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Blog : Do you abide by your personal values?


Do you abide by your personal values?

You may do the same job as your colleague, live in the same area as your neighbour or follow the same religion as your preacher but the chances are you have made completely different choices leading to that point. To make these choices in an informed and emotionally intelligent way it’s essential to know your personal drivers and motivators, this is why our values are so important to us.

Knowing what you value offers the ability to not only make the right decisions, but the best decisions for your career, health and interpersonal relationships. It’s important that you live and work in an environment and with people that are in harmony with your personal values, because value mismatch is a key reason for unhappiness.

‘Make sure the work you do and where you do it is always aligned with your own values. You can compromise for a while, but sustained conflict will burn you out/make you ill/depressed/unhappy’.
- Jane Sunley, It's Never OK to Kiss the Interviewer

Too often, however, people are not fully aware of what their values are. They may have a gut feeling, though could they recite these like they may their company values? Perhaps not. One way to help decipher is through the values elicitation process. This encourages an individual to list as many values that they think are important to them and then compare those until they end up with a list of prioritised values for example freedom, respect, adult-to-adult communication. It’s completed manually, using a paper-based system and can be tedious to do. To tackle this, one of my recent projects for Purple Cubed was to take the manual process and transform it into a simple, yet effective, online tool called ‘eValue’ which automates the process; making it easier and more enjoyable for the individual.

By using this tool the individual selects between 15 and 30 values from a mixture of pre-selected criteria and their own custom ones. They then sort their values by selecting the one which is most important to them during a series of value comparisons, resulting in a list of prioritised values.

These are then split into three sections:

  • Top five priorities: Essential for on-going happiness, satisfaction and wellbeing
  • Long term priorities: Also important and should be worked towards in the long term
  • Nice to have: Further down on the list of priorities, but should be taken advantage of when opportunities arise

Before I used the tool I didn’t know what my personal values were, although I knew the aspects of my life and work I enjoyed doing. After five to ten minutes using the tool I had a list of prioritised values that were personal to me, and will help influence me in future decision making. My highest priority value came out as ‘Feedback’, followed by ‘Creativity’, ‘Relationships’, ‘Integrity’ and ‘Variety’. Looking back to previous decisions I’ve made and the work I have carried out recently, I can say these couldn’t be any more accurate.

When I took the time to compare my personal values to our company values it showed five out of the eight company values actually featured within my top fifteen personal values; explains why I’m happy and engaged in my role… as well as the work I do.

If you would like to use this tool to find out your personal values then click here

If you only do three things:
1. Set aside some quality ‘me time’ to go through the ‘eValue’ tool
2. Take your top five personal values, compare them to your company’s values and see how they align
3. Do this exercise every year or two because your priorities will change as you progress

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