My first exposure to values and a “mission statement” was when I was working with a UK-based multi-national organization. Found it pretty cool. Especially the bit when my manager (who also happened to be the Associate Vice-President of the company!) suggested that the company values are universal in nature, meaning I can adopt them as my personal values.
And he was right! Though he didn’t tell me that those values will evolve over time into a set of them that truly resonate with me and my beliefs as a living, breathing human being.
What’s great is that everyone’s got values. But they aren’t the same as ours. Heck, even thieves, murderers and, con(wo)men have them — and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to share any of your values with theirs. But then, you may. Who knows?
The point is simply this — having values is great, but respecting other people’s values is even more important. Particularly if you’re in a support profession (psychologist, counselor, mentor, consulting, coaching etc.). They say one’s eyes are a window to their soul. In my opinion, respecting other people’s values is a gateway to their heart.
Acknowledging your client’s values (and hence their beliefs) is one of the fastest ways to a deeper connection. It goes beyond rapport-building and surely beyond those superficial tactics that people employ to “break the ice” or “warm-up the conversation.”
Not saying all those aren’t important. They can be. Just that people seem to have overused it. I’m a “long-term” person and will always appreciate and encourage support pros to go for the “deeper” connection. I’ve had many friends and even strangers open up to a conversation that I would not have otherwise. And these aren’t mere “secrets” they wanted to share but deep issues they dearly wanted to resolve.
What could’ve possibly trigged that response? A simple values-based question. Something as simple as, “So, Steven, what type of business would you like to invest in?”
What followed next was something close to magical. And that’s because I’d never thought Steven likes to talk to a non-finance person like myself.
Think values. Go deeper.