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Ideas can be nice. But doing what you believe in is more important.
I used to think values were things you'd pull out of a cloud at some point during a brainstorming session. "Oh yeah, we value that." Or "That's the type of impression we want to make." Turns out, while a good exercise, the things we said were our values weren't what we valued, just things we liked the idea or sound of. And there's nothing wrong with that, but we realised they're not values, just ideas.
For me, values should be something that change how you do the work you do. If you say you value something but there's nothing in your day-to-day working that aligns with that, there's a heck of a good chance you just have a bunch of nice ideas.
Values cannot be conjured up at the drop of a hat. The more I dwell on it, the more it becomes apparent to me that values are discovered. Found in how we already do our work, and things that change the way we do work. They come out of tough conversations, challenging times and moments where you don't quite know where to look.
Until recently, our values were fairly shallow — they looked like any other set of values you'd find floating around the internet. They weren't us, they were generic. And for our team, there was next to no alignment. Why do we do what we do, and how does that change how we interact with clients, or get up and do our work each morning?
So, I'm a believer in discovery and adaption. Some of our values have been uncovered over the years, others appear more relevant to what we're working on right now. But that's the beauty of it. We can change. We're not locked in. Thank goodness for the value of progress. It's the permission to do what we do, and do it badly sometimes, but always improve.