Posted by: mikeduckett | February 24, 2010

Let’s talk about what matters to you

What matters to you?

What really matters, enough to make you who you are?

We’re talking about values; not those things you hear politicians speak about such as good old ‘family values’, but those concepts, beliefs etc that actually determine what you’re passionate about and why something will really bug you but not someone else.

One thing the research tells us is that when you’re doing something expressing your values you’re playing to your strengths so it is worth spending a little time reflecting on this.

These things are unconscious processes and we don’t usually walk around at working thinking about them, waiting until a situation presents that brings them into action! On the contrary we wander around often unaware of much other than perhaps a rapid reaction to a situation followed by some behaviour.

I remember doing some coaching with a sales woman who was doing reasonably well but wanted to be one of the best in her company. She knew she could lift her sales if only she could handle a particular objection to her product better. This was nothing to do with more training on objection handling; she had done well on any course she’d been on and understood the processes very well.

After asking why she wasn’t doing what she knew how to do to handle the objections, she uncovered something about herself that got in her way. She had always been brought up to value honesty and openness and her view of how she was being asked to handle the objection conflicted with this deep value and made her feel ever so slightly uncomfortable – just when she needed to relax, feel confident and answer the customer as she’d been taught. Her dilemma was that she also valued professionalism and being as good as you can be in your chosen role.

So the way forward for her was not more training practice at objection handling but a re-think about using her professional skills in a thoroughly honest way.

Answering the question'”what matters to you about….?” in some shape or form is often a key step for clients, especially those looking to make a big decision, e.g. about what should be their next career move. In fact it (a list of key values) acts as a sort of decision-making template. My contacts in recruitment tell me that fundamentally they have 3 key questions about a candidate:

  1. Can they do the job? (a question of ability)
  2. Will they do the job? (a question of motivation)
  3. Will they fit? Possibly the most important question when attempting to bring the right candidate to the right company; it’s about culture i.e. values. They say this is  the long-term career determinant.

So if you have your own template of values you can more readily seek out the right company for you and test their ‘fit’ with your values when you interview them – it is supposed to be a two way process after all and this template gives you a guide to what to ask to help you make your decision! If some of your deep values are in conflict with theirs you’re likely to be both unhappy and unproductive in the medium to long term, no matter how much you’re being paid.

So how do you uncover these deep seated values, or as they are often referred to, your character strengths?

One of the best places you can visit is  the Values In Action Survey at:

Over a million people have now taken part and the VIA Institute on Character goes from strenth to strength!

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