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When in Salt Lake City, Utah recently for a football game, what struck me about the Mormon culture is how deeply their values are ingrained into everything they do. Everywhere we went in Salt Lake City, we saw evidence of the shared values that have been part of the fabric of the community for over 200 years – their hospitality, their respect for people and their sportsmanship.

For example, our football team’s band didn’t travel, so the home team’s band learned our fight song and played it on the field. On top of that, countless BYU (Brigham Young University) fans approached us to wish us good luck and welcome us to Utah. Those were huge markers of their culture.

Dr. Max Klau of City Year wrote that “it is simply impossible to live and work together without shared values.” Shared values in a business or community serve to unite people in a deep way that overrides differences of race, religion, experience and culture.
Serving others is one unifying value that time and again transcends differences. Throughout the history of the world, the value of serving others has brought together divided nations and created amazing results. The US experienced this in the aftermath of 9/11 when a spirit of neighbor serving neighbor united us, specifically in the NY metro area.

A focus on values is the first of the three keys to achieving leadership success and, dare I say, having fun while doing important work.

In business, values cover everything from the quality of the ingredients a company uses in its chicken soup, to the ethics it uses in dealing with suppliers, to how it treats its employees and customers. Values guide all of a company’s daily operations. The key is to make this happen intentionally and with focus.

When there’s a match between the personal values of employees and the values of the organization, everyone is bound together at the core of who they are and what they believe in. That leads to employee engagement and a greater ability to reach business results.

For great companies like Zappos and The Sterling Rice Group (recently named by Outside magazine as one of the top companies to work for in the nation) culture is strategy. According to SRG president Buddy Ketchner, “You can be in the board room and write great plans, but if it’s misaligned with the fundamental culture, it will fail.”

The following questions will start you off on the transformative process of identifying your group’s values:

  • What are the values of the individuals that make up your group (community, business, church)?
  • What does the group say is the culture today?
  • What does the group want the culture to be?

Would you like to uncover your own top four values? Email me now for your free copy of the TruValues assessment AND a coaching consultation to put those values into action in your life right away.

Jeff HarmonJeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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