Some organisations are probably guilty of misusing the concept of “values”, with their list of values not always reflecting employee and customer lived experiences. So, let’s reflect on this:
Q: What are my thoughts about my organisation’s stated values?
Q: How do my personal values align or diverge?
Q: How might any alignment or misalignment influence my leadership and decision-making?
Q: What other beliefs and assumptions shape how I lead?
Tom’s Reflections on These Questions
Who you are matters.
We all know we don’t wipe the slate clean when we come into work. In truth, who we are and how we see the world heavily influences how we relate to others and how we make decisions.
To my mind, the term values is simply code for our core beliefs – those parts of our worlds we hold most dear. Those outlooks and behaviours we would like to promote because we feel strongly about them.
And yet, this is a layered conversation.
A quick corporate workshop on values will probably hit the lower layers – drawing out those core narratives we collectively feel would make the company more profitable or, if you are lucky, a better place to work and do business.
Beyond this, there are a host of further layers to explore around who is truly answering these questions and what this “person” truly believes and how those beliefs align with the group’s.
In working with a client recently around improving one-on-ones with a particular manager and more broadly with the whole management team, it became clear that whenever issues arose with the individual it was because there was an unacknowledged conflict of values between the two.
They simply didn’t see the world in the same way. This led back to the need for clarity around shared values and ground rules governing particular types of conversations. It also opened the door to the possibility that the manager in question wasn’t the right fit for the management team.
In many ways, the “I” we call “I” only truly exists in other people’s company, so it is natural for our values to be somewhat fluid as we move from group to group. We will clearly find groups to which we do not want to belong, but it may be more productive to reflect on what your values are in your current group rather than endlessly looking to define a master list of values.
You will naturally have somewhat different values with your family than at work. Another way of approaching this is perhaps looking for the outliers and asking: “Does this person have any values that will harm the group?” Just a thought!
The Curious Leaders programme is designed to foster a deep sense of curiosity about who you are as a person and as a leader. It challenges you to reflect on what you can do each day to become a more effective leader. The premise is that before we can truly lead others, we first need to lead ourselves.
It thus ultimately starts with self-leadership. This is about building a practice of reflection and action whereby we become increasingly curious about how our thinking is impacting our actions. This is the first step in building a world in which curiosity shapes leadership.
In this world, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning. In truth, nurturing curiosity in leadership is essential if we are to address the key challenges of the 21st century.
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