Values

…is the topic of this week’s Pearls of Leadership Wisdom.
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”Albert Einstein
What do you really value?
You probably sort of know, a bit. But have you really thought about it, and written your values down. And made sure that what you’re trying to do in your life and work accords with your values. Because if it doesn’t, you’re running at a brick wall.
In tune, or out of tune…
It’s difficult to be a happy nurse if you don’t value service and kindness. I have had reason to visit a hospital on a good few occasions over the last few years. It was clear to me that the majority of the nursing staff took no joy from service or kindness. I know not why, but they were miserable, and it showed, and coloured the days of those they were supposed to be caring for, and most of them weren’t going home.
But then I see a nurse who has made a heroic effort to attend the funeral of her late patient. She had travelled across a city to be there, finishing her journey with a sprint up the crematorium driveway. And she was smiling.
Values in tune with work = happiness. Values in discord with work = misery (and not just for you).
Useless values…
I look at bankers (the financially innovative ones, not the bulk of them)…what are their values? Well it’s probably money and winning. They have a role to play. Investment banking allocates capital efficiently throughout our economy and that’s essential.  As a service. A service to our economy.  But when the service runs the risk of destroying the served, as the banks almost did recently, their anti-social values need to be curbed by legislation and regulation.
I’ll put you over my knee…
Meanwhile the government, who value being seen to do something…anything…try to avert a future crisis by curbing the salary and bonuses of the top guys. That’s a bit like trying to bring up your kids by limiting the number of sweets they get. Necessary but insufficient. And I don’t see anyone else with a better plan. So the credit crunch will happen again. Why wouldn’t it? We’ve conditioned the kids to understand that if they play on the railway lines, it’s not a smack they’ll get; it’s a bag of sweets.
More useless values…
When journalists value sensation and the useless value of being first, you get newsflashes of soldier fatalities before their families have been told (standard practice on the BBC and others until very recently).
All change…
Values do change over time. Most people when younger have pretty clear values and interests and this sustains them for some years, maybe decades. But they can find themselves in the same job with evolving, different values. And the job doesn’t press any buttons anymore. And we need our buttons to be pressed. That’s what they’re for.
So what to do?

Simple: download this – Values – read it, do what it asks, reflect on your observations. Make sure you have the right values, both for yourself and for the rest of us. Then act and become like the nurse who did a great thing, who felt compelled to do it, and couldn’t stop smiling.

Mark

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