Knowing Your Values Simplifies Decisions

May 21, 2020

What do you stand for? What do you believe in? What are your non-negotiables?

Knowing your values — and communicating them to your team — simplifies the decision-making process in your business. It makes it easier for you to make decisions, and it empowers your staff to make decisions without you when necessary.

If, for example, safety is non-negotiable — as it is for us — then anything that threatens the safety of your students, staff, partners, or families is an automatic no. Easy decision. No discussion needed.

This is true for your personal values as well.

If you value honesty, then anything that will require you to tell a lie is an easy and automatic no.

Most people intrinsically know their personal values and don’t think much about them. It’s different with your business, though.

If you have staff that represents you and interacts with students, families, and business partners on your behalf, it’s important that they do so in a way that upholds your business values.

And for them to do this, they have to know what your values are. Everyone must be on the same page.

For example, my dance business has four core values:

  1. Excitement & Joy
  2. Connection
  3. Family
  4. Safety 

When something comes up that isn’t aligned with these values, it’s an easy no.

When your staff knows your values, it doesn’t just empower them to make decisions without you. It also lets you trust them to do so … knowing that it’s your stated values that are guiding them.

What are your core values?

Communicating the principles that help you determine right from wrong and that guide your decision-making isn’t always easy. I certainly didn’t sit down and write our own just off the top of my head. Sometimes it helps to look at a list to see which values resonate with you.

Here are a few from the list of core values at yourdictionary.com:

  • Dependability
  • Loyalty
  • Open-mindedness
  • Honesty
  • Creativity
  • Good humor
  • Motivation
  • Positivity
  • Passion
  • Respect
  • Service to others 

Look at other lists if these don’t seem quite right. Take time to think about it.

Most experts suggest defining a minimum of three and no more than seven business core values. Your initial list will almost certainly be much longer but keep at it until you can identify your most important, cornerstone values.

Your ONE THING

Here’s your ONE THING for this week: Identify and write down your core values — personal and/or business. If you already have them written down, go back and re-evaluate.

Don’t stress over choosing the perfect core values this week. You can … and you should … revisit them and update them as needed. Consider this week’s list your “first draft” if you need to, but put something in writing.

The written words have power. Writing your core values down will give them weight, and it will make it easier to communicate them to your team.

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