Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you, but I felt it was important you know that everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - can see your values.
Values, by definition, are the things you believe that are so completely important to you and to the way you view the world, they actually drive the way you act. They are the things you believe – no matter what.
And there is no hiding them, especially when you are a leader or an organization. They are on display for all to see, so you better make sure the things you actually hold as values are in alignment with the things you say you value.
Most leaders claim lofty values that sound really impressive. For example, if a leader says they value “quality” but then choose to cut back on expenses by using a cheaper, less effective material, those around them will conclude that the leader does not value quality as much as they value the bottom line.
If a leader claims they value “collaboration,” but then does not respect others' opinions or suggestions, their team will deduce that “control” is more valuable to their leader than “collaboration.”
A mentor of mine once said, “Your walk talks, and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” I realize that sounds like a lot of walking and talking, but hang in there with me.
Your walk talks,
And your talk talks,
But your walk talks louder
than your talk talks.
Translation? The cliché “actions speak louder than words.” Strong leaders and strong brands live relentlessly by their values. The alignment of their actions with their words builds credibility and trust with those around them. They become wonderfully predictable to their employees and their customers, because the values they publically claim play such a consistent, vital part in their decision-making.
Alignment of actions to words is not just important for the sake of one’s reputation, it is also a vital part of a persons self-perception. Deep down, the things you value are also the measures you use to determine whether or not your life is a success.
So how about you? What is your 'walk' showing others that you value? Is it the same as what you say you value?
Here's a tip: Take time to write your values down, along with behaviors that reinforce and detract from them. So you'll have clear, measurable ways to tell if you are living them out day to day.
See what Don Soderquist has to say about values in his book, Live, Learn, Lead. Download the first two chapters for free!