Clarify Your Values for 2016

By Susan Schilke; January 1, 2016

The New Year is an ideal time to reflect on the personal core values you apply in your professional life.  Understanding your values lets you make the best decisions and align your actions with your beliefs.  Some values stay consistent; others shift over time – so this is good to revisit periodically.  Take a few minutes to complete the following walk through of a Values Assessment to incorporate into your 2016 planning. See our Core Values Assessment in our Resources this month.

Connecting to happy, proud and challenging memories helps reveal what’s most important to us.  Spend a few minutes reflecting on recent years. Think about moments or events in your professional life that made you happy.  What were you doing?  What contributed to your happiness?  What generated the positive feelings?

Think about situations that generated feelings of pride or fulfillment.  What factors led to the feelings of pride?  What actions were you proudest of?  What experiences gave you feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment?

Think about times you were unhappy or discouraged with your own performance.  What led to these challenging situations?  What made you most uncomfortable with your own actions?  What do you wish you’d done differently?

Take time to reflect and write down answers to these questions before continuing.

With these memories fresh in your mind, review the list of personal values, and select those that apply to you.  At first, put a checkmark next to up to 12 that feel like they could be core values.  Then looking at these, narrow the list to the Top 8 and put a star by these.  Now looking at just these 8, narrow the list down to your Top 4 by circling your final selections.  Take your time, but limit yourself to a final list of four core values.

As a last step, put these four in rank order by numbering them 1 to 4.  Which of your Top 4 is most important?  To do this, you may want to compare them in pairs.  Look at two of the top values and ask yourself which one you would choose if you could only satisfy one.  For example, if you compare loyalty and achievement, imagine you must decide between accepting a promotion at a time your current team really needs you.  Which value do you prioritize?

Once you have a list of your Top 4 values, develop ways to keep these top of mind in your actions and decisions.  Check out our video from My 31 Practices for more about translating your values into behaviors in your 2016 plan.  Make living your values part of your Happy New Year!