Are values important in business?

What are values?      

Values are the things that are most important to us, they are our permissions, and they help us monitor or gauge how we feel about we’ve done. You may recognise values as the things we spend our time and energy on.

We tend to focus on the things that are important to us and don’t focus on the things that are not important to us.

Values come from a variety of sources, and they can (and do) change depending on our current surroundings, environments, and live situations – we can sometimes be in “two minds”.

Where do values initiate from:

  • Are they driven from things that directly impact our day-to-day – friends & family, culture & geography, religion, childhood & schooling, economics & politics, social and other media?
  • Are they made apparent by significant life events for you or others?
  • How much can we be influenced by the values of others?

The reality is that values are embedded for different reasons, in different ways and at different times for different people. However, there are two key aspects around our values – these are:

Beliefs and attitudes

Beliefs are the convictions that we wholeheartedly trust as being true. These are the things that can either empower OR disempower us. They determine what we believe we can, could, can’t/shouldn’t do.

Attitudes are formed as part of a collection of beliefs around a certain subject, situation, or topic.

Why are strong and visible values important in business?

  • To understand motivations of other people or yourself
  • Vision and direction when managing teams or individuals
  • Foundations of coaching
  • Aligning when talent managing, focusing on retention and recruitment
  • Shared when team building
  • Levellers when managing conflict
  • Life changing decision makers
  • Considerations when influencing others or selling

Leaders who want to support or help team members to identify their personal career plan or growth opportunities, can use a values-focused conversation to create shared understanding, planning and clarity. Here are some ideas:

Before You start…

  • Be clear on the context before you start. i.e. career progression, growth opportunities – make sure you both keep to that context
  • Remember, they don’t have to explain or justify – just tell you what their values are
  • Capture the team members values in their own words (and resist temptation to make suggestions!)
  • Actively and intentionally listen – keep rapport and build trust
  • Pauses and silences are fine – this takes a lot of thinking about
  • Typically, people will come up with between 5-10 values – so be prepared to ask, “What else?” – there is no limit

Ask the team member…

  • What’s important to you about your job/career (your focused aspect)?
  • What do you want from your job/career/future role (your focused aspect)?
  • What do you look for from your work/life balance?

Check if anything is missing?…

  • Capture and read through the team members list of values so far, remembering to repeat in their words
  • ASK:
  • If you had all of this, in your career/job, would you want it all – or is anything missing that you would like to add? (Amend accordingly)

Rank…ask them to rank the values as A/B/C

  1. A – absolutely, this is most important
  2. B – important but not essential
  3. C – nice to have but it won’t be an issue if I don’t

Confirm…

SAY:

  • So, if I could offer you a career/role/job with the A and B Values, and possibly the C Values, would you want it?
  • If the answer is not a definite yes, ask if there is any other value(s) they would like to add to the list or anything you would like to re-order?
  • Repeat until you receive a definite yes

What’s next?

This type of career development conversation is heavily focused on the team member rather than the business. This naturally increases engagement, rapport, and trust. 

Sometimes, the person may decide to leave their role if the future with your business doesn’t fit with their values, or you cannot help them move towards a 3- or 5-year career plan. This is not always a bad result- in fact it could be a great first step towards retaining the people who really ‘fit’ your business.

The process is also a great way to help leaders consider what is most important in retaining great talent, and a first step to a creative succession plan, using different ways to unlock team potential.

Personal development planning and actions/training follows, as well as identifying what you need to do, and what they need to do to move just one or two paces toward their desired next step.

This method of career development conversation turns the traditional talent planning process on its head, and moves toward a values-driven, employee-led development plan, utilising people’s existing strengths, desires, and potential to build your business – right people right place right time. And don’t forget – you are not promising anything, you are supporting your team’s progress.

Lindsey Marriott
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Lindsey Marriott

Lindsey is a passionate trainer and learning consultant, driven by a firm belief that harnessing the input of clients, customers and employees and bringing those together, is the most super valuable business resource. She loves to work with organisations that move people (train/plane/airport/coach), logistics, call centres, engineering – in fact, if you rely on a remote workforce to deliver your service proposition, Lindsey understands you. Her passion comes from wanting to help your people shift from ‘process-led’ to ‘service-led’ thinking. She believes clients already have great people, services and products – and its often small adjustments or adaptations, rather than massive changes that help to realise your targets.