Leading starts with values
The top three areas on my leaders control panel programme are values, vision and mission. We start with these because these three things underpin everything you do as a leader, wherever it is that you lead – whether it’s your family, your community, your team, your company, your sector or your country.
Who are you a leader for?
Your core values
Your core values are what’s important to you. They are your natural motivation, they’re what you focus on and what drives your choices and decisions. That’s important stuff. And yet most of us drift along never being consciously aware of what our values are. This means that all our decisions and choices happen unconsciously, without our awareness of why we decided or chose this way. It’s scary to think that we might be asking people to follow, when we don’t even know why we’re asking them to do it!
When you set a personal or professional goal, the number one thing you need to make sure of is that it is in alignment with your values - why it is important for you to achieve it, or it is unlikely that you ever will.
Values can play tricks on you if you’re not aware of them, because some are things that you are drawn towards and others are things that you want to avoid. For example, if you have a core value of freedom and a core value of avoiding poverty, you could encounter conflict when designing your business or lifestyle. If you have a ‘pull-towards’ value of success and an ‘avoid’ value of rejection, you’re likely to encounter some difficulty and procrastination as you try to become successful without facing any rejection. Awareness of this conflict is key if you are to achieve what you want in your life.
It’s important to see how your personal values align with the values for your business or organisation, to see where there’s alignment and where some mental reconciliation is required.
If you’re clear on your values, then your vision is like your personal or corporate North Star - a mental picture of what you want to achieve over time. It guides you and inspires you in what you do every day. You can use it to decide what you want to spend your time on or whether you should go in a different direction.
The vision is critical to any business because where individual leaders may change over time, the vision helps employees continue with what is important and helps explain alignment of resources and so on. Your vision should be expressed in as few words as possible so that it is highly memorable.
Your mission statement clearly defines:
- what you do
- who you do it for
- how you do it
This helps everyone understand why they come into work every day, what their role is and how they play a part. It is also vital for attracting, engaging and retaining talent as well as building organisational culture and increasing productivity.
Values, vision and mission may well change over time. The key is to be conscious about what has changed and how what it is changing to aligns across those three areas. My clients get clear on their values, vision and mission for themselves and for their role/area of responsibility in their organisation or business. This gives them confidence to move forward every day.
If you’d like a PDF of my leaders control panel, or help writing your own values, vision and mission, please get in touch.