Values are not negotiable – they just are…

I work very hard with all of my coaching clients to ensure that one of the foundations that they build their success on is a very clear set of values.  These values are so important because they are the basis of everything from making difficult decisions to how we treat other people.  They impact how we act towards our friends and loved ones to our work colleagues and even complete strangers.  For most people values are vague concepts that just exist in the background.  It is rare that I come across someone who has deliberately thought about their values and written them down and shares them with others freely.

I share mine regularly, they are

Passion and Purpose – I give everything I do my every focus and energy

Transparency and fairness – My decisions and their deliver will withstand scrutiny

Helping others – I build healthy relationships with people

You will notice that I don’t use words like honesty, integrity or honour.  This is not because I don’t believe in them but because values to me are descriptive and pragmatic.  They need to mean everything to me and be yardsticks that I can use to measure my actions against.  I would argue that if I live my life according to the values above I will, by definition, be meeting some of the more general value words like honour and honesty.

I use my values every day, they are close to me all of the time and when I am faced with a challenge of any sort I use them to guide my response.  A good example happened recently.  A work colleague of mine was unaware of how a client saw them.  This colleague thought that they were seen in a positive light by a client and had a great reputation with them.  The opposite, in fact, was true.  The client was openly disparaging of them.  What should I do.  Should I allow this colleague, who I have a great deal of respect for, to continue to operate under false assumptions and potentially embarrass themselves in the future.  Or should I have a quality conversation with them about what I know.  When applying my values to this decision the answer is obvious…. I need to have a quality conversation with them, even if it is quite difficult to do.

The right decision in a given situation is not always the easy one.  Doing the right thing and doing the easy thing are not always the same.

Have a clear set of values that that will help guide you through life.  These need to be uniquely yours, they need to originate from you as a result of thought and deliberation.  Then adopt them and share them whenever you need.

Tim is a Speaker, Executive Coach and Pragmatic Leadership Expert who works with individuals and organisations on delivering results and being more effective.  He can be contacted at or through his website at

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