We make choices every day. Some of the choices I made early in my career were failures, while others were not. Both helped me get to where I am today. But what drives our decision making? Many times, it is influence, the people around us, the season we are in, and short/long term goals. However, the common thread for all of our decisions come down to our core values which is our belief! Last week, Melanie Shaffer, CEO Talent Suite was a guest on my podcast, Life in the Leadership Lane. When I asked her “what energizes you” in her career, she shared that she gets energized by living her core values every day. What are her core values? She has narrowed them down to her top two – excellence and collaboration and she gets energized to live them in her daily work. It was inspiring and energizing the hear this perspective. You can watch the full interview “Life in the Leadership Lane” Episode 30 or listen here .
This took me back to 1998 as a young manager sitting in a training session and the trainer asked everyone to select our top five most important values. I was young and unsure about how to rate my values, but what got my attention is when the trainer asked everyone to raise their hand if “integrity” was number one on the list. I wasn’t really sure about the value of integrity at the time, heck I wasn’t sure what it even meant. But what I do know is that I watched ALL of the top leaders in the room raise their hand when asked about integrity as being the most important value… That day, I knew the importance of core values and more importantly, the value of integrity. I also share this story to remind us that people are watching!
Today, I include my core values in everything I do. I have many that include relationships, encouragement, achievement, inclusion, collaboration, compassion, and more… But my top 2 are integrity and continuous improvement. This is what energizes me. I have these values listed in my goal setting and business planning to remind me to look at it often. Years ago, I read the book “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown and she shared that we should all narrow down our core values to our top two, so that when someone asks, we should be able to easily know and share these values. Do you know your top 2?
There is also a great book called, Values Inc by Dina Dwyer Owens that talks about the importance of leading with values. I saw Dina speak at the HRSouthwest Conference in Fort Worth several years ago and she was fantastic. You can check out her book here.
One of my favorite moments in my career as Chairman of the DallasHR Board of Trustees was being part of our core values design team. We went through a yearlong exercise to select the five most important values in our organization. It was long, and sometimes exhausting, but we wanted to do what it took to get it right. When I see it posted on the walls as you walk into the office, it reminds me of the importance of the time we invested in the process and makes me even more proud of the organization. This is also energizing.
Our values not only drive decisions each day, but they also make our choices easier in our every day.
Our company, Armstrong Relocation and Companies also uses core values to drive decision making in all areas of our company. We call them our DNA elements and starts with Unity – We are better together. You see, they may not be called “core values”, but you will recognize them because they are our beliefs, they drive decision, and ultimately drive culture! We have them at our companies, but we need to have them in our personal life too…
The key to leading with values is making sure both your personal core values and company core values are all in alignment, which will drive your energy to new levels in the workplace every single day!
So, what are your values? Have you narrowed them down to 2? Share below!
Quote of the Day: “The work I am doing lets me live my two core values every single day.” -Melanie Shaffer, CEO Talent Suite on Life in the Leadership Lane podcast episode 30!
Call to Action: Make a list of values. Circle your top 10, then top 5, then narrow down to your top 2. Post on your wall, in your journal and everywhere so they remind you every day of what is most important to you… Then you will be ready to share your top 2 when asked!
Need some help ? Check out these 50 values shared on James Clear website!
This has been A Relocation Minute on “Leading with values” with Bruce Waller, for more information, call