When values are truly a part of how business is done every day at your company, they help guide decisions large and small, by employees at all levels and in every division. If the vision is where the company is going, then the values are how the company will act along the way.

Values are long-term commitments. They represent guidelines for how the company will operate, year after year. There’s no reason to monkey around with your company values if they still apply to the goals of the business.

But there are times in a company’s growth when the values may need to be revisited. You might want to reinterpret your values in terms of how they apply in a practical sense to changes in the business. A few of the existing values may need to be replaced with new ones that are more appropriate. Or, in the case of a major company-wide change, you may find the need to introduce a completely new set of values to replace the old. Here are three company milestones that could indicate the need for new values:

Since values are at the core of the company culture, merging two cultures will usually require some revamping of values. Occasionally, the acquiring company’s values will prevail, but it’s sometimes easier to create a cohesive culture if both companies are becoming part of something new.

Evolving your values is a process that begins with defining and articulating what those values are and then moves to actually launching those values company-wide. But the job’s not done once the values are launched. In fact, it’s never done.

For values to truly become guidelines for how business is done at your company, they have to be made relevant and meaningful to employees at all levels. Employees will need to see examples of their management putting the values into action. And those values must be communicated with sustaining efforts over a long period of time. You’ll know you’ve succeeded when you see employees using the company values as the basis for the decisions they make in their work, day after day.

!.  Is there a new company vision?

Many companies reinvented themselves during the recession. Market conditions forced some reevaluation and that closer look often revealed new opportunities to redefine the business model and a new vision for the future.

the employees understand the new vision and the role they play in reaching it? Do they know they’re expected to change their behavior to meet this new vision? Values will be an important of that equation. A new company vision may require slightly different values from the ones that appropriate for the old way of doing business.

2. Has there been a change in leadership?

A new CEO will also generally mean a new vision for the company. A change in top leadership prime time to take a close look at the values and how they align with management’s vision for future.

3. Has there been a merger or acquisition?

Since values are at the core of the company culture, merging two cultures will usually require some revamping of values. Occasionally, the acquiring company’s values will prevail, but it’s sometimes easier to create a cohesive culture if both companies are becoming part of something new.

Evolving your values is a process that begins with defining and articulating what those values are then moves to actually launching those values company-wide. But the job’s not done once the values are launched.

What is needed is engaging employees to champion the values. Otherwise, your work is never done.