Businesses often spend a great deal of time identifying and declaring their core values. However, very few repeat them often enough, or bake them into their day-to day operations to make them meaningful. Just ask the Weinstein brothers.
Declaring your values is really declaring your priorities. Your values provide a framework for your decision making. Your values tell you where to focus your time and attention. Because when you have a clear set of values you know which things are important, which things are peripheral and which things are witch things.
At my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry we value 3 things above all else.
- Great Creative Ideas
- Excellent Customer Service
- A Fun Experience For Everyone Involved
We talk about these 3 things in all of our company meetings. We share these with our clients. And we measure ourselves against them. They are at the heart of our operation. Like Junior Mints.
Declaring Value At Home
We have a clear set of values at our home. However, we don’t call them our values. Partly because my wife Dawn and I started teaching them to our children when they were too young to understand what values were. So instead, we call them our most important things. And here they are.
The Albrecht Family 5 Most Important Things In Life
1. Being Smart We have to focus on our education, learning, thinking, reading and developing our minds. If we are not smart, we won’t know what’s important and what’s not (and what’s snot).
2. Being Brave We have to try difficult things. We have to face our fears. We have to push beyond our comfort zone, and stand up for what we know is right. We have to jump off that cliff into the water below. When we do, we will feel the fear transform into excitement, and then into accomplishment and then into confidence.
3. Being Nice We have to treat others the way we want to be treated. Be kind to others. Even when we don’t feel like it. Because kindness has to start somewhere. And the world is a nicer place when people are nicer to each other. Especially in Nice, France.
4. Being Funny Humor is the best way to get through difficult challenges. It makes us feel better. It brings people together. It decreases pressure. Making someone smile or laugh is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. If laughter is the best medicine, being funny makes you a doctor, or a pharmacist, or a drug dealer.
5. Being Adventurous You only have one life. So go, do, see, feel, taste and live. Soak up as much of life as you can. Try things to know and learn what you like and what you don’t. Except for drugs. Drugs will ruin your life. Unless the drug is laughter (see point 4).
Putting It Into Action
We talk about the 5 Most Important Things weekly at our house. In fact, they provide a great framework for teaching, encouragement and behavior modification. Plus, I can usually defend my actions by citing Important Thing #4. Although you can never place #4 above #3.
If you see my kids, ask them what the 5 Most Important Things In Life Are. You’ll see that they are baked into Ava, Johann and Magnus like The Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord’s Prayer. I take comfort in knowing that they will carry those values with them as a guiding framework for life, even when Dawn and I are not there to help them make decisions. Which is the ultimate goal of parenting.
I find our 5 Most Important Things so valuable that I have been thinking of creating a family workshop to help other families develop their 5 Most Important Things. (Although it could be 3, 5 or 7 things in your family. Or 10 if you are a Letterman.) I’d like to do the workshop on January 1st every year. Because families are usually together that day. And I can’t think of a better way for a family to start a new year. Except for maybe skiing. Or Snowmobiling. (If this is something that interests you shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk more about it.)
Know your values. Declare them. Share them with your organization, team or family. They will provide a strong framework for both thoughts, decisions and actions. Then live your values every day. Even when no one is watching.
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