The Heart of Decision Making – By John C. Maxwell
As followers of Christ, I’m sure most of us have thought about our values. But what about as businesspeople? Organizational values often are given in a mission statement. But, as Ken Blanchard says, “Lots of companies claim they have a set of core values, but what they mean is a list of generic business beliefs that everyone would agree with, such as having integrity, making a profit and responding to customers. Such values have meaning only when they are further defined in terms of how people actually behave and are rank-ordered to reveal priority.”
I cannot tell you what your values are, but I encourage you to reflect on what is most important to you and your organization. Your value statements should come from the heart, appeal to your best instincts, be unique to you and your organization, give clear direction and have staying power.
Roy Disney said, “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Once you commit your value statements to writing, they will begin to provide a foundation from which you can make decisions. You can measure your growth and guide your actions by:
- Learning and articulating your organization’s values. Take time to develop a clear mission statement and learn it. Once you know the values that direct your organization, start articulating these values through your actions. We teach what we know; we reproduce what we are.
- Comparing values to practices. Your values should be reflected in your daily interactions with customers, team members and vendors. Don’t wait for a crisis before you start practicing your values. If your values and practices don’t match, change one or the other.
- Practicing the organization’s values as a team. Get your team involved. Look for ways your current projects can reflect or maintain the values of the organization. By sharing the value statements, your team will become more defined.
- Highlighting when values are being practiced. Look for opportunities to publicly recognize team members who live the values. Reward their commitment to following the vision and values of the organization.
- Making the organization’s values public and giving the team a reputation to uphold. It is easy to cheat on a diet if you don’t tell others that you are trying to eat more healthfully. But when you start telling people your goals, you become more committed to achieving them. Let people know what your organization stands for, and create a sense of responsibility.
Scott Peck says, “When we love something, it is of value to us, and when something is of value to us, we spend time with it, time enjoying it and taking care of it.” By taking time to list, learn and practice your values, you will be prepared to take on challenging decisions. Your values, whether personal or as defined by the group, act as a guide and make it easier to choose your way. If you know your values, most of your decisions have been thought through before you have to make them.
Dr. John C. Maxwell, known as America’s authority on leadership, speaks in person hundreds of thousands of people each year. He is the author of more than thirty books, including The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, which has sold more than a million copies.