A value is a thing or condition we consistently act upon to get and to keep. A value is a vector – a direction with a force. The clearest indication of what we value is how we spend our time and our money. It is not what we say that tells people what we value, it is what we do.
What are your Values?
Your values are those things or conditions that are important to you. They represent the things you want to do in your life and work to make a difference. The clearer you are about your values, the easier it is to put them into practice. Values provide the framework for decision-making. If you value honesty, you will demonstrate this in your interactions with others.
A number of years ago, I was having lunch with the President of a large company. He very graciously paid for lunch and, at the end of the meal, offered me the receipt. I declined, since I did not pay the bill. He was surprised and told me that when he took entrepreneurs for lunch or dinner, they routinely took the receipt for tax purposes. He went on to say that he was unimpressed with them for doing so, even though he was abetting their actions. People judge us by what we do, not what we say.
How many Values should you have?
I am often asked if there is a universally right number of values. In your Business Definition, the right number of values is between four and six. This is a number that can be effectively expressed and is relatively easy to remember. If you list too many Values in your business definition, they begin to lose some of their meaning for you and the other stakeholders who have an interest in your business.