Balancing your Values

This week I’ve asked my friend and colleague Dave Clare from Australia to be my guest blogger to showcase his expertise in leadership. Dave has a great leadership style and instills humor in all he does! Dave is a sought out speaker, author, and coach. Advice from down under….it doesn’t get any better than this! Dave, Thanks, Mate!


For those of us Business people who are parents out there, you might relate to this.

As a parent, the first real things we want to start teaching our kids are honesty, responsibility, being polite, and so on. We want to teach them these things, or values, so they learn how to integrate into society in a productive and meaningful way. What we know about human behaviour is that “How I think determines how I act”. We help ingrain this thinking (conditioning) so they learn how to behave, not so much for when we are around, but more so for when we are not around.

These are the default values. They are not what makes us unique as individuals, but the foundation or price of entry of an integrated society. As we grow and experience life, we find our uniqueness of thought, the things that become important to us when deciding on how we want to live our lives, not as previously according to other people’s rules.

Well, the same goes in organisations. Developing values for your business helps to empower (not just a buzz word) your team to know how to behave when you, the leader, are not around. Values are the first decision-making filters for an organisation. They are the “This is the thinking that makes” uniqueness of your business

This is one of the most common things I get asked about, values. When this happens, the first thing I do is ask the leader what the core values of their business are. The conversation goes something like this:

ME: What are your core values?

BOSS: Umm, I think one is…

ME: Stop. You don’t have core values. If you as the leader don’t know what they are, what they mean and what behaviours they should guide…then YOU DON’T HAVE CORE VALUES!

Let’s get clear about a few things first. Values aren’t just posters or marketing placards for your office lobby decorations, they are supposed to be filters to make focused and quality decisions on things that are worthwhile to your organisation. Secondly, did you know that Enron had “Honesty & Integrity” as part of their core values? Well, all those dudes are all in jail. If you have honesty and integrity and all the other corporate motherhood values, that’s great (price of entry stuff), but ask yourself “Is this level of thinking what makes our business unique?”

Jack Delosa, Founder of The Entourage calls it “Bottling magic”. How do you bottle the magic of the early days and the uniqueness of thought you had when you started to build your business? Therein lies your real unique values that will guide your decision making as you grow your business…

Dave Clare, Leader for a new generation.

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