Whether we know it or not, and whether we have written them down or not, we already have our own core values that not only drive our daily behaviors and shape our sense of personal but also power our self-control. I came across an interesting research article from 2009 by Brandon Schmeichel (Texas A&M University) and Kathleen Vols (University of Minnesota). It turns out that self-control is pretty critical to a lot of what we generally consider a successful life (anyone who has followed the 1960s marshmallow experiment knows that). This includes positive interpersonal relationships and academic achievement as well as, not surprisingly, the avoidance of things like conflicts in relationships, addictions and even over-eating.
Of particular interest to this blog post is the idea that, in many circumstances, self-control can actually be depleted by exercising it, but that it can be re-enforced by self-affirmations of one’s core values, especially after self-control has been challenged.
In essence, instead of congratulating ourselves after successfully warding off challenges to our personal values, we need to re-affirm those values to ourselves. See that delicious piece of chocolate cake on the counter? After walking past it without devouring it, instead of telling ourselves, “good job, good job, good job,” we instead should say something like, “Good health is important to me. Healthy eating is what I’m all about.”
But where do chocolate cake and self-affirmations come into play in business settings?
We love to celebrate victories. We give pats on the back, awards, recognition, and public acknowledgement when we’ve made it through difficulties or successfully navigated our way through challenges. This research suggests, however, that such celebrations alone may not re-enforce the self-control required to achieve the accomplishment again in the future. When recognizing successes, we also need to re-affirm the values that lead to those successes.
And if we have already identified and publicly acknowledged those values, it makes it that much easier.
“Congratulations, Marion, on this great success! We appreciate you and your hard work! We continue to stand for the integrity that it required for you to make this happen!”
Here are 6 steps for turning your core values statement from ignored poster on the wall to Pole Star Values that are tools for sustainable success:
- Identify the 3-5 Pole Star Values that drive your success (and make them action words)
- Create your Pole Star Values document
- Publish your Pole Star Values (yes, on break-room posters, but also on letterhead, at the top of meeting agenda, in email signatures, etc.)
- Re-affirm Pole Star Values EVERY time they are instrumental in your successes
- Review your Pole Star Values at your strategic planning sessions every 3-5 years.
If it’s been a while (or forever), since you’ve had a strategic planning session with your stakeholders? Well, that’s a blog for another day.
Looking for a facilitator for your next planning session, click here or call Todd at (208) 649-4788.