Values are fundamental motivators for people. When values guide decision-making, they shape what emerges in action, help align ‘talk and walk’, and foster a sense of integrity. Richard Barrett most recently defined values as ‘the energetic containers of our aspirations and intentions’. See http://richardbarrettblog.net/2014/05/20/what-are-values/) for reflection and online discussion.
At this point, I would like to address COVID-19, which has dramatically shifted nearly everything about our daily lives. Reflecting on our personal and collective values can be a healthy and worthwhile way to discover and/or affirm what’s important to you, your family, your work colleagues, and your organizational or network affiliations. Whether you are in the frontlines, now working from home, or have been furloughed due to the pandemic, the Barrett Values Centre (BVC) is inviting you to share your experience with them by participating in a special BVC values assessment.
This survey is designed to deepen understanding of the impact COVID-19 has had on your workplace (or primary organization/network) culture and what may be needed going forward. The assessment will take about 10 minutes and will involve identifying your own values, along with those values you perceive are operating and would like to have operating in your work or primary organization/network.
To participate, go to: Global COVID-19 Culture Assessment
Your response will be completely anonymous and used only for this purpose. The assessment is open until May 5, 2020. It is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
If you would like access to the results once they are available, please let me know through this website (see Contact). As described below, I am a BVC Facilitator, and I can share those results with you, once I’ve received them.
Additionally, you can register for an upcoming webinar (20 May 2020) when Barrett Values Centre will share the results. They sincerely appreciate you sharing your experience with them.
Finally – regarding values assessments, if you’d like to explore your own top ten values, please consider taking the free Personal Values Assessment available on the Barrett Values Center website Personal Values Assessment at BVC (https://www.valuescentre.com/tools-assessments/pva/). Not only will you receive a report addressing your values, but also, you’ll be given some tools to help you work with your values. If family members or friends take the assessment, too, you can share results with each other.
Moving on, transformation involves much more than ordinary change. When something or someone is transformed, there is no going back to the old ways – just as the ingredients in a cake can’t be reclaimed after the cake is baked. Something new is created. That can be scary, but when experienced as a collective adventure that makes a positive contribution, I think people can rise to the occasion.
Some models of leadership call for collaboration, teamwork, and shared values in achieving whatever has been declared important and purposeful. However, in too many cases, that call ultimately is marginalized and deemed ‘soft’ or irrelevant to achieving desired results. I disagree with that view.
It think that marginalizing values and discounting true collaboration, when striving for improvement or progress, only alienate people who long to make a difference, share their gifts and skills, and participate in something meaningful. They feel helpless, disempowered, discouraged, and discounted. That situation needs to be transformed and called into service for the greater good.
We have values in several areas of our lives: personal values that guide and influence our individual lives; values that guide and influence how we relate interpersonally with others; and collective values that emerge in families, organizations, institutions, and societies. Ideally, we participate in choosing collective values. Otherwise, we must determine whether those collective values align with our own.
Many leadership roles I held in high school, university, business, and community organizations were based on collaboration and values, and they did make a difference. While at the Union Pacific, I was involved in leadership aimed at cultural and organizational effectiveness, and values were part of that. When I received my Masters in Human Relations, organizational transformation was a core component.
Several difficult decisions I’ve made over the years have centered on whether certain situations had begun to compromise my values and sense of integrity. It’s very challenging to discern when to ‘hang in there’ with perseverance and when to say ‘no’ to something that threatens one’s sense of integrity.
In 2006 I became a Certified Facilitator/Consultant of the Cultural Transformation Tools (CTT) created by the Barrett Values Centre. We used a CTT values assessment with chaplains at the University of Edinburgh, and that led to deepened experiences of friendship, community, and great accomplishment as a multifaith chaplaincy. Values continue to touch all areas of our lives. Especially with the ‘Great Pause’ evoked by the 2020 pandemic, they seem even more important than ever.
Please explore the selected values resources I’ve provided. They always can be updated and improved, but they’re a good start.