Defining your HOW (Your Values), Part 1

Related 1: Start with Your WHY (Your Motivation)
Related 2: Start With WHY for Leaders
Related 3: Know Their WHY (Their Motivation/Driver)

The importance of clear rationale and drivers behind your values

Most books written about business, leadership, entrepreneurship, etc. are HOW books, and emphasize that it is essential to prioritize your HOWs. Assuming that you have your WHY (your Vision) figured out, it is now time to define your HOW (your Values).

The first step in defining your HOW is to put down your values on paper and provide a reason for each one. For example, don’t just capture “We will be customer-focused.” Explain the reasons (the drivers) behind why you will be customer-focused.

For example:

  • We will be customer-focused because it increases profits


  • We will be customer-focused because it drives us to create a better product or service


  • We will be customer-focused because it nourishes our employees and makes their work rewarding.”

SandAndBeach20070512_10Consider the examples above, contrasting values defined both with and without underlying drivers.  Being clear about the drivers removes ambiguity about why this value is important. Conversely, leaving the drivers unspecified puts you at risk for lack of organizational alignment on critical values. Now consider this; which approach is more likely to both resonate with your team members, as well as support consistent decision making?

Your HOWs need a driver because your values reinforce your WHY and help you find people who share the same values for the same reasons. For example, providing excellent customer service because the company will make more money will motivate one type of person. Another may be motivated by providing excellent customer service because it makes the employee feel satisfied, rewarded, and happy.  Remember, your people are the embodiment of your HOW. In future posts, I’ll talk more about how to build successful teams by recruiting talent who share values and drivers that align with your organization’s HOW.

Do you have any stories to share about setting Values that really resonated with employees and customers – or perhaps really missed the mark??

Let’s hear about it in the comments!

Read Next: Defining your HOW (Your Values), Part 2


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