Sticky Note Leadership: Core Values

Published Aug 18, 2020 (3 years ago)
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I’ve been away from my office desk for a few months now, but when I was bringing stuff home, I made sure take a snapshot of the sticky notes I refer to for daily insight and inspiration. This one reminds me what matters most in my day to day.

sticky note with core values

Last year a group of us got together to read a few books about leadership, growth, and a few things in between. The book that stood out most to me was Brené Brown's Dare to Lead. There have already been tons of great reviews, so I won't mention that here, just go buy a copy and thank me later.

One of the big exercises in the book is to identify your two core values from a rather big list. These values are the things most important to you and influence your work and non-work life in profound and subtle ways. Better said...

When I facilitate this work in organizations, I always get this question: “Do you want me to identify my professional values or my personal values?” Here’s the rub: We have only one set of values. We don’t shift our values based on context. We are called to live in a way that is aligned with what we hold most important regardless of the setting or situation.

Brené Brown - Dare to Lead

After some filtering, testing, and struggling, I came to the two values I consider my core:


It's probably because I'm a "Protagonist" type, but making sure the team, or the company, or the DnD group is in good shape, and working together, is something I really enjoy. Some people say I have a talent for it too. But I think most importantly, I see what amazing things can happen when the "Super Friends" unite, when Dumbledore's Army assembles, when Voltron assembles. It's a beautiful thing. And the growth and camaraderie that is fashioned through that lasts far beyond a piece of software that's shipped. If we're working 8 hours a day with people (sometimes more), I want to make sure these are people we trust and respect, and that's something I want to help build.


A wise elephant once opened statements with "I meant what I said and I said what I meant." That's what I strive to provide. If it's responding to an email, or completing some code for a a project amidst other demands, I want to make sure people can trust my word. When I say that a conversation is going to be private, it will stay that way. When I tell people they should go take a lunch break, I make sure to take one myself. It is this integrity that I see helping whether the storms of rocky projects, or tough talks with clients, and everything else.

Et Vous?

What are your core values that you take to the office and home with you day in and day out? I encourage you to look at the list and find your two. Let me know here. Don't forget to read the book!