“Values are not something anyone can see,” quipped Margaret.
“Besides, who am I to tell people what to value anyway? I don’t want everyone running around in the workplace or our networking circuit really telling the truth” she became visibly annoyed at the thought.
“Do you really want people telling everyone what they think of each other?”
I smiled at her and waited patiently for her to hear what she was saying out loud.
“Maria, are you seriously telling me that you want me to use honesty as one of my values and principles?”
I shrugged my shoulders and said “Time to get back to basics” I reminded her. “Isn’t this something you value?”
“Yes I value it but you’re joking right!? I can’t police gossip and back biting all day long! Is this really THAT important?”
This is actually a common concern many people have; they don’t understand its critical value in today’s business environment. Additionally they do not know how to make the distinction between a “value” as a noun, which is a belief and that same “value” as a verb, which is the behavior. Especially when the behaviors you’ve witnessed in the past don’t agree with you.
I’m going to go back to a very basic principle I teach every single client, student and workshop participant. A value is a belief. It is something that you have embodied in your subconscious from your foundational years, usually, and additionally from the environment, experiences and meaning you assign those situations. I will say it again: it’s your interpretation and the meaning that you assign.
Your belief and that meaning will determine how you will behave. The real truth of how much you value that belief of honesty, integrity and transparency in whatever capacity you are working with it will govern the behaviors you demonstrate. Those are your actions.
The equation goes like this: the belief + the action = a specific result.
- So how do you manage a group of people will a variety of different foundational beliefs?
How do you lead them?
- How do you market and sell to your target audience and desired customers?
- In essence we are always marketing, selling and targeting an ideal “customer” – never forget that!
- Identify the value (the noun) – honestly, integrity, transparency etc. This is the competency value you wish expressed.
- Identify the value (the verb) – how will the competency be demonstrated as an accountability. This is the means value
This is a clear way to express what you mean by a specific value. Quantify it by providing a deliverable that you can measure and others can follow more easily. This gives a very specific direction which communicates the behavioral expectations to all.
In Margaret’s case, her competency value is honesty. Rather than allowing her original belief system to deploy some sort of strange juvenile demonstration of honesty not unlike something one would experience at a high school dance of “he said, she said”. She can redefine her value meaning for herself and others by articulating it this way:
I will be honest in my dealing with my staff, suppliers and the people I market and sell to by never deploying scare tactics to get my way.
Another way of stating this, if you’re creating this for your own business would be:
We conduct business in an honest manner, holding each individual staff member, supplier and client in the highest regard, treating each with the utmost respect.
If you’re someone who is marketing specialist it could be in your mission statement and in all your copy as;
We promise to always be straightforward, honest and direct.
No bull, no hype, no canned slogans and misleading campaigns.
What is true about the world today is that people want to work for and with people who have shared values. They crave the connection to others on this basic level. They want to be part of a tribe that embodies the highest potential of what they value and believe to be true.
In essence, values are the foundation for trust. Trust builds communities, followings, loyal customers, staffers and colleagues.