Peak Mind Pro: Empowering Workplaces through Shared Values

Jul 24, 2023
Empowering workplaces through shared values, image of a diverse group of workers smiling

You've probably heard of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. It's one of the most popular personal development books of all-time, and it has stood up well over the decades since its initial release. One of Covey's recommendations is to write and routinely review your Personal Mission Statement - a clear description of your vision, mission, and guiding principles. 

What Covey was advocating for is getting really clear on your values so that you can live by them. While he used different language to explain the rationale for this exercise, modern-day psychology agrees wholeheartedly on just how important doing this work is. 

 

A Quick Primer on Values

The easiest way to define values are ongoing ways of being and doing. Values are the answers to the questions:

  • Who do you want to be?
  • How do you want to be?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What matters to you? 
  • What's your why?

Think of values as your internal compass, pointing you in the right direction. In contrast, goals are "check-off-able" things that, hopefully, align to your values. East is a value whereas New York, London, Dubai, and Seoul are goals on that journey Eastward.

We probably don't need the copious amounts of published research to tell us that following our values is the path toward a good life, but we've got data galore linking values-based actions to better mental health and well-being. 

That's great on an individual level. Leaning on your values can help you be resilient in the face of challenge, persist when things are difficult, and stave off the ill effects of anxiety, depression, and burnout.

Values matter beyond the individual and are important for teams and organizations as well, assuming that employee engagement, well-being, and team cohesiveness are metrics that matter to you.

 

Walk the Talk

Remember the old adage actions speak louder than words. Giving lip service to organizational or team values isn't enough. You must walk the talk, from the top of the leadership hierarchy all the way down, and your culture must support doing so. Mixed messages - where you say one thing but do another - destroy moral and credibility. For example, if you tout innovation as a value, but failed attempts are criticized or punished rather than celebrated, you're giving a mixed a message. Similarly, if you purport that employee well-being is a value, but leaders send frequent after hour emails or workloads before and after vacations skyrocket, there's another mixed message.

Keep in mind that whenever there is a discrepancy between what we hold to be important (our values) and how we spend our time (our actions), the result is discord. Individually, that can feel like "inside ick" - anxiety, sadness, guilt, anger, despair, demoralization. On a systemic level, it fosters burnout and disengagement. 

Individuals and systems alike should take a page out Covey's book: clarify - then live by - your values. 

 

Actionable Tips

1. For leaders and managers, take the time to clarify your organization or your team's values. 

  • For smaller organizations or for teams, this can be done as a group, which will likely result in more ownership than simply being told what the values are. 
  • For larger organizations, involve the full leadership team in identifying and articulating organizational values, then work on communicating those values to everyone.
  • Peak Mind and a number of other consultants can guide impactful sessions to help you clarify and crystalize your team's values. 

2. Communicate about values often.

  • Post organization and/or team values all over the place.
  • Talk about values in meetings, especially if you can tie initiatives, activities, tasks, and goals to them.
  • Provide authentic recognition when you see someone embodying values.

3. Link day-to-day tasks to values.

  • As an individual, you will feel a greater sense of purpose, motivation, and engagement if you can tap into values. How do your energy and efforts demonstrate your values? How can you connect your tasks to what matters, either to you or your company? 
  • As a manager or leader, can you help connect the dots between routine tasks or activities and the organization's values or mission? Can you help your employees see why what they do truly matters, and not just because of its contribution to the bottom line? 

 

Additional Resources

For more information and inspiration, check out these blog posts:

Peak Mind Pro: Authentic Recognition

Which Is More Important, the Journey or the Destination?

Live Your Eulogy

Where Are You Going in Life?

 

And these podcast episodes:

Set Your Compass and Live a Life You Love

Values in Concept v. Values in Action

Create Your Own Micro-culture

 

"Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them." - Steven Covey  

 

 

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