Values that inform my work

When I coach individuals or work with teams, I often offer an exercise where participants get to select values that matter to them from a deck of cards. Many of them easily choose up to ten. I then ask them to reduce those to the most important five – and those then to the most important three. People complain “that’s hard to do” – yet those final three tend to be the values that they will definitely never compromise on.

Here are mine:

Integrity and Trust – I find it hard to work with people whose integrity I doubt, and I assume it may be the same for you. Honesty matters, adhering to a code of values and acting in accordance with those agreed ethical principles. Showing relational conduct that is sustainable: including openness, fairness, trustworthyness, consistency, a degree of predictability, reliability. 

I can then trust somebody if I am convinced that that person always also has my best interest in mind. It’s as simple as that. Trust cannot be enforced; it needs to grow – and it needs to be mutual. I offer you that I will always have your best interest in mind, and that I work with what’s best for you, with integrity, openness and reliability, and without any hidden agenda.

Inclusion, Collaboration, and Co-Creation – It matters greatly to me to work in a certain way. That way is all about: Including people, making sure everybody is heard and really seen. Working together in a collaborative approach to find and implement solutions. Working in participative processes, to achieve joint creation and joint ownership.

Mutuality  – I find that no relationship of any kind can be satisfying if there isn’t sufficient mutuality offered. To me, this is so in personal relationships just as well as in professional connections. In the world of work, we need it between co-workers; between superiors and the people reporting to them; between organizations and their stakeholders. If one keeps giving and the other one does not reciprocate or reciprocates badly or insufficiently, the balance is off. I find it is important that we pay attention to always balancing out the mutuality account, in a positive and constructive way.

Last, but certainly not least, generosity matters greatly to me, and I am inspired by Winston Churchill’s quote:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”