Do we talk too much about values?

We talk a lot about values in organizations…perhaps too much so. It has become somewhat vogue to talk about values (find me one person who feels values are NOT important), but sometimes in doing so we are just trying to sound smart, rather than focusing on living those same values.

I feel we can probably learn more about values from those who are serving and loving quietly away from the limelight, and not worrying about communicating their values to others. Unfortunately, our society and organizations seem to lack many of these true role models, and we instead settle for looking up to those who speak the loudest, rather than live the life they talk about. We promote and revere charisma, rather than service.

For a recent research project, I interviewed a group of nuns who had given up their lives, taken a vow of poverty, and devoted their lives to service. I am still in awe of these women and will treasure my experiences interacting with them for the rest of my life. They left me with a quote from Mary Teresa of St. Joseph (a woman who devoted her life to caring for the homeless and orphans in Holland, Germany and America). I think it should be an anthem for all organizations:

“Try practicing love for a year and only then begin to preach, and your words will fall on well prepared soil…”

Replace the word “love” in the quote with “values” and you have a great challenge for your organization: Live your values, don’t preach them. Quit talking about what you “should” do…and do it. Quit hammering your followers with value statements and high-priced communication plaques. Live those values authentically and genuinely, stop talking about them, and (ironically) the values will be better imparted into the followers around you.

Now if we can all just learn to keep our mouths shut.


About Tim Vanderpyl
I am a student of leadership and human resources, and I'm blogging to share some of my thoughts and ideas with readers. I'm a CHRP (Certified Human Resource Professional) at a large healthcare organization, a graduate of Regent University's Doctor of Strategic Leadership program, and lover of the life that God has gifted me with.

One Response to Do we talk too much about values?

  1. Ambrose Hambright says:

    Very good info. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance (stumbleupon). I’ve bookmarked it for later!

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