The Value of Values

So much of engineering leadership made more sense to me when I started to learn about values. My coach, Jessi Kovalik, did a lot of work to teach me about this concept when we began working together. I can’t overstate how much it fundamentally helped me have a more solid working framework for working with large groups of people.

I’ll be referring to values a lot over the course of this book, and how you can apply some of the base thinking in this chapter. That said, working to understand values isn’t a silver bullet to solving every problem. What it affords us is a deeper sense of where to start when building understanding and trust with a group of people. Unpacking what values a person aligns with most can help us understand what drives and motivates them. And the core of working together well is mutual understanding.

Individual Values

So, what are values?

Values are the fundamental beliefs that guide us, motivate us, and drive our actions. Values describe the qualities we want most to embody, they help us determine what is important to us. What do we essentially align with? What kind of person do we want to be?

Values can be related to ethics and what we think is moral. Cultural values can also reflect context that’s greater than an individual and has to do what’s important to a larger group.

If you pay attention, a person’s values dictate their behavior and ethics. Your values can be formed at a young age, and they can also be a reaction to events, and evolve over time.

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