For us at Fair Voyage, it was important to define our core values from the beginning, to make sure they are consistent with our vision and our mission—the outcome we want to see and help create for the world.
To start with, we listed all our values. To make sure we didn’t miss anything, we found The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by the Conscious Leadership Group a helpful and insightful guide.
Then came the harder task—how to shortlist and select our top five values from amongst all those we had listed? We tried various prioritization and ranking techniques, but no matter what method we applied, there always seemed to be some important values missing amongst to top five.
For weeks, we turned circles of new attempts at re-prioritizing and re-ranking our values, but the same methods always lead to the same results—lingering doubts and uneasy feelings that something was missing.
Until we started to ask ourselves a different question: What behaviors do we need in order to achieve the outcome we desire—sustainability, peace, humanity?
So then, instead of simply listing our values, we listed all the behaviors that we value and need to act consistent with in order to achieve our vision.
For each behavior, we then asked:
- Would we applaud this behavior, even at the cost of profit? I.e., do we value a certain behavior more than short-term financial gains, and would celebrate team members for acting accordingly, even if it means a financial loss or lost profit opportunity?
- What would be the consequence of behavior breach? I.e. in case of repeat or gross breach and not showing sincere regret or commitment to behavior change, would we have a serious conversation or even let a team member go?
- Which values have this behavior inherent in their notion? I.e. we assigned corresponding values to each behavior, whereby a certain behavior might match one or several of our values.
With all the behaviors needed to create our desired outcome listed and values assigned to each, it then became an easy task to select the five values needed to capture all the behaviors that we valued: Responsibility, Collaboration, Truth & Candor, Empathy, Personal Growth.
Our top five values include “Collaboration” and “Truth & Candor” (which also captures the notion of transparency). Accordingly, we are excited to make our internal behaviors and values assessment transparently available to you: View Our Values Spreadsheet and feel free to download a copy to adjust for your own use.
We hope the process we followed and illustration thereof also may help you define the values for your own organization, and contribute to the development of more value-based leadership and management principles overall.
You may also like to read what we have learned about Sustainability, Peace and Humanity as outcome values as opposed to values we must practice day-to-day to realize these outcomes; and how we hold ourselves accountable to our values as part of our performance reviews.