Core values, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda
I'm in a 13-week transformational coaching program.
I need to transform, baby!
One of the modules is about "core values," the values that drive and shape our behaviors. Knowing what we value, the thinking goes, allows us to nudge our businesses in directions that reflect those values.
I have to say, although I loved the idea, I was a ... lit-tle ... leery, "core values" being one of those things people in marketing departments spouted off about, yet never really had an effect on operations.
In the exercise, we first choose 10 values out of a list of probably 80 to 100.
Some of the values on the list:
Then, after selecting our top 10 values, we wrote them on sticky notes, one value per note, and spread the notes out in front of us, all in a line.
Next, the program facilitator asked us a series of nine questions, each of which caused us to put away, or toss aside forever and ever until the end of the universe, one of those 10 values.
Suppose you had a life-threatening illness, and someone offered you a cure in exchange for one of your values.
Which value would you give up?
You have to take the offer; it's part of the game.
So you look at your sticky notes and put aside, for ever and ever, the value you're willing to give up for that cure.
Again, you must take the offer; the point is to get rid of a value.
This process continues on and on, with the choices getting harder and harder, until you arrive, at last, with one value left: your top value.
That top value is the value around which you should align your business.
My top value turned out to be tranquility, followed by hope, and then prosperity.
Feeling a little greedy and needy, I decided that those three values would be nice to align around, and kept all three.
This was starting to make sense.
After a little more lecture and a Q&A period, here's how I decided to USE those values, and to differentiate around them.
Giving meaning to "values driven"
Because I value tranquility first, I give myself permission to take all of the space I need in my schedule for reflection and inner work. This inner work, in turn, translates to me accepting phone calls only two days a week. The other three, I'm in my office doing client and business development work.
And--for differentiation--that tranquility in my environment leads to tranquility in my work and the content I write. That energy of tranquility I foster transfers over into the work I deliver to clients.
If you hear a special "something" in my words, it might be tranquility.
My second value is hope.
Hope reverberates throughout my business, but it is especially clear in that I believe my readers, your readers, come to our sites filled with hope.
They hope we can solve their problems.
They hope we'll help them get on with or back to business.
They hope that, finally, we'll be the person or vendor who won't disappoint.
My third value is prosperity.
Prosperity shows in my business in the way I refuse to skimp on purchases. I want the best website, the best chair, the best laptop. I want the best, and I give my clients the best. I write out of my prosperity, and for my clients' -- and their clients' -- prosperity.
Here's a note I taped to my monitor to keep these values always in mind.
So if you're looking for a way to stand out in the crowd:
- Find a list of values online (search for "core values list" -- you'll find a bunch)
- Choose the 10 most important to you
- Write those values on sticky notes
- Work through the exercise to eliminate your sticky notes one by one
- Get to work integrating your values into your business and content
And--here's the best part. Because it's unlikely that your competitors differentiate on exactly the same set of core values, you'll stand out in the minds of prospects, both those who value your values, and those with different values.
P.S. This is post #11 in my 30 Day Blogging Challenge!
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