26 Oct The Magic of Personal, Family and Organizational Values
He who knows much about others may be learned,
but he who understands himself is more intelligent.
He who controls others may be powerful,
but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.
I have a beautiful handcrafted brass kaleidoscope that sits on the corner of my desk. It’s a metal tube about ten inches long, with a lens at either end. Attached to one end is a wire like cage in which I can place a marble.
Not just any marble: It has to be a large, semitransparent marble that, as children, we called a ‘‘boulder.’’ Boulders come in all designs, with swirls of bright colors trapped inside. Like snowﬂakes, each one is unique.
When I place a marble in the wire basket and hold it up to the light, I am greeted with a symmetrical explosion of color. When I rotate the marble, I can create what appears to be a limitless ﬂow of ever-changing patterns. But if I play with it long enough, I discover that what I thought were limitless possibilities are restricted by the design of the marble. The patterns shift and change, but only within the limitations of the colors in the marble.
If I want more patterns, I have to change the marble. New marble, new colors, new designs, new possibilities. But again, within what appears to be endless variety, I will ﬁnd limits. I view the marble as a representation of our values.
Values are our most uniquely individual beliefs about what is important. Values are the mental maps of the way we think things should be; they are our deepest convictions, our primary ﬁlter through which we view reality. They are the hard drive of our subconscious. Values are collective belief systems about good and bad, right and wrong. Values are a personal compass.
Values provide a framework for the decision-making process; without this framework, we lose conﬁdence. We’re unsure about the paths to choose.
Once you understand how values work, you will understand the true mechanism of motivation. Values determine how we respond to any and every experience in life. When our values are satisﬁed, we feel happy and fulﬁlled; when they are violated, we feel empty. If our goals and behavior are incongruent with our values, we experience inner conﬂict and stress. We procrastinate or overeat. We’re lazy, exhausted, angry, or sick.
Imagine that the marble represents the sum of your values, and for the moment pretend that the marble cannot be replaced. You can, however, rotate the marble to form different perceptions of your reality. Values shift with life experience, like the marble rotates, but the basic color and design are set in place.
Input began at a very early age, bringing together a combination of the environment in which you were raised and the reﬂected values of your parents. You were told what to do and not to do, what to say and not to say, what to believe and not to believe. If you did as you were told, you were probably rewarded; if not, you were probably punished. You adjusted, blending and molding to adapt.
In my childhood, the media presented heroes and role models, too. For me they were Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, the Cisco Kid, and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. Wrongs were righted. Good conquered evil. Good guys wore white hats and no one got killed. Many of my personal values as an adult reﬂect the values of these earlier television characters.
Understanding what you value most is essential in forming your Grand Vision of your life.
“UNCOVERING AND PRIORITIZING CORE VALUES
PROVIDES THE PLATFORM FOR MOTIVATION.”
-Quantum Leap Thinking: An Owner’s Guide to the Mind
A few years ago I was doing a presentation on empowerment for the upper management of a large telecommunications company. We were deep in discussion about resistance to the empowerment process when one of the participants piped up. ‘‘I believe in empowering our managers and most of our senior employees,’’ he said, ‘‘but we have some secretaries and clerks who are just plain lazy. They don’t care about their jobs. You can’t empower people who are completely unmotivated.’’ They’re unmotivated because they don’t care about their jobs. They don’t care about their jobs because they don’t think they matter.
What is often judged as laziness usually has nothing to do with being lazy. It is often the direct result of an employee’s belief that he or she doesn’t make a difference. The employee does not know how his or her job or a particular task contributes to the big picture. No amount of reengineering, down-sizing, or right-sizing will create a difference unless employees feel personally involved and unless what they value is acknowledged.
People do not go to work to fail.
—H. NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF, retired U.S. Army general
Let’s suppose that I am motivated by money. Why wouldn’t I assume that everyone is motivated by the same things I am? So, I try to motivate my employees with ﬁnancial incentives; or as a parent, I try to motivate my children with promises of a bigger allowance. If I don’t get the results I wanted, I think they are lazy or shiftless and treat them as such, and they react by acting that way.
Or maybe I consider myself an unsuccessful manager or a bad parent. My negative attitude and resulting behavior would reinforce negative performance from my employees or children. If you manage or communicate from your own values and assume you’re playing fair, you will very likely spend a lot of time feeling frustrated, bitter, angry, and betrayed.
If you learn to recognize and support the values of others, you’ll have happier and more fulﬁlled and committed friends, employees, associates, and family members.
People are motivated by values that may or may not coincide with yours. Take the time to discover, in a clear and precise way, your own and others’ most important personal core values. Align your values and your goals to make sure they are congruent, and then reinforce and nurture your most important values (your core values), and support and nurture by whatever means necessary the highest values in others.
Next time I will provide insight as to how to uncover yours and other’s values.
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