What Are Your Values?

What Are Your Values?

By Dr. Deb Manning, PhD

Senior Strategist, SOLVE


Lately, I have been thinking a lot about values. Personal values, company values, how they show up at work, and what it means for us to truly live them out in all arenas that we enter. When I work with leadership teams to help them uncover the personal values that each team member has and then how they connect them to the organizational values that they are expected to uphold, one thing often becomes clear:  Sometimes we have values that are potentially at odds with one another and with those established by our organizations. Astute participants in these exercises sometimes also see this and ask me what to do about it? They are concerned that they cannot be fully authentic and at the same time be good ambassadors for their organizations.


I do not have an easy answer to that question, nor should I. The proverbial hills that each person will die upon are often expressed in moments of misunderstanding or conflict and sometimes, those conflicts are really important for organizations to consider and then work through. The end result may be that the list of organizational values are incomplete or outdated based on the collective values of those who lead the organization. It might also be a reckoning for individual leaders whose sense of purpose can only truly be fulfilled in a different role in a different place.


What I do know is that this exercise – of making explicit to the team what motivates the thinking and behaviors of those they labor alongside – is an incredibly important and insightful opportunity for building relationships and strengthening commitments to the mission and vision of organizations. The teams I have worked with often reflect on how powerful it felt to discuss how personal and organizational values connect to drive commitment to colleagues and customers alike, and how liberating it felt to be recognized by the team for the parts of their being that animate their lives from dawn to dusk, and year over year.


The session on core values was a great exercise for our team as we aligned our personal and professional core values, validating the importance of our work and how we show up. – Executive Director, Omaha Area Nonprofit


Do you know what your values are? Do you know how they connect to those on your team and to the organization you support? If you are unsure, send me a note – let’s talk about how we bring focus to this conversation for you and your team!