The Power of Value-Driven Actions
Values give us an anchor for effective action. They are akin to the foundation stones of a stable architectural structure. They are the driving force behind so many of the decisions we make in our lives and deconstructing them can deepen our understanding of ourselves.
For business owners and executives values are a crucial component of leadership. For employees they are often the factor that creates a sense of fulfilment in the workplace. Therefore, identifying and understanding core values is paramount for individuals and organisations alike.
Start With Why
Values are guiding directions in our professional and personal lives - like marker buoys on the water. Simon Sinek, the Author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, says he always starts with the why when working with business executives. He gets them to answer the question ‘What are our drivers for behaviour as an organisation, a team or an individual?’ He understands the importance of identifying core values not only for individuals but for businesses. On a micro level values form the backbone and heart of an individual. On a macro level values form the backbone of an organisation. Once specific value-driven goals have been identified the next step is to ensure they translate into value-driven actions.
Aligning Values with Business Strategy
Working in alignment with core professional values is a fundamental quality of a good leader. Doing so ensures that an organisation’s people strategy stays aligned with their business strategy. As value driven creatures we tend to enjoy working for companies whose values align with our own. Having clear company values will help an organisation attract and retain the right talent. It will also increase the productivity of employees as they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.
Values Create Unity
Values provide a unifying foundation for leaders and employees. We form relationships and friendships with people who share our values so it’s no surprise that we feel more connected to companies who share them as well. Organisations with clear values have greater consistency and team cohesion. Competent employees can then align their work with the organisation’s values, each other and leaders. Additionally they form a concrete foundation for effective business leaders to bring out the best in their teams.
Values Provide an Alternative Pathway to Fear and Anxiety
When we look at values from a mental health perspective it becomes apparent that they provide an alternative pathway to fear and anxiety. We can stop and ask ourselves whether we are being driven by fear or driven by our values in how we respond to a challenging situation. When we are being driven by fear and worry our responses are often self-defeating and result in more fear, more worry, dissatisfaction and reduced fulfilment. For example, we might fear being judged negatively in a work situation so we don’t interact with the people we need to in order to get the job done effectively.
When we are driven by our values the destination is often renewed energy, satisfaction and fulfilment. Instead of acting from a place of fear we can create space and instead align to our values, such as pride in getting a job done well. We slowly and gradually stand up to fear and face the situations we might have otherwise avoided. When people are dissatisfied with their personal or professional lives it is often because they are living out of alignment with their values.
Values build people and people build businesses. Leading with values helps us harness the power of one of the biggest drivers of human behaviour. They act as a ‘home-base’ where we can connect with ourselves and our teams.
What are your core values?