Values are what make us who we are. They are the compass guiding everything we do – our choices and our actions. When we forget that compass, we take the wrong turn.
It’s the same for our families, for our communities, for the world.
Our values show us the way.
How important are your values and how do you communicate them?
She has shared her thoughts on values and their importance. You can find her on Twitter @MagmaEffect and I recommend following her if you’re interested in this topic and want to find out more.
I had the pleasure of working with Jackie earlier this year when I was examining my personal brand. I found working with her enlightening and incredibly useful to help me articulate and understand my values.
I’m going to point you towards resources to help you prepare for World Values Day on 19 October 2017, including seven things you can do between now and then.
How to prepare for World Values Day
“Marketers are starting to realise that above all, a social media message needs to stay on target – to the intended audience, to the brand’s values.”
So says a Harvard Business School Working Knowledge article entitled “ ‘Likes’ Lead to Nothing – and Other Hard-Learned Lessons of Social Media Marketing” which was published on 18 September 2017.
Interviewing four leading thinkers in this arena a number of common big mistakes are highlighted including prioritising technology over substance, inappropriate messaging and failing to understand how quickly things can go wrong.
Their big take home message? Authenticity wins.
In response to the challenge of authenticity, allow me to share who I am and why I am here at All Things IC at this moment in time.
I specialise in working with values; individual, collective and corporate values.
I started out in the field of conservation, first as a hands on zoologist with chimpanzees, moved through a number of other roles which were all essentially communications focussed, finally setting out in 2004 to ‘paddle my own canoe’ as my Dad would have said.
The power of values
Values are powerful in part because as human beings we all have them so they can be unifying.
However, because they are also deeply felt, emotionally rich, big ideas that we use to create our personal sense of meaning and purpose at this point values can become deeply divisive.
For example I place a very high priority on both the values of ‘collaboration’ and ‘simplicity’. There is someone I work with from time to time who also values ‘collaboration’ (which is where we get on famously) and who also values ‘hierarchy/protocol’ (which is where we lock horns).
For them there is a right way that does things properly, for me there is a simple way which bypasses (in my view) unnecessary steps or checks and balances that make poor use of time and other limited resources.
Because I am consciously connected to my values in my practice I can explain to people how I work and why I work that way, making my approach transparent and easier to understand for others.
Also because I know that my rising sense of frustration at another suggestion of yet more ‘guidance notes’ is just my simplicity value getting ready to rumble, I can nip this (unhelpful) rant in the bud and remind myself I am ultimately wanting to collaborate and choose a different response: much more constructive and, importantly, no less authentic.
All pretty straightforward?
Well yes and no.
The wrinkle is in actually knowing and being able to articulate what your values are or what the values of your company/service/brand are in the first place.
Values are abstract constructs – ideas – which either paint a picture of how we want the world to be (goals) or prioritise certain ways of doing things to that end (means).
Values have been part and parcel of what it is to be human for hundreds of thousands of years.
Values sit in the limbic area of the brain, below the pre-frontal cortex seat of logic and rationality, in a place where thoughts are processed in feelings not words: thoughts can be fleeting while often feelings persist.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou
As communicators we invest huge amounts of energy and attention in the words we select and sequence yet what lasts is the emotional impact created and that is down to values.
Back in May 2017 Rachel published a blog called “How to communicate your personal brand”. In that great open and candid way of working of hers Rachel invited people on Twitter to define ‘personal brand’.
Among the replies came “Actually living your values” from @Hallmeister and from @martinlieberman “It’s the impression you leave people with after they interact with you in some way”. Rachel’s experience of wrestling with her individual values to find how best to express her personal brand is why I am here now sharing these thoughts.
Audiences everywhere form a view of a brand, be that personal or corporate, whether we like it or not and the way they do it is through the filter of their own values which we cannot control. What we can do is consciously connect with our values and then live them consistently, coherently and transparently to reinforce “the way we want to be seen” (@marcelkl).
Interested but unsure where to begin?
Help is at hand. It is the run up to the second World Values Day on 19 October 2017 and there are lots of resources on www.worldvaluesday.com – you could get involved as an individual or persuade your organisation to take up the Values Challenge.
— World Values Day (@ValuesDay) September 25, 2017
Want to go deeper? Drop me a line and I’ll be happy to suggest some options.
“A leader will find it difficult to articulate a coherent vision unless it expresses their core values, their basic identity. One must first embark on the formidable journey of self-discovery in order to create a vision with authentic soul” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Post author: Jackie Le Fevre.
Want to prepare? Here are seven things you can do:
- Check out the World Values Day website and follow them on Twitter @ValuesDay
- Take the World Values Day challenge
- Download the World Values Day Guide for Organisations
- Have a conversation with your manager or mentor/mentee about personal values
- Add values as a topic to your next team meeting – what do your peers think of your company values? Is there an integrity gap (between what you say and do)?
- Browse articles from the All Things IC blog (below) to read how others communicate their values
- Read some books on values. Here are three recommended by the team at World Values Day: Coaching with Values, Lindsay West, Conscious Capitalism, John Mackey and Raj Sisodia and From My Heart, Transforming Lives Through Values, Dr Neil Hawkes.
I’ve saved you searching, here are some posts from my blog archive:
- Putting patients at the HEART of everything we do – published 2017
- How a brand is star trekking its brand values – published 2016
- Why organisations need to live their values – published 2012
- How to communicate your personal brand – published 2017
- How to communicate the DNA of an organisation – published 2013
- When two become one – building a single culture – published 2016.
Thank you for stopping by,
First published on the All Things IC blog 26 September 2017.