The things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. – Goethe
We believe that values are among those things that matter most, so we have taken the time to discuss them here in depth.
For human life to feel fully meaningful and rewarding, it must consist of more than merely acquisition and consumption. Our individual lives must integrate deeply with the lives of others in order to bear the full fruit of our collective potential, and this does not just mean the lives of our immediate families. Relationships with friends, co-workers, and strangers must all be welcomed and honored and find their appropriate places within the many network s that make up our lives for us to be fully productive, fully alive… and fully secure.
Because we cannot survive by ourselves, and because we require that the riches of this earth be distributed by means other than the exclusive criteria of sheer strength and cunning, our species has, over the millions of years of its existence, developed an evolving protocol for increasingly inclusive behavior that enables us to lead our increasingly complex lives. We deviate from that and regress to smaller group identities which are more polarized and fearful at our individual and collective peril.
It often seems that are far better at steering our shopping carts according to the limits of our credit cards than guiding our lives in accordance with these principles. Given our culture and conditioning this is not surprising…but it is a problem — and one that we can solve by restoring to our lives more of the fixed stars which have slipped from the postmodern heavens. We must faithfully observe the fundamental principles of honesty, care for the earth, and cooperation for the common good if we would hope to ever explore the vaster reaches of all that a responsible and disciplined human freedom would make possible.
In our work as consultants, educators, coaches, and communicators, we have found that what is perceived to be valuable may differ significantly from what proves to be truly worthwhile. In many teams, departments, and organizations some people have begun to recognize that feeling more deeply connected and appreciated are rewards which often prove more valuable than raises or position. However the latter are still most often what most seek, on the mistaken assumption that they will give the independence and control over the resources that make our lives secure. More recent research into the survival of the species on our planet has proven Darwin wrong — it was not the fittest that survived but rather the most cooperative.
We have identified four Realms of Value that are aligned in all fully successful people and organizations.
The First Realm of Value is the Service/Product Realm.
It is the effect at the end of a long chain of causes, and depends upon all those values being aligned at every level. It is the smallest realm and yet the one which often receives the most attention. The values which need to be respected and demonstrated in order to produce full satisfaction within the realm of products and services include:
The Second Realm of Value is the Realm of People.
This is the creative realm where all the magic happens! This is where resources are transformed into tools which can serve the purposes of connecting our lives and uniting our efforts, of enhancing the real quality of the human experience, increasing health, peace, knowledge, beauty, understanding, and joy. The values that need to be demonstrated within the realm of people in order to produce full satisfaction include:
The Third Realm of Respect is the Planet Realm.
One of the fundamental demonstrations of intelligence present in all species of life is the ability to act on behalf of its own survival. If we’re not acting as stewards of the planetary life-support system in both our immediate and long-term decisions, we can be certain we’re making other mistakes that will undermine the success of our efforts. The values which require our understanding, respect, and cooperation to align with the forces of this realm include:
The Fourth Realm of Respect is the Realm of Wholeness Itself.
Words cannot adequately characterize what lies beyond all categories of thought. However our current science is increasingly eager to acknowledge influences which may lie beyond what can be measured by science or described by language. This realm provides the unchanging backdrop of the entire universe against which all change takes place. Its very absoluteness and constancy may well be the characteristics which make its respect a necessity.
To speak of it as spiritual can be very useful, especially in terms of providing us with a sense of perspective much larger than our own. To confuse it with any of the varieties of religious doctrine which undertake to interpret and apply it according to perceived human conditions is unnecessary and counterproductive. We suggest that considering how to align one’s intentions and behaviors with the following values can be highly productive and add real benefit to the organization’s real bottom line.
Ecology — In order for the purpose of our work life to succeed, we work in harmony with our environment and prevent or mitigate in the present any adverse effects our products or services might have on the planet and the other people with whom we share it. Production numbers resulting from planned obsolescence do not measure anything more than our lack of creativity and evolution.
Respect — We demonstrate respect for the uniqueness of every life and it’s amazing capacity to grow and adapt to by providing our people with the purpose, resources, freedom, accountability, and correction necessary to meet their specific goals and continue their ongoing development.
Honesty — We align our words with our true intentions to provide communications which are as accurate, direct, respectful, and transparent as possible. Our ethics demonstrate our respect for the entire network of relationships which radiate from our purpose.
Discipline — We discipline ourselves to demonstrate Right Effort by example, which enables us to achieve our goals through the clear vision of our purpose, the intensity, efficiency, and persistence of our action, and the spirit of our cooperation.
Purpose — We agree that the purpose of our work is to set an excellent example for our industry by directly improving the real quality of life for all members of our organization and by indirectly improving it for all who share the planet.
Creativity — We know the inspiration and creativity which give rise to our new work and invigorate our ongoing improvement, can only grow to fruition in an environment where we are free to explore, take risks, make mistakes and correct them.
Change — Our planet demonstrates two orders of change which are reflected in our personal and organizational lives. Cyclical Change is best illustrated by the seasons of the year and has correlations in the annual accounting cycle, the business cycle, and the cycles of life of the people who work together for the enterprise. Novel Change is best illustrated by the occasional magnitude of intense storms and unseasonably fair weather. In business novel change occurs through innovation, unexpected fluctuations in capital, materials, delivery schedules, downtime, etc.
Natural Law — The laws of the physical universe are as obvious as gravity and as mysterious as the charm of quarks. These laws determine the way in which relationships change in order to produce the growth, development, and evolution of physical life. Within this realm these constants must be respected and obeyed in order to produce high-quality results.
Beauty — Examples of beauty in nature abound in geology, all varieties of plants, and animals, and in human beings. Its apparent universal appeal seems to trigger similar responses in people of all ages and ethnicities, and all civilizations of which we have any record have expressed their appreciation of this value through many forms of art. Our efforts to express beauty in our work and our relationships can only improve the quality of life for all.
Stewardship — Although our planet is a veritable treasure trove of natural resources in all its kingdoms: mineral, vegetable, animal, and human, it is only through our wise stewardship of these resources that we can continue to exist and develop as a species.
Relationship — The relationships between natural laws, physical resources, and the processes of change can also be observed in the way human beings endeavor to express their intentions and meet their daily needs and desires. Enhancing the quality of relationships between individuals, families, communities, regions, nations, and species is at least our remedial, if not our original mission.
Life — this is certainly a value which most healthy humans cherish very deeply, it may be the healthiest people who enjoy it to the fullest. In some ways all the rest of the qualities in the Spiritual Realm of Respect are only giving extended expression and understanding to this.
Wholeness — power way best science continues to reveal more evidence of increasingly high degrees of connectivity between the infinite and the infinitesimal. The folk aphorism “What goes around comes around.”, it gives a very clear expression to this notion of wholeness. Another way of saying it would be “everything you cause in the whole system of the universe will eventually effect you in some degree.” Respecting this value can certainly improve our ethics.
Love — Our confusion of love with the human feelings of attachment, power, desire, lack etc. tend to make the direct experience of unconditional positive regard a rare one. It makes the experience of spiritual love even more elusive. So we add the notion of generosity to give a fuller sense of the nonjudgmental way in which life extends itself to all without restriction. The value which humans have associated with this kind of generosity for hundreds of generations is expressed in English as forgiveness. This is obviously a very useful and necessary ingredient in conducting human relationships effectively on the planet Earth today.
Truth — The value of observing truth as an absolute standard is a key tenet in many of the most evolved civilizations in history. It gives expression to a standard of fairness which is found in the golden rule, and a standard of accuracy for comparison and authenticity. It’s a precursor of law in the Planet Realm, Honesty in the People Realm, and quality in the Product Realm.
Order — The value of order appears on the planet level in beauty, natural Law, relationships, and change. In the realm of people is expressed through creativity, fun, purpose, respect, in fact all of the qualities of all of the realms in some way partake of order. The more closely we can align our intentions and behaviors with the natural spontaneous order of life, the happier, more fulfilled, and more productive we will be. This hardly seems to be a mystery.