Values are More Important Than Beliefs.

Whenever we go to some good organization’s office, we find the aims of that organization prominently displayed at the entrance or the place where an incomer may not escape his attention. Organizations display company values prominently at the workplace and company leaders reiterate the importance of aligning with, and living by those values. Many companies engage in elaborate discussion and debate before selecting them. And after final decision, they draft their strategy according to those values. Somewhere it is carried out as formality to achieve some certification like ISO etc. because if you were to read 10 sets of company values, you would find a high degree of repetition. But some companies are really very much serious about their values and it is found that those companies which create conducive environment and make serious efforts by grooming up their team to achieve their values, succeed ultimately.
Some Companies really do their best to achieve their value oriented aims but we must figure out the extent and nature of alignment of our personal values with company values. What are values? If we define them, we can say that they are a shorthand way of describing our personal motivation and what we consider dear and important to us. There are positive values, which tend to be fairly universal and enduring, or values that are potentially limiting. Examples of positive values are trust, passion, caring, sharing, fairness and integrity. Potentially limiting values are power, greed, status, and blame, manipulation, wanting to be liked or play favorites and so on. Typical company value statements comprise positive values, whilst managerial behavior we experience would have a fair sampling of potentially limiting values.

It is important that one’s personal values are in sync with organizational values. Why? This alignment releases energy, commitment and creativity as contrast to just getting our token compliance. Else, there is misalignment between who you are and what you are expected to be. One copes, putting on a facade in our eagerness and anxiety to please, causing fear and apprehension, resulting in impaired sub-optimal performance.

What also limits realization of our potential at work are beliefs, which are assumptions we hold to be true, often without verification. One may take decisions based upon the belief that budgets for undertaking an important project won’t be available as the boss recently slashed some expenditure on advertising. “We are the outcome of all the significant decisions we have made in our lives; and choosing not to decide is also a decision.” Say existentialists. If decision-making is so vital, is there a hierarchy of decision-making that would help better understand its nature and basis?

At the reptilian or base level, decisions are made by instinct. This is mainly a reflexive response to a survival situation. Action precedes thought. At the next level, decisions are made on the basis of our conscious beliefs, invariably based on the past. However, one now inserts a pause between the situation and one’s reaction. One tries to understand the situation and gets what one wants, based on one’s understanding of the situation. Many mammals operate at this level. At the next level, decisions are based on values. One consciously chooses to create the future based on the value one has chosen to respond with. This type of decision is future-oriented. Only human beings are capable of such decision-making.

As Richard Barrett, the values-based leadership advocate, succinctly points out “Science is a set of continuously changing beliefs”. Beliefs are based on the past; values belong to a deeper level of the human being. We need to create a safe environment for people to move from belief based decision-making to values-based decision-making. Decisions, made in fear, are usually based on beliefs and baggage from past experiences. If we want to consciously create the future we want to experience, then we need to graduate to values-based decision-making. Beliefs separate while values unite.

We must attach greater significance to the values as they are more important than beliefs. Before we act upon our beliefs, we must verify their sanctity and viability in the present circumstances and if required, they must be realigned in reference of the values we have adopted. Values are more important for long term gains.

Be Happy -Values are More Important than Beliefs.
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