We recently ran a Twitter Poll asking the question “Do you believe your values are aligned or similar to those of your employer?” Suffice it to say, we were surprised by the results.
A staggering 80% of respondents either answered ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’. At the core of our philosophy is the belief that when your personal values are aligned with that of your employer you are at your most productive, you’re most happy and have a higher tolerance for stress. This is because you believe your work and/or your organisation matter, and this forms a key part of motivation for individuals. When values are out of alignment your system will require more energy to complete tasks and where values conflicts are present you will actually start to see an erosion of self (see our Values Conflict blog here).
We believe that clear identification of and orientation to your own values is critical in the quest to be the best version of yourself. Shared values are the basis on which we form tribe, and this is very important for how we function as a society. Values are where we gain purpose, meaning and motivation.
So how do you identify your own values?
1. Split your life into at least five domains. These will be things like career, family, money, faith, health etc.
2. Pick one domain to focus on. We’re going to use the life domain of health to demonstrate each step.
3. In that domain identify one time when you felt very proud. For example, I felt proud when I was able to run 5 kms without stopping.
4. In that domain identify one time when you felt angry or disappointed. For example, I felt disappointed when I realised I hadn’t exercised for over a month.
5. In that domain identify one time when you felt profoundly happy. For example I felt extremely happy when I achieved a personal best at Parkrun and my son was there to share it with me.
6. In that domain identify one time when you felt devastated. For example, I was devastated when I experienced an injury and couldn’t exercise for 3 months.
7. Examine each of the examples above and identify the value that was being satisfied/breached, i.e. trust, respect, loyalty etc. Example When I ran 5 kms without stopping I was satisfying my value of persistence I breached that vale when I didn’t train for a whole month.
8. Test these values. Focus on each and imagine using it as a motivational tool to be more productive and go that extra mile. If it doesn’t motivate you, it isn’t one of your values. Keep exploring until you find values that seem right for you.
9. List 3 ways to integrate your identified values into your daily life.’ For example 1. I can schedule time in my diary each week to make space for exercise. 2. I can arrange an indoor option for the days when I can’t train outside. 3 I can arrange days where I train with friends or family members to ensure I get up at 5am, I would never let someone else down.
10. Repeat for the remaining life domains.
If the above seems overwhelming, try it in small bites. Identifying and orienting to your values is critical not only to live a purposeful life, but to be a great leader. If you do not have strong conviction, why would anyone follow you?
Remoteness from your values can only lead to unhappiness. And ultimately whether you are a leader or not, why would you tolerate anything less than the best you can be?
When we work with teams or groups of leaders we find that get great value from our one day Leadership Compass. This enables each individual to discover their own values, resolve any conflicts and integrate their values into their personal and professional lives.