Many organisations have created, documented and shared their mission statement and values to help their employees understand their vision.  Often many hours have gone into choosing what may appear to be a few simple words.   So how do your values align to those of your employer?  What if you are looking for a new job – how can you ensure your values match?

Core values normally represent the company’s philosophy and tone it wishes to set throughout their people.  The words also can be converted to behaviours that the employer would like to be practiced when working for them.

Sometimes when companies are looking to launch and outline new values there may be a rolling of the eyes amongst the employees.  What they are really looking for is to identify those people who embrace the values and feel that they connect with their own.  Anyone who does not work with the values in mind may still perform well in the business but ultimately people who live the values will be memorable.

Understanding your values helps you understand your own definition of success.

So how do you find out your own values?  Here is a simple way to identify what is important to you and in turn your career.  Look at the list of words and what jumps out at you – circle those that resonate with you and add any that may be missing.  Interpretation is important when looking at what appears to be a list of words.

ambition, competency, individuality, equality, integrity, service, responsibility, accuracy, respect, dedication, diversity, improvement, enjoyment/fun, loyalty, credibility, honesty, innovativeness, teamwork, excellence, accountability, empowerment, quality, efficiency, dignity, collaboration, stewardship, empathy, accomplishment, courage, wisdom, independence, security, challenge, influence, learning, compassion, friendliness, discipline/order, generosity, persistency, optimism, dependability, flexibility

Once you have completed this exercise you can then group together words that may carry similar meaning for you – eg Honesty and Integrity.  What you are looking for is a handful of words that represent your value.  You then can work out whether you feel those values are portrayed in your areas of work, friends, and family.

Values are based on past experiences and can shape your future experiences.  We learn from our past and can change and influence our future.  The benefit of working out your values is that you can reduce stress, feel more accomplished, grow through understanding yourself more, be more motivated in your goals.

Maybe there is a mismatch in your values and those of your employer, or people within your immediate teams.  If you feel strongly about your values you may choose to look for new employment, new people.

Identifying values of others tends to be something you observe and identify in the course of working with each other.  You may also pick up on things in the job interview environment.  Asking the right questions at interview will help you ascertain the importance of certain values and you can use this as selection criteria when looking for a new job.

When discussing this exercise with clients it is easy to identify the values from the physical connection.  They feel when something is not quite right…they have a sense of what is not working for them.

Evaluating your values is an annual exercise.

Life changes, priorities change and in turn your values change.

Sally-Anne Blanshard is the Director of Nourish Coaching and partners with clients to manage their career path and develop job search strategies that work.