I am puzzled that so few people can describe the values that guide their daily actions. Think about it. These are the fundamentals that help you become successful as an innovation leader or intrapreneur as well as in personal life. No doubt some of you have spent time helping your company define its core values, which, if followed, will drive the organization toward success. Doesn’t it make sense to also define the core values that will also impel you to success? I want you to think more about this and start working on developing a better understanding of your values.
We all have values, whether we are consciously aware of them or not. Values are traits, qualities or beliefs that we find valuable. Personal values are also implicitly related to choice; they guide your decisions by allowing you to compare the associated value of each choice.
I find this useful in this world of ours where we often seem to be condemned, rather than blessed, by choices. This is perhaps particularly true for people working in the field of innovation, which can be likened to the candy store of the corporation. With so many exciting and appetizing choices in front of you, how will you know what to choose if you aren’t prepared to make values-based decisions?
Let me share my personal values with you. They are passion, trustworthiness, integrity and the willingness to help others. I need to be passionate about what I am doing as I believe this is the only way to become very good at what I am doing and to continuously enjoy what I do over the years. Passion makes things so much easier as you become more engaged and effective when you do things you really love to do. Hopefully, these things also have a financial potential. I really try to find the passion in whatever I do.
Trustworthiness is important to me as I want to build relationships with people whom I can trust and have them trust me. Of course, this is a two-way function that is often forgotten by some people. In the long run, people who aren’t trustworthy do not achieve success in either their business or personal lives.
Integrity is hard to describe and yet quite simple. The dictionary’s primary definition for integrity is the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards. But two secondary definitions are also informative: Integrity is the state of being complete or undivided and or the state of being sound or undamaged. Taken as a whole, these three definitions indicate that if we act with integrity, we will be whole and sound.
How does one put this into action? This is where I use my stomach and gut. If I really try to feel something, then I know what the right answer is or what the right thing to do is. Does a given thing feel right in my stomach? Can I feel the passion in myself and among the other people involved? Is there a strong element of trust involved? If not, I walk away. Intuition, which is interconnected with integrity, can be trained so try to trust your intuition more often. Integrity comes when you are committed to follow this gut feeling. Not just once in a while and not always (no one is perfect) but very close to always. I believe integrity has become necessary to survive in a world that is becoming so small while presenting more options than ever.
The willingness to help and be there for others is a double-edged sword for me. I live this value out to a very high extent in my business life. I always try to help others without expecting anything in return. I have learned this works well in the long run, and it cannot be separated from my networking mindset. In my personal life this is more complicated. I know I can give more to people in my close circle but sometimes I just don’t. Perhaps I feel more comfortable with my family and friends so I do not have to make the same effort. Perhaps I have used all my mental capacity for this value at work. I sense this is a mistake, and I am working to correct this.
I believe you can only be successful in the long run if you know your values and if you know what really matters to you. Furthermore, you need to live in a way that is consistent with your values. By sharing my values, I hope I can inspire you to start thinking about your own values.