planning results and values

Are You Leading From Your Values?

As a business owner, when do you get a performance review?

It may sound like a strange question, but it’s worth considering.  In the entrepreneurial world, we don’t have a supervisor who will give us regular feedback on our performance. What do you use to monitor your leadership performance? Which business metrics will have you take a hard look at yourself to find the source of the results in your business? Sometimes these metrics will tell you that you need to change how you’re leading your business.

All learning, behaviour and change is unconscious.  That is, the unconscious part of our minds digests learning, drives behaviour and initiates the change that we seek.  We may well consciously set a goal and take action on that goal, but our unconscious mind is running patterns and programs that affect that action, far beneath our conscious awareness.   Values-based leadership is the process of making the unconscious, conscious.  Then once the new, desired patterns are created, we can allow the unconscious to run them once again, so that we don’t need to expend valuable time or energy on them.

Values and Beliefs drive Performance

Values and beliefs drive behaviour, and behaviour drives performance.  If we want to increase performance, the most effective and sustainable way to do that is by aligning with, or shifting, values.  And values are the most unconscious of our unconscious programs.  Two of the prime directives of the unconscious mind are to store memories and to store values and beliefs.  In order to change behaviour and performance in a lasting way, we need to uncover our personal values to work with them.

Values-based leadership is a competency.  When our values are out of our awareness, we’re operating in unconscious incompetence.  We then uncover our values from deep within our psyche, and determine which values that are not serving us and which values are absent that are needed to achieve our goals, as we move into conscious incompetence.

As we choose new values and identify missing values that are needed to reach our goals, we enter conscious competence. Using the power of the unconscious mind we can swiftly insert the new values and/or change the hierarchy of our values to align with reaching our goals, and then new behaviours will be generated immediately and we move into unconscious competence in values-based leadership.

Decision-making is Unconscious

Decision-making is a great example of an unconscious program at work.  In early times, people made decisions based on instinct.  Survival depended on instinct-based decisions that were undoubtedly at the unconscious level.  As humanity evolved, we began making decision based on beliefs – again, unconscious programs.  Belief-based decision making is focused on beliefs that were formed by past experience.  When x happened, then y was the result, therefore I believe that x causes y, so I base my decision on this knowledge.

Values-based decisions are not concerned with what has happened in the past, and they require a conscious pause in order to prevent falling into default (belief-based decision) mode.  A values-based leader asks “What is the choice that will be in greatest alignment with our core values?” and in doing so, opens up to new possibilities that are not based on the past.  Values-based decisions are expansive, innovative and serve to create the future that is wanted.

The next time you review your business metrics, ask yourself how your core values and beliefs are driving that result.

Making the unconscious, conscious through values-based leadership is the key to high performance.