Saturday, September 25, 2010

Force Ranked Values

I have had the honor (or misfortune, depending on your perspective) of participating in the process of defining and force-ranking values with three separate companies. The process went approximately like this:
  • Brainstorm: everybody blurts out what they think our values are. Honesty, integrity, loyalty, stick-to-it-ive-ness, technical competency, ongoing education, etc. 
  • Group: can we lump honesty in with integrity? Efficient with productive? Creative with innovative? 
  • Rank: everybody gets five votes. 
  • Evaluate and Refine: do the values that floated to the top seem like a gut-level accurate representation of us? What is missing? What is over-emphasized? 
  • Define: come up with a pithy phrase to describe what each value means specifically to us.
  • Decide: usually done later by Director-level staff. 
    I loved participating in and facilitating those kinds of meetings - it's fascinating to hear how a group sees itself, and it feels a little like magic when it works out well (none of mine went haywire, thankfully). 

    It occurred to me that I could define my values in this job too, even though I'm not a group. I mean, I pretend like I am sometimes by having complex inner dialogue and role playing being someone else, but it's really just me. So I went through the steps with myself (it sounds naughtier than it was, sadly), and came up with this list.
    1. Do No Harm: help when I can, but at the very least, try not to hurt anyone, including myself
    2. Be Honest: be as real and straightforward and emotionally available as I can (without breaking #1 by violating my sense of personal safety)
    3. Have Fun: squeeze as much enjoyment out of each call, blog post, and photo shoot as possible
    Those cover at least 90% of my intention with the job. Sure, there's also "Make Money" but I believe that  will take care of itself as long as I'm sticking to my values. 

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