Peace of mind comes when your life is in harmony with true principles and values and in no other way. Stephen R. Covey.
It was vile ago; I was offered a lucrative contract job in Majorca. They were ready to pay me much more than the market rate, as well as cover my accommodation and pay for home travel twice a month; that's flights back home fortnightly. Tempting, Isn't it?.
I was imagining looking outside the window of my sea-view apartment, my wife and my family and being there too.
Yet, there was one tiny issue, my values. I had clearly defined them: not to work, neither for gaming or adult web projects. And this one qualified to be a gaming project. Please don't get me wrong; gaming sites are great from a technical perspective; however, I have seen so many becoming addicted, often losing their partners and jobs. So I had joined several movements educating people on how not to fall into these addictions.
And there was one more. My current contract would end soon, and I didn't have the next assignment in the pipeline.
Actually, it did not end there - we were expecting our first child; hence I was in deepest need of a more or less stable income. As you see, I had obvious and good reasons to give in to tempting offers.
Yet, I declined the offer and delivered bad news to a recruitment agent. It was lucrative, and the future wasn't certain; I still said no. I stood by my values because they represented a solid foundation for me and worked through my inner peace. As We know, a house on a strong foundation can withstand many storms of life.
How do they work?
Surprisingly values do work both on the individual and team level. They are, like, a precious golden coin; please refer to the image below.
On one side, you have actual values, what you and your team stand forward to. Flip it over, and on the other side, you get the bottom line - the stuff we don't get into. What does it do to the team values?
Let's go through quickly some items, what values do to the team.
- Actual values; the stuff we clearly want to be recognisable in our environment. In a sense, values share several similarities with reputation.
- Bottom line, strangely as it looks, defines the quality standards, who on an organisational and client terms do awareness and reputation, hence what we are famous for.
We stand for our values; that creates the bottom line - areas we don't want to give in. If you do come from a technical world, you would know things like coding and quality standards. Similarly, if you relate to a financial world, in certain countries, when you do get a placement in a financial institution, you be sworn in; give a solemn oath, a promise that you will never fail. This aligns you with the values.
How do we train that?
In most organisations I have observed, I see the same pattern - repetition, a culture of the constant reminder of values daily.
Ask yourself why Chick fil A employees always respond: "My pleasure" is based on their values the care they embrace for their customers. Take a look at the video below.
It is hilarious what their employees are doing to stand for their values. That's part of their story and value culture as well. Let me give you an exercise, it does look rather simple, but it is indeed powerful.
The exercise that I'm about to give you looks rather simple but really powerful. It does not require a complex setup, just your organisation's values written on the value cards and sticky notes. Thatswhy you can easily do that as part of your monthly or weekly review meeting.
Firstly - ask your staff to write down their own personal values. Give them five minutes to think on them and ask to put one value per sticky note.
I know there are still COVID restrictions worldwide; your team may impose limitations for face to face meetings. (Ping me if you need training for that.) Then use a digital tool instead, like https://miro.com.
When everyone has finished, open up your value cards and ask them to share theirs. If your organisational value system is strong, trust me, and you will be astounded! The values of your team members should match your organisational values or will land nearby.
If they don't, that may reveal a bottleneck - you may be behind in the following areas (but not limited to)
- Weak or not transparent communication
- Lack of team building and fun activities
- Discrepancies in team chemistry
- Too many formalities
- Need to boost leadership coaching skills
Obviously, these can be fixed. You - a leader need to understand you may need to explain to the team the meaning of the golden coin, introduce more clarity in sharing values, or alter their definitions by simplifying them.
Values aren't designed to endorse a sophisticated and eloquent language; they should be as simple as possible but not simpler than that.
The best formula for values: "What we stand for" + "What we don't give in to" = VALUES.
Once you make them on such a level, you can embed values in people's behaviour, which means they will bring those values into their homes and personal lives. And, that's the path to reach significance inside your business or organisation.
Happy teamwork, my friend.