In the past few years I have learned the value of values. I don’t mean any kind of financial values, but people’s core beliefs. New knowledge is easy to get, new skills are easy to learn, but it is extremely hard, if not impossible, to change someone’s beliefs (unless they want to change it). So, if you have people in your team with contradicting values, it might cause misunderstandings and trouble in teamwork. I believe that each company and each team should figure out their key values and communicate them out loud. Key values are not compromised. For example, in Concise we find that our key values are – committed, creative, teamwork focused and innovative. We always come back to those values when we hire someone, or when we choose our customers.
Here is a game to play with your team. I call it the Values game and I got the initial idea from Lyssa Adkins “Coaching Agile Teams” book.
- Write 40-60 different values (happiness, teamwork, challenge, humor, independence…) on sheets of paper, each value on separate piece. Get one full set for each person in the team.
- At team meeting give everyone a set of values and ask them to divide it into two piles – important and not important.
- Repeat it until everyone manages to leave 5 most important values. (The process is important here – if you ask people to choose top 5 from the beginning, they will have less time to think about their real priorities.)
- Now starts the teamwork – everyone shares their 5 most important values and puts them in the middle of the table.
- Team listens to each others’ explanations. Team has a goal to choose 5-7 values that represent them together. Discussions are valuable here since that is a time where people define how they understand the words and teammates get to know each others’ expectations.
- Use those values to create team identity feeling. For example, add the list of values on top of Slack team channel:
Once you have mastered identifying and using values in professional life, feel free to use the same methods in personal life. If you figure out what are your values in life and in relationships, it is easier to make choices and stay happy. Good luck with evaluating your values!