As you probably know by now, I’m an HR specialist. I have spent considerable time developing HR capabilities in myself, and in others. During my Human Resources Management Career, I have had the opportunity to be responsible for on-boarding new employees into different companies. These induction sessions are usually 2 days events where new hires (at whatever level) are intimated with the mission, vision, culture and values of the organization. These meetings are so much fun, people remember them much long after.
I remember traveling by air one day, many months after I had left my last employment. One of the Cabin Crew members walked up to me, and told me that the words I spoke during their induction still provided guidance and instruction even though I was long gone. I flashed back, and remembered, one of the topics I enjoyed facilitating the most in these inductions, was and still is core values.
The question goes to you, do you have values? What are your values? I’m sure you are wondering where this is leading, don’t wander, do you have values? What are values? I have heard many definitions of values in my life, but one that beats them all by a clear margin is a definition that is very illustrative.
I usually ask my students a question, I ask a volunteer if she/he would be willing to lick the floor of the training room. The obvious answer I usually get is a blatant No! I ask them to explain and they tell why they can’t do that, “lick the floor? No way!” I pause for a while and I quickly ask another question, “If you lick this floor, I’ll give you a million Naira.” The standard answer to which is, “Are you serious?” One moment it was impossible, another moment it was doable. Not licking the ground is not a value. A value is that quality of character that you will not change irrespective of the price, or circumstances. Your core values are your creed, the define your behaviour, that form the basis for your right or wrong.
So, again do you have core values? Or do you find it easy to bend at the slightest resistance. Are you like a river? Crooked because it’s looking for the easy ways out? You might wonder, what a heck do you need values for? Well, modern research shows that the most successful companies in the world all have core values that are alive, and not just on paper. This, and not strategies or employee quality was clearly a difference in companies that were ranked built to last. Any life that intends to be built to last, needs to have core values – Qualities, attributes, characteristics that will not change with the passing of time, the changing of price or pressure.
Back in the days, many companies realized the value of values, the formulated one (There is a standard process for doing this) and believed in it. They went a step further to document it, and put it in their lobby. Their values were trust, excellence, integrity, care, e.t.c. They saw it everyday, and it affected their behaviours, their culture, their work. It affected them positively! Whenever anybody had to make a decision, he simply looked up, saw integrity, and thought better of that decision. As time went by, because the company did not take time to educate its new joiners about these values, they became hangings on the wall without meaning. Because people saw them on the board so regularly, they could recite them, but the values lost their power to drive culture, behaviour and habits. After a while, seeing that the wall hangings were looking hypocritical, the company took of the values off the walls, taking the company back by 100yrs.
Today, we stand at that point, many of us have no core values let alone documented. Your life will last, and you will leave a legacy, if you build your life around values that are really core to you. Every human being has bones, you were never meant to be all jelly and too flexible, there are turns you must never make. You need to go beyond knowing these values to writing them down. Don’t only write integrity, define what it means to you. It’s hard work I know, but the only alternative to hard work, is hard life. For starters, install Google desktop and write down your values there. Keep it close to your eyes and heart. It’s profound, but life does not transcend from successful to significance without core values.
I have core values too, maybe more than most people or companies, but they guide my life. Here are some of my values, they might help you in writing yours.
1. Integrity – Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. Live like you would if you had to share everything you did with people that respect you.
2. Trust – Give people trust before they earn it. Pay it forward in small dozes and graduate it upwards.
3. Respect – Don’t treat people based on what they are, treat them on what they have the potentials to be. Don’t make anyone common because of present circumstances. Treat others like you want to be treated.
4. Passion – Find what you are good at and love doing, and pour your life into it. Don’t go with the flow, follow your heart.
5. Love – Question your motivation to ensure it is love, accept the wrong quickly, apologize profusely, give, share, add value, sacrifice, be kind, express love.
6. Stewardship – Live your life like you are a steward of it, and will give account. Fear God and honour him.
7. Servitude – Always look for opportunities to serve, enjoy thank you, use your talent and passion to help others. Never be too big to render unpaid service.
8. Inside-Out – Order life priorities from inside out.
I hope you find this helpful. Lest I forget, Individual Independence by Emmanuel Utomi is happening tomorrow… I understand a lot of people you want to listen to will be there, Femi Banigbe a Celtel Director will be featured, A few key officers from different companies, and I will be taking a session as well. Don’t miss it!