important, it helps you build a solid team of people who work well together.

The conversation of core values at work is an important one to have. These days, many people have small businesses or work for themselves, and might not have considered creating an office culture for themselves. The work place has shifted so that there are more people working in small work environments than ever before. Establishing shared values will help you build a better workplace and team.

Core Values at Work Part 1: Best Effort, Personal Responsibility, Uplift

In Part 1, Shannon shares her core values of Best Effort, Personal Responsibility, and Uplift. These values inform how Shannon wants to show-up in the workplace and how she expects her employees to show-up.

Best Effort:

Understanding that your best is different depending on the day and where you are in your life, try to approach everything with your best quality effort. Do just a little more than what’s required. There’s fulfillment and gratification in a job well done.

The “Best Effort” core value is directly from Bruce Lee, as he wanted to approach everything he did with the best quality. This high quality approach is evident in all aspects of his life from his beautiful handwriting to his mastery of martial arts. We will all have days where we are not at our best, but it is still important to put in the best effort that you are able to for that day. Remember that you are human. We cannot be perfect everyday, we are not robots.

The part of this core value that states, “Do just a little bit more than what’s required,” comes directly from Bruce Lee. If you want to do your job well, you should do just a little bit more than the minimum.

Sometimes we do not do the “extra” at our jobs because we do not think we are being compensated enough for going beyond the minimum. You should not push yourself to do your best effort just to receive more money; you should do your best effort for personal growth. Go the extra mile for yourself, but know that if you are truly pursuing your best effort, your higher-ups will notice you.

Approaching your work with your Best Effort will benefit you in the long-term. There is fulfillment and gratification in a job well done. Take satisfaction in putting forth your Best Effort.

Personal Responsibility:

Know what you need to do (or find out) and do it. You will not be micro-managed or handheld. You will be supported and encouraged to be a strong, competent, skilled and creative individual, but you are responsible for your own success, progress and advancement. You are responsible for figuring out how best to do your job through Communication, Relationship, Curiosity, Best Effort and being open to Change. Take initiative toward your own growth.

It was important to Bruce Lee to be personally responsible, to research his own experience, to be self-sufficient, to use to his mind expansively, and to be responsible for his own growth.

For Shannon, it became very clear while managing people over the years, that she really needed people to be able to manage themselves and be responsible for their job. The Bruce Lee Family Company is a small company and does not have someone to manage employees in a hands-on manner.

When Shannon asks someone to do something, she expects them to figure out how to do it. Since the company is small, there is not someone who can walk them through the task.

In the past, Shannon has had issues where an employee will be tasked with something they do not know how to do and they freeze and do not move forward with the task. This halted the progress of certain projects. Now, Shannon expects employees to ask questions, do research, and do whatever is needed to move forward with the task. If Shannon had to go step-by-step in a task with each employee she has, then she would never be able to do her own job.

This approach of Personal Responsibility is good for smaller businesses where there are not as many management layers as big companies. This Personal Responsibility does not mean that there is no support; it means that you have to take the responsibility to ask for help, to ask for collaboration, and to seek knowledge.


Be a source of uplift. Positive attitude and energy make yourself and everyone else around you resonate at a higher frequency. It’s okay to struggle. It’s not okay to take it out on those around you or to desire for others to get in the mud with you if they don’t want to. Cultivate empathy and compassion. Remember that you are a light. Illuminate yourself and we will all be illuminated.

There is personal responsibility in managing your own state of being and your energy. We are all spreaders of energy, and if we are not conscious of it we can bring down other people’s energy with our own negative energy. We can also Uplift people if we spread around our positive energy.

Bruce Lee often talked about positive attitude and keeping your mind in the right place in terms of what we want to grow. We all have “off” days, but we are capable of acknowledging of what is going on, working with it, and taking positive action to change that into uplifting energy. Creating uplifting energy is good for ourselves and everyone around us.

At the Bruce Lee Family Company we use our weekly company meeting as a way to reconnect, relax, and uplift each other. Shannon is often in back-to-back meetings so she likes to use the team meeting as an intentional recharge of her energy, mixing productive conversation with tangents about our daily lives and a healthy dose of humor.

Shannon has found that if she takes moments to relax and intentionally recharge she is ultimately more productive.

Even if you don’t work in an environment quite like the Bruce Lee Family Company, you can still apply these values to yourself and your work.

If you become the person who is always a source of uplift, showing up, doing high quality work, you start to attract people who practice the same work values. Then you will have a small group within the larger company that can be your best effort, high quality, work group. Your group can feed your positive energy, improve your work, and create wonderful collaborations. This will make working at a larger company more satisfying, fulfilling, and fun.

Ask yourself: What are my values in Life? What are my values at Work? Are those values the same? Can you apply those same values in both Life and Work?

What are your work values? We would love to hear from you about what values at work that you really appreciate, enjoy, and that work for you. Email us at hello@brucelee.com or tag us @brucelee on social media with #bruceleepodcast and tell us about your work values!

We are experimenting with the formatting for the podcast so we do not have an #AAHA or #BruceLeeMoment this week, but we would still love to hear from you!

We get many emails requesting advice with “What would Bruce Lee do?” and would like to start a “What would Bruce Lee do?” section of the podcast where Shannon and Sharon respond to your emails for advice. If you need advice and are wondering, “What would Bruce Lee do?” write to us at hello@brucelee.com


The Bruce Lee Podcast is now on Nerdis.



Lydy Walker60