By Jim Clemmer
Professional Services | Bookstore | Practical Leadership Blog
"If the 'Know Thyself' of the oracle were an easy thing, it would not be held to be a divine injunction." — Plutarch
Effectively using values to care for the context and provide focus to a team or organization has two major steps: 1) clarifying and prioritizing shared values; 2) living and behaving according to those aspirations. Both can be very difficult leadership acts.
Here are some ways to clarifying and prioritizing shared values:
Your team's shared values should represent a blend of those principles from your past that you want to preserve and the beliefs that your team will need to share as you look to your preferred future. Looking at the past respects and builds on your organization's heritage, successes, and strengths. It helps to turn resistance to change into confidence and energy for facing the future. To look at future values, you're examining the underside of your team or organization's vision. To make the picture of your preferred future a reality calls for a different set of priorities about what's really important.
Debating and developing your core values should follow the development of your shared vision. Values clarification can be a painful process. But it doesn't have to be long and drawn out. If you have a skilled facilitator lead you, it's common to have a rough version of your team's shared values words or short phrases within a few hours. That's because shared values aren't created they're uncovered or articulated.
As you try to articulate your espoused or aspired values, don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of "we're not living this way now so it can't be a value." Like visioning, you're trying to describe where you want to be. Once you know what you want to become, then you can work on making these lived values.