3 Steps to Define Your Values

Last year at HOW Design Live, Sarah Durham spoke about “Integrating your Values and Your Positioning.” I learned that by defining our values, we can attract like-minded people, provide transparency into how we work, work in harmony with others and live a happier life.

Sarah also noted that referring to our values could help us make tough decisions!

For example, if we value “balance,” would we agree to work nights and weekends for a month? Not if we asked ourselves, “Does this align with our values?”

I was inspired by Sarah’s talk, and as I pack for this year’s conference, I’m proud to say that I’ve integrated my own values into my business. (Check out my values page!)

Your values are the traits your organization stands for most. Whether you are a large or small organization, you can define your values with these tips.

  1. Look inside and think about what is truly important to you. Some questions to ask: What difference do we want to make? How do we want our supporters to describe their relationship with us? What do we bring that we’re incredibly passionate about? (Sometimes, it’s helpful to figure out what you don’t stand for, in order to figure out what you do stand for.)
  2. Speak with members of your organization and find out what is important to them. If your organization is large, do this in smaller groups. Collect the data and see what the majority of the people have to say.
  1. Write down the values in a unique and memorable way. Make it authentic to your organization and conversational, like how a person would speak to their friend. That way, they are easily remembered and recognized—and easy to relate to!

This process takes time, reflection and refinement—but it’s worth it. It makes your entire organization more relatable and creates an emotional connection by letting your supporters know more about the people behind the mission.

If you need help sharing your values with your audience, let me know.