Michael astutely wrote:
> It seems that there is a determination among many to blind themselves to
> the idea that values are anything to be concerned about. I'm not talking
> about religion based values either, although that also comes into the mix.
> Yesterday was independence day, I heard a lot of talk from many
> viewpoints about freedom. It seems that to many, freedom in america is
> "freedom from responsibility". "I can do what I want", or "nobody can tell me
> what to do..." In this case, the value seems to have nothing to do with
It would seem to me, throughout this whole discussion on values, that
we've become so focused on a few aspects of values, such as their reality,
and whether they may ever conflict, that we've drifted away from their
Shared values are an essential element of an organized society or
community. The lack of shared values will cause nothing but chaos and
anarchy. If this is accepted as true (I'm not opposed to disagreement)
then the question is whether the shared values created the community, or
whether the community created the values. I believe that a group of
people, who share similar values, will naturally group into their own
In the corporate world this can present a bit of a problem because very
few people go to work because they share a set of values with the other
people in the company. They go to work because they need a job, or because
they enjoy their work (the expression of their skills and abilities).
Getting a group of people, who do not necessarily share a set of common
values, to collaborate and integrate is a tough challenge. Hence the
disciplines of mental models, shared vision and team learning.
When a corporation is not able to develop a set of shared values, then I
believe that organizational schizophrenia emerges, constantly blurring the
organizations collective identity and purpose. The result is a lot of work
gets done by individuals and small groups, but none of it is as effective
as it could have been were it done with a holistic view.
At a more personal level, I think that one of the basic prerequisites of
personal mastery is that one should have deeply held values. Values allow
us to develop consistent and relatively predictable behavior, which I
think is an important part of being "relatable" and "trustworthy." This,
in turn, allows us to integrate better with the all of the communities in
which we live: Home, work, neighborhood, church, etc.
If what I've said is true, or at least agreeable, then I think there is
plenty of room for our values to conflict. And, if what I've said is true,
then there is room to suggest that at some level -- how local I'm not sure
-- there are a set of values that one or more groups of people consider to
be universal and axiomatic. These values are rooted in our culture, and
are an expression of what that culture collectively aspires to become.
Again, I believe that our values are a critical part of our identity. .
.individually and collectively
For what its worth. . ..
Benjamin B. Compton ("Ben") | email: email@example.com Novell GroupWare Technical Engineer | fax: (801) 222-6991
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>