“Value-led”, “value-driven” – I’m sure we have all seen a number of claims to be whatever this means by individuals or by organisations. It’s one of those terms that feels a bit “meh” and meaningless. Management-speak bingo cards at the ready. However, feeling out of sync with the values of an organisation is a top reason why people think about leaving. (That and poor management, but that’s a whole other story).
My values include authenticity and continual learning. So working somewhere where the culture was to be “economical with the truth” or where there was no opportunity for development or learning new things would ultimately make me feel rubbish. And when I’m feeling rubbish I am unlikely to be working effectively. I’m likely to be using up energy “fitting in” rather than using it in doing my job.
When coachees aren’t sure whether they want to change direction, we often end up talking about values and sometimes it’s the first time people have talked about them. There’s a number of ways to tease out your values, including thinking about how you’d like to be talked about at your leaving speech.
I also use a list of commonly expressed values and ask people to quickly pick 10 (the hardest part of this is not overthinking it!) and then to imagine they can only take 3 with them to identify the most important. We can then think about how much those values are allowed to shine through in their current career, and what the alternatives might be. Often, a big change isn’t needed – maybe asking for a different role would allow a better alignment. But sometimes there are things that just can’t be resolved, and it’s useful to be armed with an understanding of your own values when you are looking for new opportunities.