In determining what your core values are, it can be helpful to understand what they are not. In Return On Integrity, I differentiate core values from needs, wants and behaviors. While needs, wants and behaviors are of great importance, they are not the same as core values.

Core values are also not your beliefs nor your opinions. No matter how valuable you believe your beliefs and opinions to be.

While beliefs and opinions can be a reflection of your core values, they are not your core values. In fact, the deeper we become invested in our beliefs and opinions, they can actually ignite behaviors that ultimately conflict with our core values. Unless beliefs and opinions are directly grounded-in and fueled-by an intentional set of core values, they most likely will eventually create division.

When we dig deep to define core values, we will find that they are wired for cohesion. Core values are the very thing that keeps those who differ on beliefs and opinions still talking with each other … still working together … still trying to understand each other’s viewpoint in a very valuable way.

It is the way of core values.