While listening to a divorce attorney tell a story of a legal victory that helped his business become known, I asked him, “How do you square what you did with your personal values?” Luckily, he is a pragmatic man and not easily insulted. He knew what I was asking, which was, “How could you do that to someone?”

His response was simple yet complex. “ My highest priority is representing my client to the best of my ability, and as long as I make MY client win, I sleep like a baby every night.” To him, winning is the value, above all else. Simple, right?

While we aren’t faced with challenges to our integrity every day, think about the last time you were. How did you resolve this conflict? What resources shaped your decision? Would you do it differently today?

In today’s tricky, often polarized society, it is clear that we must know where we stand on specific issues. Many of these issues trigger deeply held beliefs based on foundational values we carry deeply. As a leader, these strongly influence how you treat your team members, employees, customers, and competitors. 

Leading others with excellence, we think about rigid sets of “rules” that we need to do or establish. We think about the strategy, the system, the processes, the recruitment; we pay attention to workspaces, connectivity, or commuting issues. Because we are dealing with human beings, and humans thrive or strive in the context of cultures, the examples you set as a leader will show the kind of organization you are trying to create more than words. As Lee Iacocca said, “If you set a good example, you need not worry about setting rules.”

Great results happen when you instill trust in your organization and genuinely live by clear, known organizational values based on your company’s ethical principles. Without values that hold people together, individuals act in siloes, accountability and often performance is poor, and ultimately, organizations fall apart.

When I founded Noble Adventures, I knew that attracting the right clients to create a rich, transparent, and purposeful company included expressing my values openly and honestly. This is one key to sustainability.

I made two columns and had to decide who I wanted to serve. It came down to the values that I hold dear. I knew that clients who wanted traditional leadership development approaches were not a good fit. Instead, they must value innovation and creativity through unique approaches human development.

I knew that if the leader was convinced that feelings, emotions, and even the word “love” had no relevance in the workplace, it wasn’t a good fit. If a leader is unmoved by the complexity of our time, and believe people should just “get back to work”, they are not a good fit. 

You see, those things matter, not only for me, but for the global community of partners crucial to the Noble Adventures’ journey.  We lead loud and proud. At Noble Adventures, we:

  • Lead by doing the right thing and putting the greater good first
  • Passionately believe in serving others
  • Create meaningful engagement that benefits ALL stakeholders
  • Embrace chaos with a spirit of innovation, as a time for purposeful change and rebirth
  • Develop a strategy “roadmap” while remaining agile and flexible to navigate constant change, and course-correction
  • Believe continuous improvement serves a purpose greater than ourselves
  • Believe our mission is a calling
  • Embrace the idea that we change when we are uncomfortable, and challenges are a gift
  • Build bridges of fluid connectedness that serve our people, our companies, and our world

Being true to our values and proudly sharing them is an act of vulnerability, which is an act of courage. Organizations driven by values are more able to withstand major challenges and external pressures for short term gains. Values strengthen you, not the other way around. Values make you different; they will sustain your organization over time to take that unique place in history as a meaningful company that was not only good for business, but good for the world.

Christina Dyer is the CEO of Christina Dyer International, an Executive and Team Coaching company transforming lives globally. She is also the founder of Noble Adventures, a leadership adventure retreat company that leads individuals and teams through real-world service projects in developing countries for personal and professional development. Leadership. Impact. Adventure.

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