If identity and purpose were a map, values would stand as signposts at the junctions of who we are and what we do. When we know what our values are, they can help us navigate, provide accountability, and give clarity to ourselves and others around us.
Core values are unique to the individual, the group, or the organisation, but they are also always relational, informing where we go and how we interact with others. Identifying what we value most (in personal or professional terms or a bit of both) can be a worthwhile process because it enables us to navigate towards ways of living, working, and operating that really matter to us. Communicating them helps others to have an idea of who we are and what we might be like to work with. This process is something I help people with. It can appear simple at first glance but working out what we most value can be harder than it looks.
Having a clear idea of what is important to us helps us to operate from positions of identity and strength. Knowing what we value most keeps us aligned in practical and measurable ways as we live and work.
Core values: three reasons why spending time identifying them is worth our time:
Knowing our values helps us to navigate towards ways of living, working, and operating that really matter to us.
They keep us aligned and accountable as we live and work.
They give others clarity on who we are and what we might be like to work with (as long as we communicate what our values are). And they give us clarity too.
My four core values are below. I took time to reflect and cogitate about what values were most important for me in the context of my coaching and development business. It took me around 18 months to really settle on these four. It was worth the time time — most things worth doing do take time to think through, plan, design, and build (the world around us tells us we can have things now but it’s just not true, anything truly worthwhile takes time to build). These values orient me, keep me accountable, and give me clarity as I work with clients and build my business. I hope they give you clarity too.
Doing the right thing even when no one is watching (CS Lewis). Being honest and having strong moral principles. I take professional integrity incredibly seriously. Listing it here holds me to this.
I believe that each human is created in the image of God, precious beyond words and with unique potential and possibility before them. A person of faith (Christianity), I value those of all faiths and none.
Insight & Strategy
Having clear and deep understanding of complex situations and scenarios. Insight can come suddenly but it also unfolds over time. It always needs to be searched for and cultivated. Strategy is insight’s active partner, exploring the how to insight’s what. Without strategy, insight remains dormant.
We exist in relationship with the people, creatures, and systems around us. My final value of community states a central commitment to noticing the other and working on behalf of the collective, not just the self.
Photo credit: Brendan Church