When we experience flux like we are experiencing now with the uncertainty around the impact of COVID going forward and, even before then, as we navigate the endless changes of life and leadership in the Knowledge Era, we look for some sort of certainty and stability. Traditional forms of certainty and stability are no longer available in this new era. Nothing is certain except for our choice of attitude and how we live and navigate life. What we can rely on are our values.
Values are the foundation that we can rely on. They are what is uniquely important to each one of us and provide us with guideposts when we are aware of them and use them consciously. Values, based on beliefs, inform our thoughts, emotions, decisions, and actions.
What can you do as a leader to create a sense of certainty and stability in your workplace? Leaders that first find the pulse of their own values, find their own alignment with the organizational values and, then, act on that alignment, and model the way for others to do the same. Then, those leaders can guide and support their teams to find alignment between personal and organizational values, acknowledge aligned behaviors, make it easy to practice the behaviors through process and procedures, and frequently monitor and adapt to the ever-evolving culture. This provides stability because values do not shift readily.
“When we use our values to make decisions, we make a deliberate choice to focus on what is important to us. When values are shared, they build internal cohesion in a group. “ – Barrett Values Centre
One great way to do this is through Spark Success values alignment exercises or through more formal assessments such as those offered through the Barrett Values Center of which I am a Barrett Values Centre Certified Consultant. The Barrett Model can be used to identify personal values, leadership values (360 version), and/or organizational values. From these assessments, insight is gained from which to make adjustments to create alignment and the positive results of a thriving life for individuals and a thriving, successful culture for leaders and organizations.
When looking at personal values, for example, if you find that your values do not align at all with organizational values, you will find yourself feeling conflicted, overwhelmed and/or resentful. Another example is if you have a value of ethics and yet your organization does not follow the rules, you will feel very conflicted which will impact your energy and ability to be all-in. Whereas, if your values and your organization’s practiced values are similar, you will likely feel energized, engaged, and fulfilled.
At an organizational level, when an organization can understand the aggregated top values of its people along with what their people see as the practiced values and desired values of the organization, leaders can determine the gaps. If the gaps are high, their workforce is likely not as productive and engaged as they could be. By paying attention to the gap between perceived practiced values and desired values, organizational leaders can do their part to shift practiced values for greater alignment and thereby greater productivity and results.
Values are the North Star that lights our way and the one true guide through uncertainty. What are your values? How are you leading with them? What difference would they make for you, your teams, and your organization?
Yours in thriving,
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