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Why … and Why Now?

Why bother with building value based on core values?

It’s a good question! Especially when it won’t be easy.  It seems too hard. It sounds too vague. It feels too personal. It looks so un-businesslike! There has to be an easier path to lead others to success. We could keep going with great excuses and credible roadblocks. You could pile on your own reservations. It’s totally understandable. In fact, you should. The fact is that it’s much easier to figure out why building value with core values won’t work than it is to actually build them. But “easy” is not a leadership trait. As a leader, when you seriously consider the “why” question, you will likely become so unsettled and then passionate that you can’t resist embracing your role in leadership to show others precisely why to bother with it all. Only a leader, who is actually leading, can engage a collective confidence to create the traction and eventually the momentum needed to build value with core values. For a genuine leader, it’s never just a job.  The greatest leaders have always understood this and used it … not just to motivate, but to inspire.  They don’t just build-up assets and grow bottom-lines.  The build-up people and grow legacies.  Or, at least, they could! It starts with our core values.  Every person has them.  Organizations have them too.  The question becomes whether we choose them or if the rushing momentum of life molds them without or intentional consent.  As we commit to dig and discover our core values … naming them and nurturing them … we start to build connections.  We connect what we hold dear as individuals to what we hold dear as an organization.  We connect our minds and hearts with our actions.  We connect the things that truly matter with the things we do each day.  And we connect with one another.  We become integrated.  You could say there’s a simple name for all of these connections:  Integrity. And it yield a return like no other investment can make. When integrity becomes a part of our culture at work, alignment becomes natural.  Engagement becomes authentic.  Service becomes genuine.  And, collectively, these return a better performance with better results. When it comes to leadership, core values are not just another thing.  Core values are everything.  They are the most untapped and impactful resource available to any leader.  And they are as old as the human race … that is, until you make the new again! Nothing holds you, or anyone else, more accountable than core values.  They are not a measurement … yet they bring meaningful measurement to all you do.  It’s a shame that, for far too long, we have written them off as the soft stuff.  Probably because they were just so hard to do. It’s the call of every leader.  Real leaders are always ready to meet a challenge head-on!

But, why now?

Why is it so important that we act now? Because our world is changing significantly. That sounds like a cliché, but it’s so true. It’s true in organizations around the world and it’s true within various aspects of any organization. The single most significant change is speed. The speed at which we move. The speed at which decisions have to be made. The speed at which things change. And our world is in slow motion compared to the new world where we are headed! The only way to respond to this exponential increase in speed is to know decisively who you are and what you do … personally and organizationally. Beyond speed, another change we face is the progressively decentralized, yet highly connected nature of organizations and the world. There are certainly some functioning hierarchical structures remaining in organizations, but the reality is that often these hierarchies are becoming more form than substance. Technology has significantly changed access to information and lines of communication inside and outside any organization. We live in incredibly interesting times in business, in government, in churches, in communities, and in our homes. We haven’t chosen these times; these times have chosen us. And even though these times are not our choice, they nevertheless demand something from us. You might say that Return on Integrity was written precisely for such a time as this!