What Do Values Have to Do With It?

What Do Values Have to Do With It?

This is my first time living in the US during an election. What a wild first experience! It has me thinking a lot about values. I would like to ponder values from different angles without being explicitly political. (Wish me luck!) 

In the world of executive and leadership coaching we think and talk a lot about values. We talk values when we work with companies on culture shifts. We talk values when looking at potential hires or potential job offers. Understanding values matters when a new leader is wanting to get effectively connected to his/her team. 

How do values and behavior co-relate? Are our core values good predictors of our future behavior choices?  

I love how this public sector website in Australia puts it:   http://publicsector.sa.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/changesa/2013/05/Values_and_behaviours_FRAMEWORK_FACT_SHEET.pdf 

Behaviors can easily be mis-interpreted as a result of personality differences or cultural differences. That being said, our behaviors do flow from our beliefs, values, personal principles and our core beliefs about the world, ourselves, and others.  

Sometimes people end up in job roles that conflict with their values. This creates an enormous amount of stress. The easiest one to feel I think is someone in a high-target sales position who has a strong value around respecting the expressed wishes of others. This person has to disregard the social and moral cues that they have lived their life around in order to push past objections and close a sale.  

Since behaviors do indeed highlight our values and beliefs it is a great place for us each to increase our own self-awareness. If I say I have a core value of reducing poverty but do nothing in any way to impact poverty - not by donating, not by volunteering, not by voting accordingly, not by helping people I personally can, then I need to question how much of a core value is it for me?  

If I claim I have a certain value but my actions line up opposite to that value then it’s just talk or, like the sales example, I am living in a way that will create some inner turmoil. We can eventually get used to the stress of this disconnect. I think the expression “dull your conscience” is appropriate. 

It’s so easy right now to point fingers at examples of glaring disconnects between stated values and actual behavior choices. I’m choosing to take this opportunity to reflect on my own values and behaviors and to make sure there is a good alignment.  

There are fantastic assessments to help you examine your values. In one I did with a couple of amazing coaches I worked with these 4 values showed up among my highest: benevolence, stimulation, universalism and self-direction. How can I use that to look at my life and if I’m being consistent? 

Truly I can look at every day decisions I’m making and use them as the acid test. If I’m feeling frustrated I can take time to examine if in that area of frustration I’m acting contrary to one of my core values. As Bill and I create our wellness and wedding venue we encounter decisions almost daily where we remind each other of who we want to be and how we want to show up in the world. This translates to how we want to treat contractors, guests, each other and even ourselves. 

Where are you feeling disconnects in your world between your values and your behaviors? 

Do you have a dream that would let you live out your core values significantly more than in the work you are doing now? 

What is a first step you could take towards better aligning with your values? 

Thanks for pondering with me! 

Until next week, 


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