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The importance of understanding your values

Can you remember any terrible dates? You’ve met someone in a pub, spent the evening together feeling increasingly bored, couldn’t wait to leave and then on the way home texted your friends to update them about how you had nothing in common and he wouldn’t stop talking about his job, what he earned, and what he spent his money on.

It didn’t take long for you to identify you had nothing in common. You might have met over some shared interests (I met this person when we were both walking our dogs) but when it came down to it, you didn’t have shared values. And identifying your values in the workplace is one of the most important things you can do at any career stage.


At Kinetic we think it’s really important to identify your own values, then evaluate how they sit against the values of your organisation or team at work. But in our experience, loads of people have never considered their workplace values – when we expect that values are the first thing you assess in a potential romantic interest.

If you are working in an environment that shares your values, you’re likely to feel more fulfilled and satisfied day-to-day. You’re probably more productive and committed, and less likely to be scanning LinkedIn jobs in your lunch break.


But what are values?

They are the attributes or behaviours that we think are important, and make us happy. Do you value money, and material possessions, or are you the kind of person who drives an ancient car and buys everything second-hand? Do you work to live, or live to work? Are you happier working for yourself, or do you prefer the structure and security of a large multinational?

I had a friend who worked for Facebook at a point when they had fewer than 20 employees, and as a result of the shares he owned is now extremely wealthy.

Some of his contemporaries used their money to fund start-ups, or enter the investment world, or try to found the next big tech business. My friend hasn’t worked in ten years and can mainly be found surfing in California. Because that is consistent with his values.


We run a values exercise in our innovative training workshops for clients, and without giving away our original content, here’s a sneak preview. Think about what you admire in others: husband, wife, partner, siblings, parents. Be clear about what exactly they do, or how they live, that appeals to you.

Now, it’s likely that those are precisely your values so it’s time to be honest with yourself: are you living a life consistent with your values? Are you in the right industry, the right company, with the right work-life balance, to live in a way that fulfils?


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