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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Wallet Exercise: Values

Working with leadership clients, I often ask them to pick from a list of standard values to determine their personal and professional values. So words like honesty, courage, creativity, personal accomplishment or wealth, get plucked from a long-established list. Researchers would call this self selecting/self reporting. It's like asking someone: "Do you love your mother?"
Everyone is compelled to say, "Yes." But here's the real kicker question: When's the last time you called, visited, or wrote your mother?

It's not what you claim as a value but what you actually do that matters. Something I'm now asking clients to do is to look at their list of charges from their credit cards (or debit) and their check books to see what they actually did--bought, spent their hard earned cash for. So, when you have time, pull out your wallet, so to speak and see what you have inside it. Whose pictures and what mementos do you tot around, and then look carefully at how you've spent money over the past year. Wherever it aggregates is something you value.

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