Making Values-Based Decisions

As a leader have you ever questioned some of your decisions because they just did not “feel” right? 

Perhaps, during the decision-making process, you asked all the right questions, gathered all the right information, and consulted all the right people. You assertively made a well-informed decision and everyone was happy, except you.  

The decision may have left you with an uncomfortable, unsettled feeling, but you just could not figure out why? If this happens to you frequently, or even infrequently, it could be because your decisions are not aligned with your core values. Core values are the things that keep you grounded, they are your base, your North star.  

Your role as a leader is difficult because you must consider not only your own core values but also those of your company.

Unfortunately, many leaders’ core values do not align with their company’s core values and that makes decision-making even more challenging.  

An additional, and more disturbing, dilemma is that some leaders are not even aware of their own values because they have not done enough self-exploration. These complex topics are frequently addressed in coaching sessions with my clients. 

I give my clients two assessments to help them reflect on their personal values as well as their work values (because there is a difference). Then we begin to unpack how those do or do not align with the core values of their company.    

Assuming you, as a leader, are aware of your values, your company’s values, and are in alignment with both, just how do you practice value-based decision-making?

The process of applying your values to decisions in the workplace involves asking yourself the following questions:  

  • Is this decision in alignment with my own core values?
  • Is this decision in alignment with my company’s values?
  • Do I believe in this decision enough to defend it, if needed, to anyone at any level in the company?
  • Does this decision align with the overall mission and direction of the company?
  • How can I communicate the decision in a way that is understood by everyone involved?
  • How will I feel about this decision a year from now?
  • If someone else were in my situation, would I advise them to make the same decision?
  • Who is this decision helping or hurting?

The benefit of knowing your values, knowing your company’s values, and aligning with them is that it expedites the decision-making process. You will be able to intuitively access that North star to gain immediate clarity and focus. No more second-guessing yourself or feeling unsettled after making a decision. This, in turn, positions you as a more assertive and confident leader. An added benefit is that you can mentor and coach your team to also practice value-based decision-making.

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