Updated: Jan 31, 2020
Looking at values is a regular theme across the Phoenix Coaching pages on social media.
This isn’t the first time I have blogged on this, and it most definitely won’t be the last because values are so incredibly important to how we live, how we make decisions and the direction that we move ourselves forward with.
We all have a good sense of what our core values are, and what is important to us, but are you able to be specific in telling someone what is important to you? Do you know what you are assessing decisions against and what you are setting your ‘moral compass’ on?
I know that my values have changed as I have grown, as my circumstances have changed and as my priorities in life have changed.
It is a chicken and egg situation as my life experience has helped me determine what is most important to me and my values have helped determine my direction and are my ‘life and moral compass’.
Reflecting on our own Values
One of the questions I get asked most frequently when talking about values is how often people should reflect on them.
There isn’t a set timescale, but my recommendation would be that if your circumstances have changed, your life is changing direction, or you are working your way through a situation that you are finding a challenge to work out what is best for you, then it is good to check what is happening against your values and needs.
When we are not living in alignment we get that feeling of discomfort, the feeling in our gut that tells us it isn’t right, that feeling of being lost and without a sense of direction.
Knowing what your own values are gives you that compass, it helps you set the direction for the journey and helps you make decisions that will feel right and lead you in the direction you want your life to go.
Reflecting on other people’s Values
It is important to understand the values and needs of those we spend most time with as well as our own as this can often help us to empathise and consider where they are coming from in any given conversation or situation.
There isn’t a right or wrong set of values. There isn’t a set of 3 values that will increase your chances of success or happiness. Your life experiences, people you have met, people who have been an influence to you will all have helped shape your values.
We can all live in a family home and each have a different set of values. Understanding the values of those we are closest to can really help develop those relationships and have that deeper understanding.
What about work colleagues?
Most people are in work to do a good job but what if they have different values and so approach work differently?
Achievement/Competency – vs Meaningful work / Contribution
These are all important values and will be held by very competent colleagues. It will however mean that they are likely to approach tasks differently.
A colleague who values achievement and competency is likely to approach a work task with a successful outcome in mind. Potentially they will look at quantity or speed of the task, being able to prove that they can ‘do’ the allocated task to those around them.
A colleague who values meaningful work and contribution is likely to approach the task in a different way with a focus more on ‘how’ the task is completed. They will be driven more by the how rather than the final outcome. Rather than focusing on a proven ability it will be more important for them to feel they have contributed to the outcome rather than have been responsible for it.
All of these values are important, one is not more important than the other and both colleagues will be a valued member of the team, both will successfully complete the task they have been given, how they approach the task will be different and will depend on their individual values.
Reflecting on Organisational Values
Does the place where you work have a set of organisational values? Are they in alignment to your personal values? Does the organisation hold the same values as when you started working there?
Organisations must change and adapt the service they deliver or the way that they work to meet the needs of their service demand and customer. When organisations change it can mean that the mission, vision and values of the organisation can change as it evolves. If the new set of values are no longer in line with your own it may mean that it is time for you to review how you feel working towards a new set of values.
As an example; you join a company that is renowned for its customer service. Something that is also important to you. When you started the focus was about the quality of customer care, the focus was on the service delivery and spending time with a customer was not an issue if it resolved the enquiry or complaint. If over time, changes in demand and budget the company evolved into being more performance driven in terms of quantity rather than the quality then this would require you to work in a different way and would be out of alignment with your personal values. This leaves you with the option to try and meet both personal and organisational values in your work or considering the option to change to another company.
Understanding our own values is important.
Understanding other people’s values is important
Understanding the values of where we work is important.
Listen to what people say – really listen. Listen to understand not respond
Ask people what is important to them
Ask yourself, what is important to you?
If you would like support in identifying your values and needs then the Phoenix Webinars are a good place to start. They are held online on a regular basis and you can sign up on the day up until 2 hrs before.