Core values are usually 1-3 words; think along the lines of characteristics. So take a look at what you wrote down in steps 2 & 3 – the driving factors behind a decision and your evaluation of the outcomes. Look at those answers to the questions asked. You should be able to find some recurring themes in those answers. Pay particular attention to the impact-related questions, and also the feelings-based answers. This is usually where the core values show up. Try to identify 10-15 common words, phrases, feelings, or outcomes. Some things I’ve seen come up for other leaders at this step are words like – humble, confident, resilient, teamwork, family, transparent, collaboration, boldness, authority, balance, friendly, reliable, innovation….just to give you an idea. You’re looking for 10-15 common words, phrases, feelings, or themes that showed up in your answers to the above steps. Once you have that, you’re ready to move onto step 5.
Step 5 is to discuss that list of 10-15 first draft core values with 3-5 people you lead at work…if you’re doing this for your personal core values, discuss with the friends and family who know you the best. You’ll want to share with them the working list, as well as a summary of how you arrived at that list. You may want to share one or two of the decisions you evaluated, and some of your answers found in the steps two and three. Then, ask them if they agree or disagree with those 10-15 words on the list. Also ask them to add any words they feel are missing. Then, and this is the most important step…ask them to identify the top 5 values they think apply to the workplace (or you, personally, if finding your own core values).
And then finally, you’re ready to make your final selections. You’ll want to identify 5-7 values, write them down, along with an example of what they mean in this workplace context. Note which core value aligns with each of those decisions you evaluated in the first step of this process. That gives you an example of what it looks like to make decisions using core values as your guide.