FAQ – Do your values matter?

I’ve been thinking a lot about values over the last few months and how they matter. A few weeks ago I advised my step-daughter to talk about how her values aligned with a potential employer’s when she went for an interview. I’ve put my values on my new website, because I want to do business with people who care about other people, and care about the planet…

Values are often not talked about, but they can have a big impact on people’s behaviour at work, and personally. Values can really affect our happiness and the success of our businesses.
  We all make important decisions based on what we perceive people’s values to be; whether it’s who we vote for, who our friends and partners are, or who we do business with.

So what are your values?

We’ve all got values, even if we’ve not clarified them or written them down. What’s really important to you every single day? Is it family? Being on time? Conscientiousness? Being reliable? Integrity? Do you contribute to particular charities? Is the environment important to you?
  Making these things clear to yourself and other people can create clearer and healthier relationships, whether they’re personal or at work. People know where they stand when you’re clear about your values in how you behave, what you say, and what you put online.
  Of course, you do have to be careful and somewhat selective at times, in case your values are at odds with other people’s values. This can be especially true when it comes to politics and religion.

Why do you hold your values?

There will always be a reason why we hold the values we do. Perhaps it’s how we were brought up, or particular experiences in our lives. While it’s interesting to delve into the past to figure these things out, what’s most important is how we exhibit our values.
  I can remember my Dad once being three hours late picking me up from school, and perhaps that had an impact on me always wanting to be on time. Being on time shows you care about other people’s time and their lives.
  Another example is that environmental issues are very important to me. I used to be a wildlife conservationist, so I’ve made that clear on my website, and I know that’s resonated with some of my customers.
  You’ll have your own values – what are they?

Who do you want to do business with?

Who we buy from and who buys from us isn’t just a case of money. We don’t only choose the cheapest suppliers, we choose those who supply decent products, who deliver on time, who charge a fair price, who give honest advice, and who will rectify mistakes quickly without quibbling.
  We will also choose our clients. You may subcontract to a builder who pays on time and pays well, but they ask you to cut corners and you’re really not okay with that. There are times when we need to stand by our guns and do what we think is right, do what aligns with our own values.

Values and the power of storytelling

There are two ways in which your values can help you get more work, and the kind of work you want, and they are both about storytelling. The first is the stories you tell, and the second is the stories people tell about you.
  The stories you tell are whatever you put on your website, your social media, your leaflet, how your vehicle looks, how you present yourself, how tidy your kit looks. Everything you present to the outside world tells people what kind of person, and what kind of tradesperson you are.
  There are also the stories your customers tell about you – the referrals, did you turn up on time, do a good job, were you professional, pleasant to have on their property?
Your values and how you exhibit them creates your brand, and it’s your brand that will get you the work you want, but perhaps most importantly, behaving according to our values are a crucial part of how happy we are with our work, in our relationships and in life.
When we are living and working in a way that aligns with our values, it can be deeply satisfying. As Shakespeare wrote “to thine own self be true.”