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Values – The Motivating Factors Leading to Success or Failure!

Updated on February 16, 2010

Individual and Organizational Values

Values, we all have them, are our standards or principles that guide each individual or organization to success or failure. There are obvious good and bad values but there are also bad values disguised as good. We adopt and adapt our values based on numerous life factors, such as our experiences growing up, what we’ve learned through our education, or what our religion has taught us to be right or wrong. Our values may change over time, usually driven by an even stronger or dominant value. Regardless if we consider ourselves a success or a failure, be can sure that it is our values that drove us to that success or failure. 

Values – How They Motivate Us

What is one of your values? Not sure? Well, how much money would you pay if you could buy a value? How much would you pay to be famous, wealthy, intelligent, creative, or powerful? If each of the five values mentioned cost $5,000 each and you had $10,000, which two values would you buy? Now, here is the key, why would you buy the two values you selected? Say one of the values you selected is to be wealthy. Being wealthy means different things to different people. When you can visualize what being wealthy means to you and you continually clarify what wealthy means to you then you will be able to notice how your concept of being wealthy is driving your life.

Say the other value you purchased for $5,000 is to be creative. Once again being creative means different things to different people. Perhaps being creative means writing fictional books to support you financially. Do your two values, to be wealthy and creative, work together to achieve success? There are certainly numerous examples of successful authors as well as those who have never published a book. In some cases the being wealthy value is more dominant and may force the creativity value to adapt itself into finding creative ways to be wealthy.

There is certainly nothing wrong with valuing wealth. However, here is where a good value can be disguised as being bad. For some individuals and organizations, achieving wealth is pursued relentlessly, at all cost, and no matter if there is a negative impact to others. To read about an example of this value gone badly, all you have to do is read the newspaper.

Values – The Driving Force

Individually, we all have numerous values that are driving us to success or failure, so to with organizations. Interestingly, with organizations their values are evident in sum total of each of the organization’s employees. It doesn’t matter what an organization posts on their website or prints in their annual report as values driving the organization, it is how each individual employee’s values are working in harmony (or not) with the rest of the organization that give evidence of that organization’s true values.

Often times it is the leadership of an organization that identifies the values that will drive the organization to success. However, if identifying an organization’s values is just an exercise to use for their marketing materials for clients and employees then the organization stands a good chance at achieving failure. An organization’s leadership must look what is currently driving the organization to identify their true values. Some organizations value generating high profits for their stockholders. During difficult economic times, some organizations achieve this through short-term solutions, the usual layoffs, pay-cuts, doing-more with less mantra, etc. This same organization may promote a value of work/life balance for their employees. Yet the majority of the salaried employees are working 60 to 80 hour weeks, while the hourly employees have taken a pay-cut or other benefits reduction or elimination. It is easy to identify what the organization’s true values are in this example.

The organizational values presented in the above scenario may have different results depending on the individual values of their employees. Some organizations with values of high profits and work/life balance may achieve success because the individual employees are engaged to achieve high profits without compromising their work/life benefits. This can only be accomplished by engaging employees in searching for solutions, another value for an organization.

The powerful driving force of values should motivate us individually and organizationally to identify our true values and train those values to keep us on a course to achieve success and not failure.


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