Values are those things that drive us to do what we do and they also help us to evaluate our behaviour after we do what we do. Young people are often said to have no values whereas in truth, they simply have different values.
Although they are deeply held, they are often unconscious and they change over time. For instance, many people find their values change when they move from being a couple to being married because their values for marriage are different to their values for being a couple. If your prince or princess has turned back into a frog then you'll know what I mean - sometimes this results in bewildering changes in behaviour!
So, how can we find out what our values are and how can we use this with our teams?
In many of our trainings we take people through a full values elicitation process that quickly gets to the heart of what drives them. Mail me if you would like more details but, for now, here is a process that you can begin to use now and adapt for use in meetings, 121's or interviews…
The easiest way to find out someoneÍs values is to ask them. (You may like to start with yourself :)
1. Ask "What is important to you about X?" (where x is work or relationships or customer service etc.)
This question should provoke a list of fairly abstract values. Last week I worked with someone whose list began with achievement, recognition, fun, money, etc.
2. Continue to ask: "So, what else is important to you about X? What else? What else?" etc. Get everything out.
3. You can also use a list of values to stimulate thinking. Mail me and I'll send you one.
4. Pick the top 3 most important drivers. Force a ranking, even if this is difficult to do.
You now have the 3 most important drivers in the area of X. Do this with everyone in your team and then it starts to get interesting. Once you have the individual top 3, the team together and do the same exercise as a team to get the 3 most important team drivers. (What's important to us about X?)
Once you and your colleagues understand what is driving you both individually and as a team, you can then compare this to your company values.
The bigger the difference, the more likely it is that your customers experience incongruence when dealing with you. Usually this shows as a difference between words and actions or stated intentions and actual behaviour. (We believe in excellent service as long as you don't mind waiting for us to finish talking about the weekend!).
Conversely, the more closely your own values mirror those of the team and the company then the more likely it is that your customers experience a more 'together' offering from you. Pay attention to this area and it will reap real bottom line results for you.
Remember, to build a business or team based around your values then make sure as far as possible that the people you choose to work with share your fundamental drivers.
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