How to make your values mean something.

Values describe the unique qualities we choose to embody to guide our actions; the kind of person we want to be; how we treat ourselves and others, and our interaction with the world around us. Values are basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate thoughts or actions. They support us to conclude what is important to us. Values in a narrow sense are that which are good, desirable, or worthwhile. Values also define the relationship between a person and its goal. This makes it possible that in a group of people, one person’s values may not be what another’s values even in the same situation. 

Let’s use as an example the value of loyalty. “Ron might blow the whistle on a commercial betrayal by his supervisor, where Chris remains silent. This is an example of values conflict. Chris may believe in the importance of keeping one’s confidence to stay loyal. Where Ron find it essential, to be honest, even if it might harm others to remain loyal.”

In this example, it’s not about right or wrong, it’s to show the variety of individual interpretations of the same value. This is a problem that often appears in teams and organizations, the super trendy one size fits all values bring more confusion than connection.

How to find your unique recipe?

It’s not enough to print on a poster the words empowering, teamwork, togetherness, and compassion to align your team or to build a culture. It needs more… it requires understanding, time, practice, and patience. Let’s compare the process with backing bread. Everyone is using the same set of ingredients flour, yeast, water, and salt. Only by adjusting the measurements and approach, you will change the taste and structure. It’s not about the one size fits all values (flour, yeast, water, and salt) it’s about your measurements and approach, your recipe.

Taste is very personal and is complicated to change, that’s why it’s crucial to attract in an organization people with the same taste, the same values. These are what we call foundational values to bring the right people into the room. Foundational values give the products a unique edge. Great brands, great restaurants, and great books are great because of the individual ‘flavor’ given to them by their founder’s values. The foundational values are handpicked by the founder or founders. It’s that special secret ingredient that gives their organization that unique flavor.

Connect with your special ingredient.

Often it’s difficult to grasp for the founder or founders what their special ingredient is because for them it’s nothing special and it was always there. This is the reason why we’re using our mindfulness practice to bring them back, bring them to their beginners-mind, let them feel, and re-discover their special ingredient. We’re often using tools like; visualization techniques, photo projection cards, or association mapping.

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Be continued…

In my next article, I will give you the tools to come closer to your special ingredient!

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