Amid running a couple of mundane errands on an ordinary spring weekday afternoon, my mind was strategically wandering and wondering. I was well into the process of writing the manuscript for what would become Return On Integrity. The prior days had been filled with meaningful conversations around the essence of the intersection of personal and organizational core values within organizations.

The discussions almost always felt enthusiastically embraced. Yet, there consistently seemed to be a subconscious and unspoken resistance to the real importance values could ultimately play. As I drove from errand to errand, my mind kept spinning in circles trying to unearth the nature of this evasive resistance. I pulled up to a red light. Using the forced pause to concentrate, it all the sudden struck me:

Nothing holds you more accountable than your core values.

And that can be hard. And frankly, within the everyday pressures in organizations … business, government, and churches alike, sometimes it can be quite inconvenient. It would seem that core values could demand from us in deeper and more personal ways than any other organizational measurement.

And if we are not careful, it can feel potentially punitive. After all, the deeper we understand and embrace our values, this blade of accountability is ever-so-sharpened. Who would want to sharpen that blade? In our human condition, no wonder an evasive resistance lurks within.

Until, that is, you understand how to measure with grace.

Unlike most black and white organizational measurements, our accountability to an intentionally defined set of core values is measured in three-dimensional living color. They aren’t measured on paper or screens. They inform, guide and transform us through an ever-growing awareness within our mind, heart and soul. And they do so when we measure ourselves and each other with a lot of grace.

That grace has a way of sharpening us beyond measurement.