What are your values? How can this be helpful to your business?

Here’s an exercise I often do at the start of my coaching with clients which can help identify a number of aspects of what you sell:

  • to who
  • for how much
  • why people might want to buy from you

It also helps to define your overall brand and business culture. Defining a set of around 5 words will help you to focus on the qualities of your work you feel are of the utmost, unwavering importance to you – you stick to these no matter what. They shape the language you use with everyone in your marketing, sales conversations and customer service.

All of these aspects are scalable. Regardless of whether you work for yourself in a micro-business or run a multi-million-pound company, and it all starts with one idea:

  • Write down your top 10 values – between 3-5 is too easy… There’s a huge list at the bottom of this article if you’re stuck
  • Look at the list and take out words like “honesty” and “trustworthiness” – anything you’d expect others to have

Why? Because these are the typical values, most people would expect in others as standard. They are therefore not tremendously helpful in identifying who you are, what you stand for and doesn’t help in marking you out as being particularly different from anyone else – all aspects of attracting people who are wondering if they want to know/like/trust you and your company to fulfil that which you promise to deliver. These de facto values are a bit, well… “Meh”. It’s like looking at dating profiles which say “I like to have a laugh” – great, who doesn’t? Does that attract or inspire anyone to think “Now this is someone I want to talk to!”?

Are the words you are settling on ambiguous? Is that ok? It may very well depend on you and your services.

I recently met with a prospect in their office where they had a large glass panel proudly displaying their company’s mission statement. It spoke of “transparency” which encompasses degrees of honesty, responsibility, openness and responsibility. Or does it? There are still degrees of transparent – you can still see through rose-tinted glasses, after all. Or shades. Whilst “Transparency” is a relatively unusual term for one’s mission statement in this era of post-truth, perhaps it would be better defined by more words which avoid ambiguity and room for interpretation depending on the circumstances?

One of my clients from last year started out with the usual list of values, and once I’d crossed those out (not to dismiss them entirely, of course, but for the purposes of this exercise), they picked up words from a huge list I provided like “Strength”, “Boldness” and “Valour” along with customer service focused words such as “Authenticity”, “Service” and “Integrity”. “Valour” is a powerful word in itself, and one which is rarely used these days. It screams pride, honour, and in my mind, absolutely helps them to stand out from the crowd (they work in a crowded marketplace and is easily demonstrated in the work they create). It absolutely fitted with how they behaved in everything they did – working with me, stellar feedback from their own clients and from their friends and family. Plus, I firmly believe it has helped them feel that bit more confident in themselves (their testimonial noted it, so…)

That client has since gone on to encapsulate all these values within the language used in their:

  • website
  • social media profiles and posts
  • the language they use within all communication with prospects and customers

It also helps them maintain focus on the attitude they prefer to implement in all their work.

A list of values

Below is an extensive list (400+!) of human values and traits which may help you to get started on doing this exercise.

Abundance, Acceptance, Accessible

Accomplishment, Accountability, Accuracy

Achievement, Acknowledgement, Activeness

Adaptability, Adoration, Advancement

Adventure, Affection, Affluence

Aggressiveness, Agility, Alertness

Altruism, Amazement, Ambition

Amusement, Anticipation, Appreciation

Approachability, Approval, Art

Articulate, Artistry, Assertiveness

Assurance, Attentiveness, Attractiveness

Audacity, Availability, Awareness

Awe, Balance, Beauty

Belonging, Benevolence, Bliss

Boldness, Bravery, Brilliance

Buoyancy, Calmness, Camaraderie

Candour, Capability, Care

Carefulness, Celebrity, Certainty

Challenge, Change, Charity

Charm, Chastity, Cheerfulness

Clarity, Cleanliness, Clear-mindedness

Cleverness, Closeness, Comfort

Commitment, Community, Compassion

Competence, Competition, Completion

Composure, Concentration, Confidence

Conformity, Congruency, Connection

Consciousness, Conservation, Consistency

Contentment, Continuity, Contribution

Control, Conviction, Conviviality

Coolness, Cooperation, Cordiality

Correctness, Country, Courage

Courtesy, Craftiness, Creativity

Credibility, Cunning, Curiosity

Daring, Decisiveness, Decorum

Deference, Delight, Dependability

Depth, Desire, Determination

Devotion, Devoutness, Dexterity

Dignity, Diligence, Direction

Directness, Discipline, Discovery

Discretion, Diversity, Dominance

Dreaming, Drive, Duty

Dynamism, Eagerness, Ease

Economy, Ecstasy, Education

Effectiveness, Efficiency, Elation

Elegance, Empathy, Encouragement

Endurance, Energy, Enjoyment

Entertainment, Enthusiasm, Environmentalism

Ethics, Euphoria, Excellence

Excitement, Exhilaration, Expectancy

Expediency, Experience, Expertise

Exploration, Expressiveness, Extravagance

Extroversion, Exuberance, Fairness

Faith, Fame, Family

Fascination, Fashion, Fearlessness

Ferocity, Fidelity, Fierceness

Financial independence, Firmness, Fitness

Flexibility, Flow, Fluency

Focus, Fortitude, Frankness

Freedom, Friendliness, Friendship

Frugality, Fun, Gallantry

Generosity, Gentility, Giving

Grace, Gratitude, Gregariousness

Growth, Guidance, Happiness

Harmony, Health, Heart

Helpfulness, Heroism, Holiness

Honesty, Honour, Hopefulness

Hospitality, Humility, Humor

Hygiene, Imagination, Impact

Impartiality, Independence, Individuality

Industry, Influence, Ingenuity

Inquisitiveness, Insightfulness, Inspiration

Integrity, Intellect, Intelligence

Intensity, Intimacy, Intrepidness

Introspection, Introversion, Intuition

Intuitiveness, Inventiveness, Investing

Involvement, Joy, Judiciousness

Justice, Keenness, Kindness

Knowledge, Leadership, Learning

Liberation, Liberty, Lightness

Liveliness, Logic, Longevity

Love, Loyalty, Majesty

Making a difference, Marriage, Mastery

Maturity, Meaning, Meekness

Mellowness, Meticulousness, Mindfulness

Modesty, Motivation, Mysteriousness

Nature, Neatness, Nerve

Noncomformity, Obedience, Open-mindedness

Openness, Optimism, Order

Organisation, Originality, Outdoors

Outlandishness, Outrageousness, Partnership

Patience, Passion, Peace

Perceptiveness, Perfection, Perkiness

Perseverance, Persistence, Persuasiveness

Philanthropy, Piety, Playfulness

Pleasantness, Pleasure, Poise

Polish, Popularity, Potency

Power, Practicality, Pragmatism

Precision, Preparedness, Presence

Pride, Privacy, Proactivity

Professionalism, Prosperity, Prudence

Punctuality, Purity, Rationality

Realism, Reason, Reasonableness

Recognition, Recreation, Refinement

Reflection, Relaxation, Reliability

Relief, Religiousness, Reputation

Resilience, Resolution, Resolve

Resourcefulness, Respect, Responsibility

Rest, Restraint, Reverence

Richness, Rigor, Sacredness

Sacrifice, Sagacity, Saintliness

Satisfaction, Science, Security

Self-awareness, Self-control, Selflessness

Self-reliance, Self-respect, Sensitivity

Sensuality, Serenity, Service

Sexiness, Sexuality, Sharing

Shrewdness, Significance, Silence

Silliness, Simplicity, Sincerity

Skillfulness, Solidarity, Solitude

Sophistication, Soundness, Speed

Spirit, Spirituality, Spontaneity

Sporty, Stability, Status

Stealth, Stillness, Strength

Structure, Success, Support

Supremacy, Surprise, Sympathy

Synergy, Teaching, Teamwork

Temperance, Tenacity, Thoroughness

Thoughtfulness, Thrift, Tidiness

Timeliness, Traditionalism, Tranquility

Transcendence, Transparency, Trust

Trustworthiness, Truth, Understanding

Unflappability, Uniqueness, Unity

Usefulness, Utility, Valour

Variety, Victory, Vigor

Virtue, Vision, Vitality

Vivacity, Volunteering, Warmheartedness

Warmth, Watchfulness, Wealth

Willfulness, Willingness, Winning

Wisdom, Wittiness, Wonder

Worthiness, Youthfulness, Zeal


(Title image courtesy of STIGMAMA from Pixabay)

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Unit 5, Cobden Chambers,
Cobden Place, Floor 2
Pelham Street

Phone: 07734 386 777

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