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  • Forbes Coaches Council

What Does It Mean To Make Values-Based Decisions? 12 Entrepreneurs Weigh In

Originally Published on Forbes

Written By: Forbes Coaches Council

Many businesses have core values that are intended to serve as a guide for all their internal and external operations. Unfortunately, some companies give little more than lip service to their values and treat them as a branding tool rather than a moral and ethical compass.

If a company wants to keep its values front and center, it needs leaders who truly embrace them in every decision they make. But what does values-based decision-making look like in practice? We asked members of Forbes Coaches Council to share their thoughts.

1. No Grey Areas

I utilize our core values, such as excellence, integrity and respect, to make most major decisions. It is a simple yes or no as to whether the decision follows the core values. If it breaches any of the values, it is not a path that I will follow. I look for an alternate solution, or I do not take the action. - Dave Fechtman, Velocity Advisory Group

2. Clarity At The Leadership Level

When the leader is clear, the organization is clear. When a leader knows their values, they are able to make decisions quickly and with confidence. When the leader is unclear, the organization becomes chaotic. Clear values enable the leader to hire better, stay focused and be more confident in the direction of the organization. - Ken Gosnell, CEO Experience

3. Efficiency And Leverage

Values-based decision making stops you from taking too many tangents and overextending yourself or the business. When I started my company, I quickly realized that I could not be everything to everybody. All of the extra work would eat away at profits and create burnout. Values-based decision-making has allowed us to grow, scale and do so in a manner that increased our reputation in the market. - Brad Federman, F&H Solutions Group

4. A Sense Of Integrity And Fulfillment

During my career transition, I evaluated my values and chose a profession that aligned with them. With that alignment, I felt a sense of integrity, which was energizing. That energy allowed me to work a full-time job in advertising while coaching on the side. Even if I was physically tired at times, I experienced joy and fulfillment, which motivated me daily to succeed. - Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching

5. Tactics That Align With Values While Still Earning You A Profit

The biggest challenge for leaders committed to values-based businesses is figuring out what to do when a seemingly profitable strategy violates a core value. But that's when it matters to have articulated, strategic values. When conflicts arise, the solution is not to abandon the values but to find a better strategy that allows for the fulfillment of both aims. That takes courage and creativity. - Amie Devero, Eos Global, LLC

6. A Lens For Life-Work Rhythm

There is nothing worse than flawlessly executing a brilliant plan, only to realize you've created something that is soul-crushing. I know, because I've done that, and it took almost two years to rebuild my practice. How? I went back to my values. The goal is to design (and then create) the life that you crave and then architect your business to support it. Life comes first, always. - David Taylor-Klaus, DTK Coaching

7. Improved Transparency And Trust

When you make decisions in line with your values, there are no surprises for your teams, especially if they know you well. This not only builds trust by showing your authenticity, but it also allows others to make decisions in your absence. When your teams know how you would decide, they can make the same decisions for you, which helps you delegate more, as you will have more trust in your team. - Gordon Tredgold, Leadership Principles LLC

8. Staying Faithful To Your Mission And Yourself

Great leaders have a set of core values that distinguish them and guide them in critical decisions. In my leadership, values serve as a source of wisdom for sound judgment. They also provide me with the courage to lead and go against the grain in group decisions that are unwise, unjust or not aligned with the organization's core values. This keeps me true to the mission and myself. - Julianne Cenac PhD, The Leader Channel

9. Being Ready To Enforce Those Values

A value is not something you believe. It's something you are prepared to enforce. So, it's important not only to know what those values are but to be ready to enforce them. For example, we tell all new clients, "We won't lie to you, we won't lie for you, and you can't lie to us." If we find a client lying to us, we drop the client right away. - Helio Fred Garcia, Logos Consulting Group

10. Honoring Yourself

Values-based decision-making means living up to the things that are most important to me. That means saying yes to the types of clients who value those similar things, which, for me, are integrity, mutual respect, diversity and trust. It helps me to work with high-performing teams, those that want to make a difference in the world, and then easily say no to those that don't match my values. - Monica Thakrar, MTI

11. Following Your Gut

Core values reflect the essence of a leader. A clear statement of these values is essential. If something is out of sync with your values, you will experience internal dissonance of some kind. That is a red flag that it is time to explore other alternatives. Values clarity will ensure clear decision making and will be evident in how you present yourself and deliver your message. - Denise King Gillingham, DKG Coaching

12. Setting The Stage For Who You Wish To Be

Values set the stage for who you wish to be. Your actions and decisions define the character of who you are. Many people have great values but suffer from character flaws that impede success. The most successful people give action to their values with the decisions they make every day. This is how you build character, respect and integrity that is recognized by others. You are your decisions. - Jim Vaselopulos, Rafti Advisors, Inc.

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