Five years ago I thought values were mostly bullshit. Just a thing politicians and pointy haired bosses use to justify their actions and tell us how to act. The nation’s values. The company’s values. Characteristics that don’t ring true or that our leaders don’t seem to follow themselves.
Around that time we worked with a client – a household name – who had an important mission and was a leading voice in their field. The more we got to know this client though, the more out of alignment we seemed to be. It’s not that they were insincere or fake, their priorities just didn’t seem right. Someone pointed out that they had different values to us.
After that experience we decided to try and define the values of our own organisation, to help us find the right kind of clients to work with. That was a powerful exercise and it soon became clear that we were most fulfilled when using our skills and experience to help good people who were doing good things.
I went from values denier to values disciple and in the last half a decade values have been central to the work we do at Freerange Future. We’ve worked with numerous organisations to help them define, shift, strengthen, share, live and love their values.
We’ve come to understand how values influence and impact self, family, community, workplace, culture and society. Most importantly we’ve learned how to use values for positive change.
Over the next 12 months I’ll be writing a regular series of blog posts here all about values. Together we’ll explore what values are and how they work. We’ll learn how to become happier and more fulfilled people. We’ll look at world history, contemporary culture and future possibilities through the lens of values. We’ll develop a values-centric theory of change for humanity to thrive in the 21st century.
Next month I’ll tell you a story of values 20 years in the making. A sad tale with a happy ending. And then we’ll get into the theory.