Enjoy this excerpt from our new book, Healthy Leadership.
Benjamin Franklin addressed values-based decisions more than two centuries ago when he said, “We stand at a crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform.
“Each choice is made in the context of whatever value systems we have selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system, we are in a very real way making the most important choice we will ever make…” Franklin’s words still ring true.
Most of us have seen hundreds of sets of organizational and team values plastered on every imaginable surface. Yet all too often, those values are not embedded into daily work and decisions.
It’s easy to spot values-driven organizations by observing their decision-making processes. Rarely a day goes by without a decision being made that doesn’t explicitly relate to one of their values. Using your values to help make decisions clarifies the values for your team.
For example, a Fortune 1000 company made the decision to offer a richer benefits package that would provide employees more choices to meet varying personal needs. These new benefits came with a multimillion-dollar price tag.
The Board approved the plan based on the company’s core value of “respect for the individual.” They realized that the cost of not living their values was ultimately much greater than the cost of the new benefits.
If you don’t use your values as tools to guide your decisions and actions, then why have them? If you do not live and practice your team’s values, no one else will. So, as you are faced with decisions, use your values as a guidepost to determine your actions.
Making values-based decisions sends a strong message about your leadership. Take the time to communicate your values; allow your team to personalize them; and most importantly, live them. As a result, your team will work with clarity and alignment.