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Bringing your best self to work means bringing your values too


Every year on the first Friday back in the office we go blueberry picking as a team. It’s a strange thing to do as really it has no direct impact on what we do as a business yet, I wouldn’t want to start the year any other way. Why? Because my personal values matter, and as a human being, joy and gratitude are fundamental to me. They are the foundation on which I make decisions, lead the team and achieve great things.

On our three hours away from the office (we end the picking with lunch) there is lots of laughter, we chat about our Christmas holidays, things our families did that brought us joy, we talk about amazing meals we have eaten or places we’ve been and we chat about what the year ahead of us might bring. We talk through our vision and goals and we celebrate the people we are and the individual values that we each prioritise. Being away from the office ensures that emails aren’t being checked and that everyone is engaged and connected. This simple event supports us in setting up our team culture and expectations on behaviour, it provides the platform on which we operate for the next 12 months and it encourages our team to share and demonstrate their own individual values.

Sure, like most organisations we have company values, in fact, our offices are named with our values. I work in the Brave office along with Chris our Finance Manager and I am sure there are times when she wishes we didn’t have to live by the name on the door. They are a vital part of who we are, yet, to BE BRAVE, LEARN, FLOURISH, BE INCLUSIVE and to a LEAVE A LEGACY is only half of our team DNA. The other half is made up from the teams individual values and by asking your team to be present, you are inviting them to bring their personal values into your organisation.

The fundamental piece is alignment, if ambition is an individual value, that’s great, provided in our organisation that is achieved through passion and in a non-combative manner. In your organisation, it may be achieved through trust and friendly competitive rivalry. Taking a moment to talk through how you can draw together your personal and organisational values by your daily actions and interactions is time well spent, saying you value teamwork but not offering to support others in the team isn’t living by it. Saying that I personally value gratitude and never saying thank-you, isn’t living by it.

Core values are the combination of our organisation and team’s individual values and it is what makes NZIML a remarkable place to work. Our team are clear about the lack of tolerance for gossip and embrace the willingness in which we work to task and not time. We start the year with blueberry picking because we value our traditions as much as we appreciate our differences. We have alignment to the end goal, to provide our people with a positive and empowering workplace that allows individuals to be their best version of themselves.

Draw up a list and open a conversation.

  • Being accountable
  • Making a difference
  • Focusing on service
  • Delivering quality
  • Being transparent
  • Being reliable
  • Sharing positivity
  • Being thankful
  • Helping others
  • Staying true to the purpose of your organisation
  • Showing tolerance

If we learnt anything in 2020 it might be that being human matters more than being right, if thriving in 2021 is a goal in your organisation then maybe taking a little time out to establish core values could be worth more than you could imagine.

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