Our values are only as strong as our conviction

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I value intelligence. I devour knowledge like I devour a fresh order of crispy, delicious fries. If a topic interests me I’ll turn over every stone to learn more. But I didn’t always have the courage to stand by that conviction. I was an honor roll student for the first 2 years of high school…and then I started to dumb down my intelligence, because being smart and being popular mixes about as well as Red Bull and milk. Brains weren’t respected in my school; a nonchalant attitude towards academics was. That and trendy shoes. If you answered a question right or scored well on a test and did all your homework (like I did), you were the target of ridicule. So despite my better judgment, I put less effort into my work and became an average student – and invisible.

This leads me to the interesting discovery I made when looking at data from our Values Profile. I focused my attention on people who are rated as top performers at work and people who are rated as poor performers, and then assessed their top 5 values. Much to my surprise, they were exactly the same (I actually went back to make sure I hadn’t coded something wrong). And then I dug, and discovered that despite sharing values, the poor performers scored significantly lower on the same values. For example:

  • Hard Work

Score for top performers: 81
Score for poor performers: 66

Those who value hard work put a great deal of effort into everything they do, and may often go above and beyond the call of duty. They don’t shy away from demanding tasks or workloads.

  • Empathy

Score for top performers: 80
Score for poor performers: 68

Employees who value empathy recognize the importance of showing compassion to those in need and adopting a cooperative attitude. They strive to be open to and to understand other people’s perspective.

  • Altruism

Score for top performers: 78
Score for poor performers: 66

Employees who value altruism show both a concern for the needs and lives of others, and a desire to extend their assistance. They consider it essential to create an atmosphere (and a world) that is based on mutual respect, harmony, and giving rather than only receiving.

  • Ethics & Morals

Score for top performers: 76
Score for poor performers: 62

Employees with this value consider it essential to live their life according to a set of principles. They follow their conscience, even if they find themselves in situations where they could easily get away with a dishonest act.

  • Community

Score for top performers: 74
Score for poor performers: 62

Employees with this value are either highly involved in their community or seek out jobs/companies where they can give back in some way. Individuals with community values may be more likely to speak out against injustice and/or be the first to come to the aid of victims of a tragedy.

Basically, while top performers and poor performers have similar values, the top-performing people seem to care about them more. They value their values more, if that makes sense. I love animals and care very much about the environment; but what does it say about me if I ignore the fact that some companies test their beauty products on animals? Or if I litter, or throw recyclables in the garbage? It says that I pay lip service to my values.

The more you value something, the greater the lengths you will go to protect that value. The fact that top performers score higher on their values indicates three things: 1) They are more likely to make decisions based on their values, 2) they are more likely to act in accordance with their values, and 3) they are more likely to stand by their values. That means that the person who values stability will work hard to keep their job and to earn their place in a company. The person who values ethics and morals will respect rules. The person who recognizes the value of hard work will put in a great deal of effort to get a job done well.

It’s not enough to stand by your values. You have to have the guts to stick by them even when pressured to do otherwise.

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Insightfully yours,

Queen D

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