Recently while taking a Master's course in Management I encountered something I had never seen before.
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I had a Professor who started class in a refreshing way. I know, hard to believe isn't it? While most coursed I have experienced both in undergraduate and post graduate levels of study focus on methodology and practices of managing other people or even sometimes managing certain tasks, this professor took a different angle. The first week he had us focus on our own personal core values. I believe that this principle can be applied in all areas of management and suggest the practice for anyone who is in business for themselves, or managing business for someone else.
Discovering your values
As we began examining our personal core values we were told that this practice provided a foundation. Without this foundation personally how can anyone effectively manage someone else for any extended period of time? This makes sense to me so I jumped right in. This first step is the hardest part for some. Throw out your inhibitions or prejudices about these types of exercises and just try it. Write down 5 to 10 things that matter to you or that you want to spend more time developing. We will use this for the next step which is to create a vision statement.
Creating a vision statement
I created my personal vision statement and included two of my values that I wanted to work harder on and two of my values that I cherished at the moment. I used this to write down a two to three sentence paragraph expressing my goals and how I want to proceed. This was the preface for my document, sort of like a company uses a mission statement or a purpose in their business plans and operations plans. This was the way I wanted to navigate my personal life.
Keeping your values in mind
Next came the hardest part for me, I had to revisit the values I had listed earlier, the 5 to 10 items. I personally had come up with 8. It was time to expand those and really put down on paper why those were my values.
This gives you a chance to examine yourself and see why the things you find important are truly important to you. Some examples of what I used are; Faith, Compassion for others, and Honesty and Integrity. I then took each of these values and wrote a sentence or two expanding on their meaning to me such as this example; Honesty and integrity, I am honest in all my dealings with myself, my family and all those I come in contact with. I match my behavior to my promises, holding myself accountable and making amends as quickly as possible when I fall short.
With each of these values clearly outlined and defined for you to see what is to be done with them next? Hang them up, frame them or place them in a place where you can review them regularly. For the purpose for the class I was in we were told to review them daily. For everyday life I think that monthly or weekly would be enough. Read the document, re-examine yourself and your goals as you read this. This will provide you with a guide and compass to follow as you journey through other areas of life. This practice has helped me in my life and will help anyone who tries it to better themselves. It will provide you with a solid personal foundation so that you can develop your business or career without worrying about where you want to be headed.