Mary Barra - A CEO's Case For Knowing Your Values

By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

Being clear on your values and a heartfelt commitment to living them prepares you to make decisions no matter how tough it gets.

Do you ever struggle to make decisions on a day-to-day basis?

How about when challenges seem to be coming at you from all directions?

Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors; offers us some priceless advice as to why knowing what's most important to you can help with steering your way through the challenges we face in our lives.

In a post on LinkedIn, Ms Barra shared what it means to live with integrity and the role that knowing where we stand in relation to ourselves and others plays in this:

"Follow your North Star: As you go through the twists and turns that typically happen during a crisis, go back to your core values. They will guide you on what to do.

Do the right thing even when it’s hard: It’s really easy to live your values when things are going well; it’s more difficult when the going gets tough. It’s important for colleagues and employees to trust that you will make the right decision, no matter the circumstance."

What Mary Barra is highlighting is the power of knowing what is most important to us; our core values, like the examples of kindness, respect or courage. Having this heightened level of self-awareness helps to prepare us for any form of adversity. She acknowledges that living by the values we choose to live by is not easy when we face challenges, but sticking by them is a way to build trust with those we work closely with. This means we risk losing people's trust and respect if we simply react to problems without any form of personal compass we can refer to. This advice doesn't only apply to work but also loved ones too.

If we want to give ourselves the best chances of leading in an uncertain environment, then we need to invest the time and effort in being clear what we value the most in life. The work of uncovering our core values - the personal standards we strive to follow - may not seem like something that should be at the top of our to-do lists. However, we will reap the rewards of going into unfamiliar circumstances knowing where we stand with ourselves and others.

Here's the original post from Mary Barra.

Intrigued to learn how values relate to setting goals and making meaningful progress? Here's an interesting perspective on this from millionaire investor James Altucher.

How To Apply This

Detecting your values is ongoing work, here's a couple of questions for you to ask yourself in order to help you increase your understanding of them...

  1. Thinking about the people you admire the most, what are the qualities you appreciate about them? Why those qualities?
  2. What's the first thing that comes to mind that's important to you and it can't be a person(s) or a thing?

    Would you appreciate learning more about how you can uncover your core values as a means to building better relationships with others at home and work?

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