Values: They're Not Just Words on a Poster

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Branding ✧ Design ✧ Storytelling
May 9, 2019

Values: They're Not Just Words on a Poster

by Keith Wilkins

Definition:

Your core values are the guiding principles that you use to make decisions. You may not be aware that you have them or that you're using them. But that doesn't make it any less true. You're probably not aware of your heart beating right now, but you're still alive, right?

The majority of people, from what I've seen, adopt their values early on in life--sometimes from their parents or from other people close to them, or maybe from a favorite book or even something they watched on tv. They aren't aware that they have them. And they certainly don't realize the role that they play in their experience of the world. So, they go through life wondering why they're not happy, or what's missing. And thinking if they could find it, everything would be different.

Well, spoiler alert, that feeling of discontent is caused by their actions not being in alignment with their core values. (send me a check, and I'll use it to buy a sofa for you to lie on.). But back to the topic!

The same is true for a business. If you're not making decisions based on your core values, you're in for a disappointing journey. So, as unappealing as it may sound, grab something to snack on and get ready to poke the recesses of that place where your heart is supposed to be.

It's really not that bad. These values have been running you since you could talk. Isn't it about time you said hello?
Values stand at the very core of human decision-making. When we work in an organization whose culture aligns with our personal values, we feel liberated. We are able to bring our full selves to work. We not only bring our energy, our creativity and our enthusiasm. We also bring our commitment to the well-being of our associates and the success of the organization.
~ Richard Barrett

Step One: Think about it.

Now, I know this is the part where you're supposed to choose from a big list. And yes, we'll get to that, but for now try to come up with them without any cues. What are some common themes in your thinking? What gets you up on a soapbox or always leads to a rant (even if the rant is only in your head)? Somewhere, buried in the repetition, is a core value.

If you can come up with some now without prompts, those are probably the ones that matter, and you can skip to step three.
Step Two: The list you've been waiting for…
Alright, here's the list. Quickly go through it and mark the ones that make you go "hell yeah!" or whatever it is that you do when something resonates with you. Keep in mind that this isn't a wish list of values that you wish were important to you. These are the drivers of your daily routines that, block by block, build your life.

When you've chosen eight or so, look at them and see which ones fit together. For example, maybe ambition, achievement and excellence are important to you because you believe they'll bring you security. So bundle all those words together under security. Keep doing this until you're down to the most important 2 or 3. And, of course, feel free to add your own.
LIST OF VALUES
Abundance

Acceptance

Accountability

Achievement

Advancement

Adventure

Advocacy

Ambition

Appreciation

Attractiveness

Autonomy

Balance

Being the Best

Benevolence

Boldness

Brilliance

Calmness

Caring

Challenge

Charity

Cheerfulness

Cleverness

Community

Commitment

Compassion

Cooperation

Collaboration

Consistency

Contribution

Creativity

Credibility

Curiosity

Daring

Decisiveness

Dedication

Dependability

Diversity

Empathy

Encouragement

Enthusiasm

Ethics

Excellence

Expressiveness

Fairness

Family

Friendships

Flexibility

Freedom

Fun

Generosity

Grace

Growth

Flexibility

Happiness

Health

Honesty

Humility

Humor

Inclusiveness

Independence

Individuality

Innovation

Inspiration

Intelligence

Intuition

Joy

Kindness

Knowledge

Leadership

Learning

Love

Loyalty

Making a Difference

Mindfulness

Motivation

Optimism

Open-mindedness

Originality

Passion

Performance

Personal Development

Proactive

Professionalism

Quality

Recognition

Risk Taking

Safety

Security

Service

Spirituality

Stability

Peace

Perfection

Playfulness

Popularity

Power

Preparedness

Proactivity

Professionalism

Punctuality

Recognition

Relationships

Reliability

Resilience

Resourcefulness

Responsibility

Responsiveness

Security

Self-control

Selflessness

Simplicity

Stability

Success

Teamwork

Thankfulness

Thoughtfulness

Traditionalism

Trustworthiness

Understanding

Uniqueness

Usefulness

Versatility

Vision

Warmth

Wealth

Well-being

Wisdom

Zeal


Now, after you group them together and combine them into a few core values, congratulate yourself on a job well done. Even if you've successfully buried your feelings for as long as you can remember, your core values will still give you a tingle. Pay attention to it.
Step Three: So what?

Why is it important to know your core values? Your core values are already directing your thoughts and actions. If you're not aware of why you're doing something, it's really easy to get off track. Imagine going to the grocery store without a list of the things you need. When you get home, you've got some great stuff, but you're missing some of the things you need to make the dinner that you really want. So you make do with what you have... Dinner is ok, but you're still not satisfied. Can you see where I'm going with this? Your core values are the key ingredients to your sense of fulfillment.

You need to know your values in order to have a life, or a business, that gives you what you need.

And once you have what you need, you can help others get what they need.

And that sounds really satisfying.

And while we're all waiting for that to happen, use your core values consciously to guide your decisions.
Recognize them, nurture them, and live them. Everyone will profit.
In other words, working with a company whose values are similar to your values makes you more productive, and the company more profitable.

If you've ever found yourself in the opposite situation, you're not alone. One of my core values is autonomy. To me, micromanagement is like having someone stand on my face. And then demand that I stay later to endure it. But, I digress...
Takeaways:
  • Your core values are what will differentiate your business from the competition.

  • People naturally gravitate to their own ideals. By acting in sync with your core values, you will attract people with similar beliefs--employees and customers. These are the people you want to be around! These are the people that will push your business forward in a fulfilling and profitable way.

  • When you use your core values to guide you and to make decisions, they will lead you to the place that you want to be, even when you're not sure where that is.

Have a question about brand identity or visual content?
keith@notanasno.com
+1 214 702 3982
5118 Live Oak St #210, Dallas TX 75206, USA
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