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Are You Viewing Your Business’s Values Through a Fuzzy Lens?
Recently I went on a two-day retreat with a bunch of leaders from a business I am involved with outside of my core business.
Our goal was to crystalise some aspects of the business growth that had been lagging and to flesh out how we could continue to grow, keeping the core values of the business front and centre. There was lots of talk around how the current market trend in bombardment marketing, heavy sales pitches and underwhelming value for money products was just not in alignment with these values. And, in line with this, the decision was taken that although our growth might be slower, we would not employ any tactics that might threaten the integrity of the values.
I was so inspired by our heartfelt discussion that it made me pause and wonder if I needed to take a hard look at some of the decisions I had made or been thinking of making within my primary business. I decided to take a look with a ‘hot wax strip’ reveal of what the drivers were for some of my decisions; you know you put the hot wax strip on, and it feels warm and comforting but then you rip it off, and all heck breaks loose.
In truth, a part of me was a little nervous at what I might find. Happily, or unhappily depending on your perspective, I came across some things I guess I would not have seen if I had not taken this time for reflection.
Knowing my core values, to begin with, made this ‘dissect my decision’ project easier but in many ways more confronting.
If I had never determined my values, I might have squirmed my way out of this. But no, armed with my values list which includes connection, communication and contribution, I was not to be deterred. Sure enough, with a bit of pulling up of my big girl pants, I found evidence of some true values wobble and in more than one instance; I wasn’t happy.
What happened next was downright silly, depending on how you look at it. I decided to extend the pain, not just a half leg wax but the full Brazilian! I realised if I am not living my values 100% within my business there is a high likelihood that I might be wobbly in other areas of my life as well. I looked further. Low and behold it became very evident that as I succumbed to the gentle erosion of wants versus needs a certain ‘softening’ of these values could be traced through other areas of my life. A similar type of softening, that fuzzy lenses give the lines on our face so we can delude ourselves that we aren’t getting older; a kind of conscious denial of the obvious. Yep, we can ‘fuzzy’ our values as well it turns out.
Indeed, as I got fuzzy in one area of my life, it showed up elsewhere. My connection to my loved ones suffered because I let my communication slip. My willingness to contribute to those around me lessened as I made my ‘wants’ and ‘desires’ more valuable. Interestingly my core values are also my highest needs so as they slipped a quiet internal discontent began to brew that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. And now it was exposed.
Whilst slightly horrified at this result, my first response is generally, curiosity. I find asking myself questions has always opened up great spaces for ideas and further creativity.
I asked a few questions of myself; you might like to use these if you are so inclined:
- Is this (any) decision in alignment with my values?
- What have I stopped doing/giving/receiving in my business that somehow gives me permission to operate on less than my highest values?
- What have I made more valuable than my values to get to this point/choice/decision?
- What might be the best ‘red flag’ I could put in place to check myself?
It helped to do this. I am heartened to find myself reflecting more often on my values list when decisions come up. Not just the big decisions, but also the little decisions that lead to the big ones, so the gentle erosion; that slight wiggle that can become a wobble gets noticed and assessed.
I encourage you to do a full values assessment. Get rid of that fuzzy lens so you can see and choose clearly fully aligned with your values.
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