Where Do Values Come From?

So, the Big Red Car is getting wet in the ATX — thunder and lightning. Sayeth the Big Red Car: “Bring it, Mother Nature.”

So The Boss is visiting with one of his best CEOs and they get into a discussion about values.

The CEO says: “Boss, I get it about values. Gotta have them. Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives — then VALUES! Got it. Yeah, can’t forget Culture either.”

The Boss says: “Good, you’ve got a perfect handle on things. That’s why you’re such a crackerjack CEO. That and my coaching, of course.” They both laugh.

The CEO says: “But, Boss, where do the values come from?”

The Boss looks at the CEO subtly trying to see if there are any obvious lobotomy scars: “Where do the values come from? Really? They come from you, dear brilliant CEO. They are your values.”

The CEO thought about that for a little time and then said: “Boss, help me discover my own values.”

The Boss said: “Dear boy, let’s do this thing. Right now.”

The CEO got a stack of blank 3 x 5 index cards and a fine tip — 0.5mm — black pen. The Boss said: “In a stream of consciousness write down the first ten things that occur to you in regard to values. The things you believe every business person should value in their startup or small business. Let the creative juices flow.”

The Boss ordered them both a couple of lattes and the CEO went to work.

First he wrote down “honesty.” He was on a roll.

Then he wrote down “hard work.” It was not a very long roll.

Then the CEO took a sip of his latte and wrote down in rapid succession: “teamwork, planning, excellence, accountability, competition”. Then he took a break and went to the bathroom.

While the CEO was in the bathroom, The Boss wrote down for him: “excellence, stakeholders, communications, respect, trust, fairness, frugality, urgency, mistakes, risks, technology, measurement, attention to detail, rewards, fun and commitment”. When the CEO came back from the bathroom, he had a very comprehensive list of values.

The Boss asked the CEO” “Are these really your values? Or are they some modern art you can’t really figure out and you just like the way they look on your reception wall?”

The CEO said: “A few of them I’m a little shaky on but I embrace all of them.” He was a little defensive.

The Boss leaned in until he could smell the CEO’s nervousness and only then did he whisper: “But, dear brilliant CEO, are you prepared to LIVE them? Because values are not what you think or what you say, they are what you LIVE. So, are you prepared to LIVE them?”

The CEO, who had not come to be the CEO by accident, leaned back and said: “Yes, you’re damn right. They’re my values and I’m going to live them.”

All over the world, angels rejoiced and the heralds blew perfect notes and a CEO learned from whence his company’s values came — from himself.

Here is a good little booklet which contains a list of values, use it free of charge and maybe the angels will rejoice and the heralds will blow when you establish your own values.

Sanitized Vision, Mission, Strategy, Values flip book 3013

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.


3 thoughts on “Where Do Values Come From?

  1. I really, really enjoyed the flip book, JLM. And, hey, I enjoy you too most every post. It’s been great getting to know you!

    • .
      Scott, thanks for commenting but this is the Big Red Car. JLM is some other guy — haha. Don’t tell The Boss or I’ll be in the garage all winter.

      Stay warm and happy.


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