Values – We All Have Them, Why Not Make Them Visible?

core valuesI just completed the Tribal Leadership Intensive Course through Culturesync, an organization co-founded by Dave Logan, author of Tribal Leadership. So naturally, I’m going to evangelize a little about the concepts and ideas I want to incorporate into my work.

First, I’ve always believed that values drive everything. Whenever you have a conflict with an individual, dig down and you will likely see a “values conflict.” In the workplace, you can change someone’s behavior, but it’s rare that you see a “values” change. The values someone holds are like their eye color or height, not much you can do to change them. You can artificially alter them, but fundamentally, they stay the same.

Our values are formed over time, based on who we are and what we’ve experienced. Think back to a pivotal moment in your life – did you have to make a tough decision? Did you have a significant life changing event or an awesome win? Dave calls these events; “hell no moments,” “crucible events,” or “high fives,” respectively. “Hell no moments” are those where you refuse to do something or stop something from happening because it absolutely goes against all you believe. A “crucible event” is one that was life changing, significant and you can recall it like it was yesterday. A “high five” is an event where you achieved a goal, got an award or was just a real high point in your life. Some of you may be clear on your values, if so, try listing them and see if you can trace them back to some of the pivotal events in your life.

If you’re not sure what they are, spend some time contemplating what experiences and events you’ve had in your life. What did you learn from them?  What changed forever? What do you recall like it was yesterday?

The reason it’s important to identify and know what your values is so that it can help make decisions easier for you. Does your workplace share your values? Does your family? When you are having a disagreement with someone, are values at the core? There are hundreds of possible values – so there are no wrongs or rights. Mine are Integrity, Authenticity, Caring, Creativity and Curiosity. When I am in an environment where I cannot be “myself” it really means I can’t behave in alignment with my values or they are not being valued.

Run your values by your family and friends, see if they agree or give some good feedback. Wear them like a “coat” for a while and see how it feels, if you’re unsure about one after a week or two, it’s probably not a core value. As you identify them make them visible in all areas of your life!

As always, pay it forward, help others discover their values and live by them – it makes for happier human beings.