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Your top three values must be present in your life to be fulfilled. Do you know what your values are? Music is a great example of harmony – when the strings are in harmony or in tune – the music sounds great. When no – it’s ‘bad cheese’.

An academic would say: “Values allow the members of an organization to interact harmoniously. Values affect their formation and development as individuals, and make it easier to reach goals that would be impossible to achieve individually.

For the well-being of a community, it is necessary to have shared rules that guide the behavior of its members, otherwise the community will not function satisfactorily for the majority.” Juan Carlos Jimenez

As a single Mom catching my young toddler randomly taking something from the grocery, I knew that he had not yet fully developed his value system. He was much clearer on the value of honesty after returning the item and apologizing to the cashier who gushed over his trustworthiness and returning the toy in the check-out isle. That led me on a values discovery journey where I decided as a family, our values were Love, Respect, and Honesty. Now, as young adults, they innately use these values as a sort of measuring stick to decide who to hang out with, who to date, and where to work. Listening to their values choices always makes me smile.

Values clash in the workplace is common. People come and go; company successes and failures produce a multitude of behaviors. Savvy employers show an increased effort to provide values surveys to their teams and discover what values are important to them. Sometimes, this process alone will drive employees to move on from the company, clear that their value system doesn’t fit in. This isn’t good or bad, it’s a natural human desire to want to resonate with the values of your Tribe.

If you’re not sure of your top 3 values, google a list and tick off the values that resonate with you. Then, cut in half, and in half again until you get down to your 3-5 core values. These are the values you must be allowed to express to be fulfilled.

I vote you spend your time in Tribes that celebrate your values.

Let’s hear about values from my deal colleague, Wendy, Coaching Executives to be Leaders.

When I start working with new clients, I often recommend an assessment to help us both achieve a greater understanding of their values. I explain the power of understanding values — which are intrinsic motivators driving the majority of my client’s life decisions. For most, our engagement is the first time they’ve considered their value motivators. Performing this exercise is enlightening, and evokes “ah ha” moments.

The client discovers why they do/don’t fit in culturally at their company and why they do/don’t get along with certain colleagues. Sometimes, clients discover deep internal conflicts playing out in their lives. Clients then begin to connect the dots between their motivators and their experience which allows them to understand how to leverage their values to create ideal situations moving forward.

The most common values conflict I see is people who have a high social value that work in an organization with a high profit value. People with a high social value have an intrinsic love of other people; they want to make a difference, relate to and help others, show empathy, and be supportive, etc. When my clients work in a company led by leaders whose primary motivator is profit at the expense of the community, a disconnect will likely occur.

My own personal values were tested a few years ago in the workplace, much like some of my clients. I found myself reporting to an executive with a low trust factor stemming from some early childhood experiences. At one point, she went so far as to say she doesn’t trust anyone, not even her own husband. The longer I worked for her, the more I started to see this lack of trust and experienced the effects in the way she ran her business. For example, she was a micro-manager. Nothing left the office, be it email, written correspondence, updates to the website, or coding of the software, without her approval.

Values are a fundamental aspect of discovering fit: in a career, in an industry, in a profession, and certainly in personal relationships. When you are clear on your values, you are better able to align yourself with the people and organizations who will help you be the best version of yourself.

I’d love to hear your values story – please share!

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