The first time I did any work with my personal values was in 2007, as part of an organizational leadership 360 assessment process and organization development effort conducted by a consultant certified in the Barrett Values Centre Culture Transformation Tools (a tool I eventually received my certification in as well.) The process opened my eyes to the power of discussing values on a personal and organizational level.
As part of that assessment, I had to identify my top 10 most closely held values. This was the list I came up with at the time (in no particular order):
• balance (home/work)
I did a deeper dive into my values in 2010 during a Velocity workshop. Using their trademarked prioritization process, I identified my six most closely held core values and defined what they meant to me. I had these posted in my office for more than a year:
Recently, I conducted a session on personal values and the ways we bring our values to work for the organizational effectiveness team of which I am a part. After that session, I realized my list of core values had evolved (they tend to do that as we grow, evolve and have different life experiences) and decided it was time for a revisit. It took quite a bit of inner debate and really considering what is MOST important to me, but in the end I came up with the following:
If you are interested, you can take this free personal values assessment from the Barrett Values Centre, which will provide you with not only a list of your values but a report highlighting the impact of those values across various levels of consciousness and some worksheets for further exploration.
I also found the criteria included in this document from the Mason Law Group in California helpful when narrowing down and getting to root of my top core values:
“Core values are essential, universal, and personal. They are essential because it feels as though you cannot live without them. For example, if respect is one of your core values and you are told that respect will never happen, ever, you would say, ‘Then what is the point of life?’ It is so fundamental; life would be meaningless without it.
Universal means that your core values apply everywhere, all the time. No matter where you are or when it is, your core values are important. This is what separates core values from other important values. This is true whether you are at home, at work or in line at the movie theater…
They are personal because they are based on your life experience. If you and a coworker both have a core value of respect, you would each describe it differently. This is because you have different life experiences and thereby different definitions…”
Being aware of your own values, and working to understand the values of those you live and work with, can help you understand what drives people’s behaviors, enhance your communication and improve your relationships.