Turning off the autopilot
I was recently working with an organization to identify their values. Some would say that values are yesterday’s news, a 1990’s activity for an organization to do. Others would argue that listing values becomes another exercise that gets posted on the break room wall and ignored. I would argue that remembering values is something that should be done daily: we, as individuals and organizations, must intentionally choose to act from our values.
When we interact with each other, with those who purchase our services, with our friends and families, when we make decisions, when we innovate and create new opportunities, the question is: Does that fit with one or more of our values? Or not …?
I challenge all of us not to confuse values with priorities or with our core business philosophy. Values don’t change easily. My values include trust, honesty, integrity, kindness, and positive action. I seek to act based on those values. Values provide an underlying framework, supporting the systems that make up our more visible maps of the world or mental models.
To spend time identifying and make values visible, is to choose to act consciously. It is to choose to turn off the autopilot and check our systems, decisions, and actions to make certain we are acting in concert on our journey.
Here’s a short exercise to try: After your next meeting, spend five minutes considering which of your values you saw on display? Which values of your organization did you see represented? Try the exercise after your next decision or your next conversation. Are the values the ones you expected to see?