On the continuum of risk averse to risk seeker, I’m a risk taker when it comes to my phone. For years I’ve been carrying around a case-free phone enjoying the smooth, slim design that easily fits in my hand and slides into my pocket.
Then, I dropped it in some water and the speaker became muffled. A few months later it hit a tile floor and shattered the screen. Suddenly, the value I placed on its design failed under the test of the value I placed on its function.
When my phone was cracked it didn’t matter how clearly the person on the other end of the line was speaking or how well the video played, the message was lost in translation because my view was distorted.
Eventually, I replaced the phone, and this time I purchased a case. It’s a little bigger now and it doesn’t slide into my pocket as smoothly as it did before, but it’s better aligned with what I value. When our values are pressure tested, what we really value comes to the surface.
I’m a fan of defining values because they allow our behaviors to be aligned with our beliefs and thinking. Defining values is a good personal exercise and even more important for a group in order to define and maintain organizational integrity.
A FEW THOUGHTS ON VALUES:
- Values need to be named. It’s hard to intentionally live out something we can’t name. Can we personally name our values? Can our staff and volunteer teams name them?
- Values create a constant, regardless of the context. They help guide which things we will say yes to, and what we say no to. They give us courage to do what’s right over what’s easy.
- Values define how we behave. Sometimes we have to slow down to teach what comes second nature to us, especially to the team around us. They push us past the temptation to stay silent and comfortable.
When we find ourselves making decisions that feel tough, we have likely found ourselves in the value zone.
Like putting a case on a phone, defining values, communicating them, teaching the behaviors that go along with them, may slow us down for a little, but it will create integrity that will live beyond us.