by Cindy Briggs, PhD
If you have been around business for any length of time, you have heard people talk about needing a mission statement, and a vision statement. What isn’t discussed enough is the idea of values. Webster has several definitions of “values”, but the one we are going to use is this: a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.
Why in the world would your standard of behavior, or your judgement be something I would bring up in a business discussion? Well, I for one, think it is a very important topic. For over 20 years I have taught my college business students about how values should be a major discussion in business.
I discussed this topic on my podcast with the same title, Living Our Values, but on this post I want to go further into the topic of should our business values and personal values be different? Others may argue with me, but I do not think they should be different.
Let’s put this into an example, if you look up “business values” you may find a list of words that looks like this: accountability, boldness, collaboration, curiosity, diversity, inclusion, integrity, making a difference, passion, teamwork and trust. These are all great words, and also great values…. but is there more. Let’s say at work I value boldness, collaboration, and integrity. Again, not wrong… but are those also my personal values?
If you look up core personal values, you will find a very long list ( I have attached it to this post). The are words like family, faith, growth, happiness, humor, friendships, peace, poise, and wisdom. Additional words not typically found in “business values”.
If you look at the Army, who are very dedicated to their values, you will see:
- Loyalty. Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers. …
- Duty. Fulfill your obligations. …
- Respect. …
- Selfless Service. …
- Honor. …
- Integrity. …
- Personal Courage.
There is no separate between self and job– they are just values. If we choose a value like, “family”, shouldn’t that seep into all areas of our lives? We wouldn’t work 18 hour days, or be away consistently. It in no way means those things are bad– you just have different values.
Understanding our personal values is really vital for us to be successful in other areas of our lives. If are values are at odds– it will be tough to find success– let alone peace. The bottom line is we need to know who we are, what we want, and our actions in between.
In my podcast, I gave a little “homework”- (everyone loves that!) I asked that you review the list of values I have attached. I want you to choose 10 that you think fit you…… (I’ll wait 😉
Now that you have done that- I want you to narrow the list to 5.. (go ahead!)
And yes, now I want you to choose ONE! (yea, it’s hard)
Does this mean you should only have one value– no, you can have a few (like no more than 5). If you value 20 things, you really value nothing– you can’t dedicate to any one of them.
After you choose the 1-5 values, write them down. Post them where you can see them. I literally have mine in wall words in my office! You want them to be front and center so if you start going down a different path, you are reminded of what’s important. You are reminded to cultivate the things that really matter.
Dr. Cindy Briggs is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, college professor, wife and mom. Her mission is to provide programs that can help entrepreneurs and communities thrive. To find out more, visit www.cindybriggsphd.com.