Friday, November 1, 2013

unCon 2013 Session: The Unrecognized Value of Values

Moderators: Katie Rae and Mark Guadagnoli

Today at MassTLC unConference Katie Rae and Mark Guadagnoli sparked a thought-provoking conversation on “the value of values,” ranging from personal to organizational.  The session began by touching on how values influence motives for a startup and the notion that those values will empower people to make great decisions.  This inevitably makes establishing values a crucial part of starting a company.

Staying true to the name of unConference, participants broke into small groups to collaborate on a list of three values we agreed were most crucial for a company – no matter the size or age – to follow.  When the five groups came back together to share our chosen values, conversation opened up about how values might intersect and how we can make them actionable.

One of the major themes of the discussion was creating a sense of community and establishing a culture within your company. The entire room was more or less in agreement that “being human” is an essential value.

Another hot topic was the intersection of honesty, integrity, and ethics; where they overlap and where they deviate from each other.  Questions were asked like “can someone have integrity but still be dishonest?”  The debate of the interpretation of these values really led the group to look at how we define our values and consequently, do we even concretely know what they are?

When asked, we found that less than 5% of participants in the session knew their company values offhand, revealing to the group that first and foremost, your company needs to sit down and have the conversation that nails down the concrete list of values.  In world of jam-packed schedules, it’s preferable and more beneficial for a company to spend a little time now on establishing values, than a lot of time later.  And as one participant concisely put it, you don’t have time not to.

Shannon Todesca


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