Sarah’s Snippets 4/14
Editor’s Note: Sarah’s Snippets are now being posted on Tuesdays!
In a recent Snippets, personal trivia collections were an analogy for all the bits of information one gathers that create a personal perspective. Values are certainly a part of that perspective.
One’s values are the principles that guide decisions and actions. They are the line in the sand that will not be crossed. Values are those enduring, internal beliefs that help determine decisions thus actions. But often people and organizations operate based on values that are not clarified. Clarification of values is not an easy task since values are often abstract concepts; concepts that operate from the inner recesses of our beings guiding our choices, accompanying our actions, helping us move easily through each day. Until, we encounter a challenge to our decisions or actions. This is when that internal line in the sand is drawn and choices follow. These points of challenge are often the very things that serve to clarify values.
However, when this clarification has taken place as an intentional process prior to arriving at a crossroad, individuals and groups function more decisively and consistently. Clearly held values become the screening tool that helps focus the decision making from among the multitude of competing choices. Only choices that successfully pass through the screen of values move into decisions that lead to actions.
Clarification of values is a personal process. “Personal values drive commitment. Personal values are the route to motivation and productivity,” according to Kouzes and Posner in The Leadership Challenge. If personal values are not in harmony with the actions required (be it for work activities, volunteer projects, or participation in a personal interest group) then a sense of discomfort is present as if there is a misfit. When personal values are in harmony, energy becomes focused and production increases.
Organizations also need to have a clear sense of values. When these values are shared by all members of the team or group, the same sense of focus develops that guides all members of the group. Everyone understands what the screening tool is that forms the basis for organizational actions, and for the individuals within the organization. These shared values form the common ground rules that guide all decisions and actions. This leads to actions that demonstrate a sense of unity and focus on a shared vision.
SALT staff regularly discusses shared values. As a dynamic organization with numerous people moving in and out of the group, it is essential that we are clear about the organizational values in order for everyone to share in their application, thus helping us maintain our integrity.
Renewal for Schoharie County