Sneaky Values

  1. Serving customers
  2. Working together
  3. Thinking about the long term

Are three of the four core values of RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland). In January 2018 RBS’s chief Ross McEwan was asked to name his bank’s four core values. He couldn’t remember the fourth one.

It was “to do the right thing.”

Arguably, bankers not living by their workplace core values is what led to the 2008 banking crash.

I wonder…do you know what the values are of your workplace?

The University of Manchester’s Core Values

For example, The University of Manchester, where I spent 8 years as a scientific project manager have the following values:

Student focussed
Working as a single team
Flexible and open to change
Own what we do

Companies stating the obvious are a concern

For me, values like “integrity” should be standard. If a company has to tell me they have integrity, I start to question it. It would be like an accountancy firm having a core value of “accuracy”. Well, I should severely hope they have a high level of accuracy. The fact that it’s a value would be a concern for me.

It’s all the other values that really set companies apart

I’m currently working with four:

  1. Making a difference: first and foremost, to my clients and secondly to changing the academic system so that we can have gender parity in scientific leadership.
  2. Ambitious: for me this is about challenging the current narrative for women in stem and being a catalyst for change.
  3. Analytical: I used evidenced-based practices and evaluate what works/doesn’t work and continuously make improvements.
  4. Creative: From the way I am able to quickly pull together all the information in a coaching session to move that person forwards powerfully to how I go about making new workshops and products.

Do these values surprise you?

Individual Values

We all have individual values too. Ideally your individual values will have some alignment with your workplace values. If there is no alignment, I daresay, that you may be unfulfilled at work.

This is a great time of year to look at your values. Not as you would like them to be but as they currently stand.

Ask yourself the question…

What am I spending the most time, energy or money on? Make a list.

If you come up with something you can put in a wheelbarrow like “books”. Ask yourself, what you get from the books. Is it personal development, escapism or learning?

If you struggle, think through a typical day and what you do.

Sneaky Values – seeking approval

Are there any sneaky values on the list? By that I mean values that you would rather not have on there. When I first did this exercise over 5 years ago “approval” was on my list. I was spending an awful lot of time gaining approval from others.

Sometimes, I would have an email in my draft folder for over 24 hours going back to it time and again to check the tone and make sure that it would come across in the right way before I would hit send. It showed up in many areas of my life and took up an inordinate amount of time and energy.

Do you have any sneaky values? Hit reply and let me know.

 How to introduce new values?

This year I have identified that “sustainability” is an important value for me. It always has been but my intentions haven’t necessarily matched my actions. I am still buying the broccoli wrapped in plastic. This year, I have made a commitment to bring sustainability onto my personal values list.

Anne-Marie Bonneau, Zero Waste Chef said “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly”.

It won’t happen overnight, nor will it be perfect but I will bring a healthy dose of imperfection to this value in small steps over the year. You can follow my efforts in Breakthrough Unleashed.

Are there any new values you want to focus on for 2021? 

One of many women juggling work, home school, children and everything in between.

PS Phew that was a long one! Unintentional I promise 😉 In short, values are single words or short word phrases that can’t fit into a wheel barrow. Ask yourself, “what am I spending the most time, energy or money on?” Is there anything on that list that’s a sneaky value like “approval” (you don’t really want it to be there)? Are there any values you would like to bring more attention to in 2021? Hit reply and let me know.