• Tips From '#Values: The Secret to Top-Level Performance in Business and Life'

    By Shanna Hanson

    Shanna HansonI can summarize this entire book with one quote: “Lead with values first, and you will never go wrong.”

    "But, I’m not a leader," you’re thinking to yourself. Aren’t you?

    The book #Values: The Secret to Top-Level Performance in Business and Life offers this definition of leadership from Sheryl Sandberg: “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” I believe this book is applicable to all of us, regardless of our titles.

    The author, Dr. Betty Uribe, or “Dr. Betty,” offers some interesting insight into her own life and the lives of those she interviewed for the book, including top-level generals in all areas of the military, CEOs of entrepreneurial organizations, and C-level executives in finance. Later in the book, she includes insights from their spouses. The stories, quotes, and anecdotes make this book more personal and applicable.

    Values-based leaders, as defined by Dr. Betty, are “leaders whose actions are congruent with their espoused values; leading with integrity, focusing on the good of the whole, and making a positive impact on others.” Congruency is particularly important. “The first step is getting clear on your values, and the second is following them without exception,” Dr. Betty writes. Sustainable leaders are “those whose values of honesty, integrity, courage, responsibility, family, wisdom, and leading with a higher purpose are at the core of their leadership style and decision-making.”

    Clarifying Values

    What are your values? #Values offers a hands-on opportunity for you to rank two lists of values, each from one to 18. It goes on to share the results of the types of individuals she interviewed for the book. I found the exercise valuable, but the interpretation was a little difficult to make. Perhaps that is the way it was intended. We are all unique, but we have commonalities.

    One commonality Dr. Betty identified among her interviewees was that they all led with a “higher purpose,” a purpose that was “bigger than themselves.” They also wanted to be not only great leaders but great followers. They were teachable, welcoming honest, courageous feedback. I particularly enjoyed the military examples, gaining a whole new perspective of our military and its leaders. They had to be great followers to be great leaders.

    Dr. Betty delves into other areas of value-based leadership, one of which is strengths, using Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment. Accordingly, the highest-ranked strengths of her interviewees, in order, were:

    • Strategic: Sorts through the clutter and finds the best route; sees patterns where others see complexity
    • Achiever: Constant need for achievement
    • Relator: Likes being around close friends; comfortable with intimacy
    • Learner: Always drawn to the process of learning
    • Activator: Impatient for action; once a decision is made, the activator must act
    • Arranger: A conductor who enjoys managing many variables; always looks for the right configuration

    Building Strengths

    What are your strengths? The StrengthsFinder 2.0 provides you with an online code to take the assessment, and the website offers you the opportunity to upgrade and go deeper. Knowing your strengths can help you find “the center point of what you love to do, what you’re best-in-class at, and the passion that drives you,” writes Dr. Betty, something she calls your “genius.” She goes on to say that “once this happens, a person will never work a day in his life because work feels like a hobby.” Who doesn’t love a good hobby?! That alone is motivation enough to identify your strengths and find your genius!

    In addition, she advises readers to focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses. Focusing on a weakness may improve it, but a weakness will never become a strength. “When you couple strengths with your values daily, you are able to create sustainable results,” Dr. Betty says.

    We learn our values from those who go before us and walk beside us. “Pivotal moments in our lives shape our values,” she adds. “Our history and our decisions shape who we are.” #Values suggests you have a mentor and be a mentor. Others look at you differently than you look at yourself. Has anyone ever suggested you do something you thought was impossible, but you made it happen anyway just because they saw the potential and believed in you? Therein lies the value of a mentor. Bring someone alongside you and make that happen for him or her. Powerful! 

    #Values shares leadership theories, a decision making model, and ends with Dr. Betty’s Top Ten Guiding Principles. I’m impressed that she has a top 10 and can articulate them. Can you? She explains that, “It won’t do any good to know what your values are if you don’t know how to incorporate them into your life. Even more importantly, it won’t do anyone else any good and will lessen your influence if you don’t integrate your values with every action, every decision.”

    Shanna Hanson, FHFMA, CHC, CC, manager of business knowledge, is the Human Arc leader with responsibility for research and reporting to executive staff on all legislative and environmental changes and trends impacting the company’s health care markets, services and product-development initiatives.

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