How to Activate and Align Your Values When Under Pressure

Ideas from A businessman the donors are theirs.

In times of high stress, core values ​​can seem impossible. Who has time for being “confident,” “innovative” or “connected” when they are overwhelmed by so many emails and threatened by change or termination?

In these cases, patterns and vinyl stickers on office walls or words removed from the About Us page of the website are returned. How many people can remember their company’s values, never mind use them as a guideline for decision making and a basis for team building and trust?

Related: Want to Succeed? Define your company values

How corporate values ​​emerge

Standards are important. Whether you can explain them clearly or not, you have values. Your company has standards and they are set by executives – not customers – as well.

Guiding principles shape employee behavior. If managers value financial performance above all else, employee well-being, environmental impact or social cohesion may be overlooked. Effective advertising is new, and no training program will change your culture if the guidelines are inconsistent or inconsistent. Employees look around at what they perceive as ridiculous company standards when leaders don’t walk the talk.

The value is in the problem

Problems arise when there is a conflict of values. For example, imagine you work late at night and sacrifice family time. If the main value is family, you will start to resent work. Or maybe you spend too much time taking care of your family when the main benefit is productivity. You may be angry with your family. There is no right or wrong; Your pattern profile is completely unique.

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In life’s journey, purpose is your North Star and principles are the flame that lights your path. Landing can be challenging, but knowing what’s important and taking action reduces confusion and increases achievement. You will have a “why” and a light to guide the “one.” If the flame of your values ​​burns out, you – and your team – may feel lost. In the face of uncertainty, we engage in primitive survival mechanisms, including our negatives, to keep us safe.

Are values ​​the only thing that makes sense?

The missing link in pattern making is our physiological state. When we are uncomfortable, afraid or unwell, our values ​​change from desire and cooperation to primacy and protection.

There is an ancient part of the brain called the amygdala. It analyzes the input coming from our mind and triggers strong emotions to help protect us from fear. This can save our lives if a lion wanders into the office. It saved the lives of our ancestors who traveled in challenging environments where threats to survival were commonplace. Fast forward to modern life, where inboxes are overflowing, increased by internal pressures and conflicting demands. We are our own worst enemies because in order to manage the confusion, we need to be calm, stay energized – but we sleep less and worry more than ever.

The fire of our principles is reduced to a splinter under chronic suffering. Our acceptance window is shrinking. We become a smaller human version of ourselves. Driven by basic survival emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, hunger or hatred, creativity and collaboration are impaired. Our values ​​come down to survival rather than success.

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Link: The foundation of core values ​​is what makes a company’s culture great

Find your foundation of peace

Principle-based leadership requires a conscious shift from fight, flight or freeze into a state of calmness: body, emotion and mind. How to make peace? Create space in your day. Plan a short break. Use breathing techniques, meditation, and time in nature to reset your nervous system.

Train yourself to be safe by turning off your phone when not in use. Your phone is a tool, don’t save it for a friend. It’s creative technology, and it grabs your attention.

Polyvagal theory suggests that our nervous system can progress from calm to active, confident, and high-functioning. In advanced operations, you can aim up to the edge of the attack plane while in deep dive mode. This is a golden zone for values-based behavior – and a 500% productivity improvement.

When you trust your environment, yourself and your team, you will develop psychological safety and adapt to a culture that promotes values.

Value as quality

Your standards should be practical. Instead of expressing these desired qualities, they should be a way to identify the people you believe in. For example, if you value kindness, your characteristic is: I am a kind person. Now, what does a kind person do? Only, they respect others, care and compassion.

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So we continue to build micro-actions around this feature. Start with something you can achieve in 60 seconds or less. Prepare your environment by leaving appropriate signs or reminders. As a kind person, I can choose gratitude as a micro-behavior that should be implemented. So I set a reminder at 4pm every day to go to someone with thanks, care or support. By repetition, this is added to my operating system as a practice. I’m sending positive vibes around my emotions. I am becoming the person I aspire to be through purpose, determination and practicality.

We are the sum of our actions. Even a company’s value as an innovation requires a web of complementary actions, from energy to goal setting. Leaders who value innovation should allow it to emerge. Attitudes like relaxation, which take us out of the fight-flight mode, to reflect and play will encourage innovation.

Follow this process to run, improve the quality of the work. Build rhythm in your work and life.

Related: 8 Principles Every Company Should Live By


Instead of adopting aspirational values, use values-based behavior. You have to change yourself, your team and your business one small action at a time.

Remember that the most important risk to values ​​is suffering – so stay calm. Be the change you want to see in your organization. Cultivate your morals so that the fire burns rather than burns. Lead the way, and your team and culture will follow.


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