Aligning Values

I just spent the last hour reviewing an outline for a lunch and learn presentation I have been working.  It was fun.  I had done the preliminary work before the holidays and put it aside as I have no firm deadline.  I do not know when I will have the opportunity to present it.  It is simply a topic of passion.  It addresses the question ‘What value comes from formalizing your values?’

The fun part of the review was revisiting my personal values.  In working up the presentation I documented my underlying thoughts on my values and why they are important to me.  I have identified four core values that give me purpose and set my course in life.   I have also identified two aspirational values.  These two values are very important to me and I am working on fully incorporating them into all my decisions.  I have been working on this for a while and have not moved the needle.  Okay, I have moved the needle but not over to a core value.

My values are posted in my office. This keeps me focused and helps me make value based decisions so that I can create an environment where my head, heart, and hands align.

In my last post, I suggested that when thinking about transformation (deciding what to focus on and what to transform) the first place to look was mission, vision, values.  Going back through my presentation notes shows me that I have done a pretty good job on identifying my values.  They are holding true over time.  My mission and vision may need some revision.  I don’t think transformational revision but some tweaking.

My second step is looking again at values and seeing how they align with culture or in my case the environment I have created.  I do have a way of doing things around here, day in and day out. 

In taking the time to review my values and looking at the environment / culture I hope to build in my world and with my relationships, I see some areas I need to intensify.  In looking outside my immediate world and into organizations I work with, I have noticed a trend that is also applicable to my personal world.  I have seen people in an organization having all of their leadership skills and core values outwardly facing on the people they serve.  Intentionally and proudly only looking at their customers/clients so much that they have completely forgotten themselves and their employees and colleagues.  The result is not healthy.  Seeing this in others reminds me to take care of myself and apply those values I treasure first with my own self and then with those around me.  How am I ensuring that I continually learn and grow?  Am I developing my curiosity and courage and transparency?

When values and culture are not aligned, disengagement, division, and disconnection occur.  It does not matter if the organization is big or small.  This alignment is critical to success and long term sustainability.  Whether your focus is your personal MVV or your organization’s MVV, this alignment is critical to success and long term sustainability.

My question to you is, have you defined your personal core values?  Do those core values define how you make decisions and behave?  Are those core values in alignment with the way you do things every day, in the car, at the grocery store, at little league practice, in your church and at your community activities?  Are they true at your desk, during a board meeting, at the water cooler, and in the lunch room?  If they are not, long term engagement, inclusiveness, and connection will disappear.  And for each of us as individuals, this is our life.  It requires attention.