Adding Value through Values

June 19, 2024

by Management Dynamics

In working with teams, whether as a manager, coach, or facilitator, a plethora of tools are available. One of my favourites, which has been refined over time, holds a key place in my toolkit: focusing on values.

When engaging with teams, I often find that members need to get to know each other better and understand why they exist as a team beyond their day-to-day tasks. What is the glue that holds them together? What is the potential of what they could create together? One effective approach is to identify the unique value they deliver as a team. While this works well, it doesn’t connect each individual to the team’s purpose at the intrinsic level where real motivation and passion reside. To achieve that, we need to explore values.

Values are an excellent starting point because they are universal—everyone has them, and there is no right or wrong. They offer opportunities to explore similarities and differences and connect us to a deeper part of ourselves. It’s an unthreatening yet profound activity. I use “values cards” where everyone selects their top values and then ranks them.

Participants first share their values with one other person and, depending on the group size, later with the wider team. We then record each person’s values on a flipchart and discuss the similarities and differences as a team, creating a team word cloud. This simple but insightful exercise helps everyone get to know each other on a deeper level. Understanding what motivates and frustrates each other is incredibly beneficial. In our team, we have used this understanding to change working practices and ensure we intentionally support each person to align with their personal values.

The final step is to connect the team values with the value proposition—this is how you get a truly motivational “why” for the team. This statement should be short and memorable; it doesn’t need to include every value but should connect everyone to it. As new members join the team, they should be inducted into the Reason statement, and everyone shares their values. This process is a fantastic way to get to know each other and connect everyone to their “Why.”

Want to use values cards with your team? We’ve been using values cards for decades so felt it was about time we developed our own ones that we wished we had – buy them here.

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