Always let your compass be your guide

Your values are your compass

Keeping in touch with your values is a lifelong exercise.’

If your vision is your goose-bump-giving, inspiring, picture of your future, and your plans are the route map to take you there, then what are your values?

The Dictionary defines values as… ‘principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life’.

For me, they are the compass that guides every decision, every action, and the way you behave every single day.

We all have values whether we recognise them as such, or not, and our life is much easier when we understand what they are and align our plans, decisions and behaviours with them.

For example, if you value family, but you work 70-hour weeks, you’ll feel internal stress and conflict. If you don’t value financial risk, you’re unlikely to start your own business.

Being clear about your values, helps you to make decisions and take actions that are fully aligned with them. When you’re in tune with your values, your gut will reflect them. Go against your gut and you might well be going against your values.

As you move through life, your values may change. For example, when you start out, success – measured by money and status – might be a top priority. But as you get older, perhaps after you have a family, you may value work-life harmony more.

Keeping in touch with your values is a lifelong exercise.

When thinking about what your values are, ask yourself:

  • How do I want my business, and the people in it to operate?
  • What are the principles I hold dear, that I won’t compromise, that I would like my business to be known for?
  • What are the qualities I aspire to – that I live my life by, and want my team to share?
  • How do I want to run my business?

Decide what’s important to you and how you’ll demonstrate it in your business, because what you do is a megaphone for what you believe in.  You may genuinely believe and therefore say, one thing, but your actions and behaviours may well be saying another.

Let me give you an example from a private client I worked with a while ago.. and the feedback I gave them, which illustrates the point.

‘You say that you want a quality operation, but your team believe that you won’t pay enough to bring in quality people.’

‘You say that you want a team that takes ownership for their role and how it is performed, but your team see you needing to be consulted on every decision, and keeping tight control.’

‘You say that you want a fast-paced organisation that grows at speed, but you over-analyse everything and take forever to make decisions.’

‘You make commitments – to have management team meetings, to install a reward scheme, and so on – but don’t stick to these commitments.’

‘You say that you value your people – but you cancel training sessions and team events’

‘You say that you value your clients and want them to have first class service – but you ignore customer feedback and seem accepting of failure to deliver on time.’

What you DO is a megaphone for what you believe in.

So what do you believe in? What would your team say you Value?

When asked this question, business owners will usually say things like honesty, integrity, customer focus, maybe fairness – clearly good values, but to be honest, these are standard principles that every business owner should live by. Business Values 101. The expected minimum.

Your values are all about you and the personality of your business – you’re going to hire team members who share those values – you’re going to attract customers who love your values. You want these values to inspire, to attract, to hold everything together.

A brand strategy business I know has the following as their values:

  • Build Inspiration
  • Dream Bigger
  • Embrace Quirky
  • Tell it like it is
  • Expand your world
  • Live the Brand

That’s who they are. That’s how they behave. Everything about their brand fits with these values.

So?  Who are you?

Do one thing: Work that out.  Then ask yourself, and your team, if your day to day behaviour reflects who you are and what you believe in.

Taken from Marianne’s new book Simple Logical Repeatable, coming soon to an Amazon near you!

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