What are your values?
Most would offer a stock answer – honesty, integrity, and excellence, perhaps. Companies will come up with a lot more fluff, but it pretty much boils down to that. These are all great values that all of us should have. But there is a much deeper level of values to be addressed.
Let me ask that question differently: What are YOUR values?
That’s a little harder to answer. It is a big question. My friend Jonathan Pool defines values well – values are those things that, if violated, will make your conscience scream.
So, for instance, if you see someone being abused and all of your being is screaming for you to take action, it is a good indicator that one of your values is the protection of life.
If your boss demands you work overtime when one of your children has their first recital, and you find yourself infuriated, it is an indicator of a strong family value.
If your spouse buys a new car without discussing with you first, it is an indicator that you value collaborative decision making and solid financial choices.
If your co-worker is always late and their lack of work makes you want to pull your hair out, it underscores your value of punctuality and hard work.
If you buy something of not-so-stellar quality and it frustrates you to no end, it shows you have a high value for quality. If the new car your spouse bought is low quality, look out!
If you move at the speed of light like yours truly, and one of your employees is super-detailed, always asking a lot of questions and taking their time (can we say, “forever!”) to make well-informed decisions, your values of getting things done quickly will be violated. This also works the other way – if you are the detail person and you work for someone who is not, your values will constantly scream at each other.
Do your best to put yourself in situations where values align. You may not see eye-to-eye with everyone and folks do things differently based on several factors, including personality. This doesn’t make them wrong, it just makes them different from you. Learn to appreciate the differences and use them to complement each other. If something really is wrong – as in the abuse issue – that’s different. That’s just wrong. But in matters of preference, it helps to try and understand the other person’s values and why they do what they do.
There are times when, no matter what, your conscience just will not stop screaming. At that point, you either have to fix the problem or remove yourself from the situation. It’s a tough choice. But values are that important. What you truly value is innate to who you are – and that seldom changes. That’s actually a good thing.
Determine your values, be sure they are solid and good…
and don’t be afraid to make decisions based on them.
They will serve you well.