A deep interest and passion of mine is helping leaders identify their core values. It is one of the main themes in my new book ‘The Restless Executive’, which is available to Pre-Order here. For those of you who can’t wait. Here’s some direction on identifying core values.
Without knowing what your core values are it’s difficult to identify a meaningful vision, make informed decisions, build outstanding relationships and set aligned goals. In my experience many leaders are compelled to pluck goals out of thin air – I.E. Financial objectives, Career positions, Sales targets.
It is your core values that are at the very heart of your leadership, they underpin everything that you do and they deserve attention. Your core values are your personal motivators, they are the reasons you do what you do in the way you do it. You will be unconsciously operating from them already, the real power lies in making them conscious and then checking-in to see where you are honouring / not honouring them. You will be surprised at the impact of this.
Without knowing what your core values are objectives become hard if not impossible to obtain. I also believe that you won’t enjoy the journey. If this is happening to you, it is likely you are showing up as someone you are not and you will feel restless (because deep down inside, you know there is a different way to lead) This also has an impact on how you are expressing yourself, which in turns impacts your team and affects productivity and ultimately the bottom line.
Clarity on core values makes leading so much easier. The many benefits of having this clarity are illustrated in The Restless Executive. When your vision and goals are compatible with your values you will feel much more fulfilled. After all, if you don’t enjoy what you do, then what’s the point?
Your values are unique to you. Even values that appear similar can have different meanings to different people.
To make a start to discover your values, ask yourself two questions: What is important to me? What do I enjoy doing?
By way of an example, one answer could be, ’I enjoy finding solutions for other people’. Deeper exploration could reveal core values such as Making a Difference or Problem Solving. Or you may enjoy mountain climbing, outside of your business life and when you go deeper and ask ‘what does this give me?’ It may reveal values such as Freedom or Adventure. My question to you would then be, how do you bring Freedom and Adventure into your professional life?
Once you’ve identified your values, only then are you in a position to align your vision and goals. But don’t rush the process of identifying your values. It can help to have others’ input to verify your openness. This is where coaching can help as it does with William Cleverly in The Restless Executive – Join William as he goes on his own journey from restlessness to courageous leadership and complete the exercises along the way – And I would love to hear how much more fulfilled your feel as a result.