Scott Bristol's 'Values at Hand'.

Why do Values Matter?

Although values are often talked about as being very important, both personally and in business, why do they matter? The short answer is: “Values are most present in our spontaneous speech, consequently our values influence our approach to group problem solving, our decision-making, as well as our personal motivation”.

Cooperative competency is the ability to achieve intentional results through the use of language. In organizational life two key questions that relate to an employee's 'cooperative competency' are:

  1. Can s/he do the task? This is the skill (problem solving) question.
  2. Will s/he do the task? This is the motivation question.

Implicit in this approach is the recognition that all organizational tasks are interpersonal or cooperative in nature by the very fact they exist via languaging. Any task that involves language is interpersonal or cooperative in nature.

"Language was never invented by anyone only to take in an outside world. Therefore, it cannot be used as a tool to reveal that world. Rather it is by languaging that the act of knowing, in the behavioral coordination which is language, brings forth a world. We work out our lives in a mutual linguistic-coupling, not because language permits us to reveal ourselves but because we are constituted in language in a continuous becoming that we bring forth with others." (Maturana & Varela, 1987, p234-5)

 LJMap's values measurement, mapping, and coaching helps address both these questions.

  1. Skill: Values point to or engage self aer in skills. Value words frame problem solving dialogue congruent with different skill complexity. Value words as speech acts are behavior. The value words self uses declares self's intentionality: how self is looking at or orienting to a given event and how self wants others to look at and orient themselves to the same event.
  2. Motivation: Meaningful values that are motivating values by their very nature are self-reinfnd othorcing and self-sustaining. Self will practice his or her motivating values; spontaneously approach problems from this orientation, without external direction or management. 

Values Coaching – Learning about Your Personal Values

Values’ coaching involves knowing how to make the client more aware of the specific value words he or she uses spontaneously to initiate and frame problem solving. The goal is also to heighten the client's awareness of the consequence of using his or her identified value words has on 'self competency' and on 'cooperative competency':

 Self Competency involves awareness of how self's 'languaging'- choice and use of values words, influences self's motivation and skill. Identified meaningful values subdivide into three emotional themes: concerning values, motivating values, or aspiring values. The excessive use of and attention to concerning values can be de-energizing and lead to depression. But, a healthy awareness and appropriate attention to self's concerning values creates a sense of foundation from which self can move forward and focus on motivating values. To keep self engaged in life self needs to intentionally practice motivating values regularly. Self keeps his or her meaning system and motivation alive through languaging and problem-solving that builds on shared meaning- mutually activating a similar values set. The occasional activation of aspiring values inspires self, gives self a vision to strive towards, but excessive attention to aspiring values keeps self disconnected from the present.

Cooperative Competency involves the intentional ability to create shared meaning with others by using a common set of value words, written and spoken, in day-to-day problem solving and decision-making. Shared meaning results in effective teamwork: a) individuals are motivated to complete the task, and b) individuals complete the task in a manner that meets or exceeds the member's expectation. Shared Meaning is achieved when people problem solve from a similar set of values. A specific set of values applied to a given situation is also know as a problem solving orientation, and are a subset of a natural worldview.

Five Characteristics of Values and Values Measurement

After reviewing the study of values five characteristics standout as being verifiable based on universal human experience. These five characteristics create the parameters fundamental to the Life Journey Map's® values theory and measurement methodology. They also represent a face validly litmus test for of any values measurement methodology.

  1. Values are different states of intentionality that when activated guide behavior.
  2. When we practice, actualize, or embody our priority values we experience our lives as meaningful, significant, and important.
  3. Values are a dynamic set of choices that we continuously prioritize or rank relevant to the situation at hand.
  4. Values when expressed verbally or in writing create an expectation that guides, impel, and legitimizes a range of behaviors.
  5. We use 'value self-awareness' to evaluate the appropriateness of our behavior as well as others'.

Customer Alignment

In the context of business, the desired customer relationship determines the values and behavior necessary for success. For the employee, organizations are an “opportunity to practice” personal values that are meaningful and significant. The leadership challenge involves aligning the values of the workforce, culture, and metrics in service of the desired customer relationship.

Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles

The intentional use of ‘values’ to align leadership, the workforce, and the strategic plan, with the desired customer relationship is the challenge of chief executive officer.

Individuals and groups are motivated to practice the values that are personally most meaningful.

Measuring and Mapping the Values Alignment

‘Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles’ as strategic guide demand a measurement methodology that provides both 'state descriptors and 'process descriptors'. 'State' and 'process' descriptors are the necessary building blocks of any means-ends methodology used for planning and effecting meaningful change (Simon, 1996, p.210).

The Life Journey Map® methodology can be used directly and indirectly to measures and map 130 different values. 130 are necessary to capture the diversity of values present in different written texts and in order to perform document analysis.

Direct Measurement involves individuals completing an online values ranking:

Indirect Measurement involves document analysis of:

Customer Relationship Orientation (Developmental Worldview)

Value scores, including all 130 values, for an individual, group, or document when mapped onto the Customer Relationship Orientation create a distribution graph. Where the graph peaks represents the primary developmental worldview of the individual, group, or document.


Customer Relationship Orientation        ©Copyright by Scott Bristol








“If not”- Working relationships are stressed.
“Profitable At Market Transactions
“Excellence in Every Product and Service”
“Anticipating Customer’s Needs”
“Partnering, Risking and Creating for a Better Future”
“Innovative New Synergy”
“Stewardship, Transformation, Sustainability
Measurable Values (Partial list from 130 different values)

The seven steps are organized in a developmental sequence or path that provides a 'process description'. Inherent in a developmental sequence is the logic that 'lower' order values and behaviors need to be accessible before 'higher' order values and behaviors can be realized. 

Mapping and comparing different direct and indirect measures will indicate areas of alignment and gaps or differences. Effecting meaningful change usually involves addressing a 'meaning gap'. This change process involves 1) identifying desired value paths (Guiding Principles), and 2) making sure all lower order values are accessible and in place so that that desired higher order values may be realized. 

Values Alignment can be visually represented and defined by comparing the mapped peaks of different measures on the Customer Relationship Orientations (CRO). These maps present results from measuring all 130 values:

Below is the CRO graph comparing 1200 Leader/Managers to 98 Authentic Influence participants (2004-07), note the alignment.

Meaning Gaps and Shared Meaning

We measure meaning gaps or misalignment- when maps peak at different steps on Customer Relationship Orientations (CRO) by one or more steps. We experience and observe meaning gaps when:

Shared meaning or alignment exists when developmental values mapping is at the same or adjacent CRO step. We experience and observe shared meaning when:

In business, aligned interactions need to included the desired customer, otherwise 'shared meaning' can become very centered on the teams needs and values and may have nothing to do with the needs of the customer.

Whose Values Prevail? 

What are the right values? In an organizational context this is an ethical question that relates directly to the authority and responsibility of the legal directors. The Life Journey Map® methodology supports the following process:

Different customer relationships demand different values and behaviors. Different customer relationships also equate to different revenue models. Higher levels of customer relationship complexity often equate with higher economic margins. 

Kotter and Hooksett (1992, p. 142-44) in their research summarize that when leaders at all levels emulate value systems that stress meeting the legitimate needs of all the key constituencies whose cooperation is essential to business performance- especially customers, employees, and stockholders, considerable higher margins of performance are achieved. 

From a business-customer point of view no one Customer Relationship Orientation is inherently better than another. It all depends on the desired customer relationship and its corresponding business model.

© Copyright by Scott Bristol 2002-2006