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  • Writer's pictureOlivier S.E. Courtois

Would You Be Able to List Your Top Five Values Spontaneously?

Lately, I have been called upon to make several decisions, some with long-term consequences. Some decisions were professional, others financial, others private and sometimes in response to unexpected events.


The need to continually make decisions can be exhausting. Moreover, the more we are called upon to make reactive decisions, the less mental space we have to make proactive, strategic and transformational decisions. I see many leaders today facing a succession of emergencies, with no time to think beyond the tactical issues imposed by the urgencies of the moment.


When making decisions, our brain 'scans' the situation through three prisms: our values (why do I see things in this way?), our strengths (what do I spontaneously feel more comfortable with?) and external expectations (what do I have to contribute?).


These three elements make up what is sometimes called our 'purpose', our 'Ikigai'. A reflection on our 'purpose' is therefore far from being esoteric or overly philosophical. You will agree that if it is our main guide when making decisions, it is appropriate to understand all its aspects, to be fully aware of the real motivation behind our choices.


However, when I ask the following question: 'Can you spontaneously name the five key values that drive you?', few leaders can answer positively.


Our values drive us. They are universal and stable. They correspond to a deep need. Ignoring them leads to frustrations, tensions, physical discomfort and inconsistent decisions. We also project our values around us and we shape our environment from our values. If you lead men and women, the culture of your group will be the direct consequence of your core values.


So how come that most leaders are not fully aware of their own values, while these drive most of their reactions?


And you, would you be able to name your top five values immediately, with no hesitation. How have they shaped your recent choices? Does your company's culture resemble your values?


Why not share your top of mind value hereunder? Mine is Entrepreneurship!


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