Clarity, Values, and Value

If we want to be values-driven, we have to operationalize our values into behaviors and skills that are teachable and observable.” ~ Brené Brown

This quarter (April, May, June), I’ve assigned themes to each month. The themes have helped me focus my work. The theme for April was disruption, to focus on how the Coronavirus pandemic was upending our standard practices. For May, it was what’s next? The idea was to generate useful tools to emerge from the disruption in order to move forward.

For June, the theme is clarity

Clarity is a critical element of knowing the value you bring to an organization. Much of the work I do with clients is about helping them understand and articulate the unique value they bring to organizations and to their teams.

Clarity is about determining what you’re good at; what you like to do; what you don’t like doing. Related to this, is how you do what you’re good at. How do you approach the issues and challenges you face?

Clarity is Also About Values

One of the most important books I’ve read in the past couple of years has been Brené Brown’s Dare To Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. (Amazon link). 

Brown devotes a third of the book to a discussion on values. 

Our values (per Brown) are the beliefs and behaviors that we hold most important. Daring leaders always carry with them clarity of values. This is an essential support, a North Star in times of duress.

Living our values means we operationalize them — we walk our talk; we are clear about what we believe and hold important and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviors align with those beliefs.

Brown notes that we need to name our values, and we can only have one set of values. That is, we can’t have a set of personal values and a set of professional values. We can’t shift our values based on context. 

Brown provides a list of values to choose from. She suggests selecting the two that we hold most important. Those two become our core values–those around which we’re willing to be vulnerable and practice courage.

We Can’t Know Our Value Without Knowing Our Values

So, if our values are our beliefs and behaviors, our value is the operationalization of our values. 

That “walking our talk” is our value. It’s what we contribute to our work; to our team; to our organization. It’s what we represent to others; what we can teach them and what they observe about us.

If we’re hoping to showcase our value to a prospective employer or client, we have to showcase our values as well. Our values drive our value — our unique contributions; what we’re really good at. 

Our value just can’t conflict with our values. 

What two core values did you select from Brené Brown’s list?

Which values will guide you to choose courage over comfort; what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy?

How will the operationalization of those core values reflect the value you bring to your employer or your team or your clients?

Send me an email at and let me know. And I’ll share my core values with you.

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