I’ve been taking a deeper dive into the DoKnowBe Tree as of late—especially the relationship between beliefs and values.

I’ve known for a long time that beliefs and values are intricately woven together. I suspect that values (those things that we hold as most important) come right out of our beliefs (those things we know to be true but can’t prove). These beliefs are things that relate to what we know to be right and/or good and/or beautiful in the world.

I would like to share some of my recent insights in case you find them helpful.

For two examples I’ll start with two beliefs—one that I still hold and one that changed for me almost thirty years ago. The first is that it’s right and good to care deeply for others. Caring for others might even be better than caring for myself. This is a belief I’ve held for a long time and still do.

The second, which I held for a long time but no longer do, is that we’re all pretty much the same. Some people are better at being this same way than others, but we’re all trying—or should be trying—to be the same in how we think, how we act, and how we live our lives.

As I just mentioned, I no longer believe this. This belief changed for me the first time I learned about what we call “wiring” when I was a participant in a DISC Behavioral Profile session. The DISC assessment opened my eyes to the different ways that people behave, and I came to realize that not everyone is trying to be just like I’m trying to be, nor should they.

While I’m cautious and careful, others are fast and more flexible. While I think about people as much as I do about the task at hand, others think about tasks much more than they think about people.

I previously saw these differences in others and thought that people who were different from me just weren’t clear on how to live or weren’t quite as good as me at living. I wasn’t upset with them, but I did subtly try to influence them to change so they, too, could live “the right way” (just ask my wife).

I’m generally not a very judgmental person, so I didn’t think ill of others, I just thought they were confused or not very far along at becoming what I felt people should be. So I quietly judged them and gave them grace at the same time.

However, I came to realize that being fast and less worried about making some well-intentioned mistakes is good for some people. In this world of many needs, we need people with many different ways of being.

This “aha” helped me realize that I had been quite arrogant in how I viewed and treated others. This particular change in my beliefs is core to the meaning behind the name Leading by DESIGN—each of us are unique and have different work to do in this world and, as such, we have unique designs in order to equipped to pursue that work.

Here are some values that come out of these two beliefs. Out of the first (it’s right and good to care for others) I have these values:

  • It’s important to listen well to others, even when I disagree with or even dislike them.
  • It’s important to help others even if there’s nothing in it for me.
  • It’s important to share difficult truths with others if it would help them grow.

Out of my revised second belief (people are different) I have the following values:

  • It’s important to seek others perspectives, especially when they are different from mine.
  • It’s important to have diversity of behavioral styles on any team I’m building.
  • While it’s important for a leader to be a good judge of people, this discernment should be done carefully after seeking a significant understanding of them.

Because I’m being a little more intentional about identifying my unique core beliefs, I’ve been capturing them as I become aware of them. It will be interesting to see how my list grows over the coming months. Maybe I’ll share my list—or at least a top ten—in a future post.

At the same time, I’m trying to identify the values that emanate out of these core beliefs so I have greater clarity about those too. I believe all of this will help me be a better leader and live a life that will be satisfying when I look back on it some day.

I hope you find these musings interesting if not helpful for your own journey as a leader. Please let me know if you have any questions or insights about this that you would like to share.

Thanks, and be great this week!

Image by camellia35. Used under CC By-ND 2.0 license.