Monthly Archives: April 2013

What’s It Worth?

images-19In order to understand the value you offer others, you need to establish 3 things:

1. What are values?
2. What do you value?
3. What do they value?

… and then you can ask, what is the value of what you do for your clients?

1. What are values?

Values are important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable. Values have major influence on a person’s behavior and attitude and serve as broad guidelines in all situations. Some common business values are fairness, innovation and community involvement. Some common personal values are family, friends, and wealth.

Human economics are often measured in monetary values. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we often forget to stop and think about the values apparent in our environments. Why do we think purchasing a jacket at 50% discount is a bargain when we know it couldn’t possibly have been marked correctly on the original price? (no one would sell below market value unless they were replacing its value with something else). What is employment worth to a single mum as opposed to a Stepford wife? What is the worth of a brand new sports car to a multimillionaire as opposed to a rusty old fiat to a man living 50km away from his workplace? What is an un-paid internship experience worth to an immigrant fighting for their dreams as opposed to an overseas trip for a spoilt teenager?

2. What do you value?

Most people are not clear about their own values. We often cop out on that answer and fall to the default answer that our values are family, friends and wealth. They might be, however then they are not measured correctly up agains each others, and also not compared to your behaviour and personality. The most recent model to measure values is the competing values framework, which is a management model created by Quinn and Quinn (2010).

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Today, management skills are commonly segmented into the competing values framework including four paradigms which have developed over time. Contingent upon environment and situation, and due to the complexities of life and technical, social and political “forces of time” several models are necessary to describe efficiency. The competing values framework includes the rational goal model (Control), the internal process model (Compete), the human resources model (collaborate), and the open systems model (Create). In order to understand yours and others values more clearly, you can read ‘Becoming a Master Manager’ (Quinn & Quinn 2011), contact me for a competing values assessment using a matrix test I have made based on Quinn & Quinn’s model, or read through the below competing values:

Q: Do you value stability and continuity more than team cohesion?

Q: Do you value creativity more than profitability?

Q: Do you value being in control more than understanding other?

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What do others value?

The best way to find another persons values is to ask them, interview style.  Explore and elicit information about the persons opinion, beliefs and values as well as their perspective on a specific issue. This way you achieve a holistic understanding of their point of view or situation. It also allows you to understand an extraordinary amount of complexity and to reduce and compare it for increased understanding and further social development for both of you. As the most natural and obvious way of gathering information, interview style conversations become a “space” for people to be heard and understood, creating a sense of acceptance and belonging. Interview style conversations both connect people with information and creates better relationships.

You will found that, once you learn to listen to others messages with focus and open-mindedness, you will also achieve a sense of self-awareness. Fifty years of research has found that people interpret messages differently due to prior experiences and events and thus expectations. Experience depends on a person’s actions, behaviour, thoughts, decisions, skills, knowledge, identity, environment, beliefs and values. The latter two in particular stands out in a globalised world with increasing awareness of and sensitivity to, different beliefs and values across cultures. Values are hard to change because they are long-lasting beliefs built on moral and ethics about what is important in a variety of situations. Values and beliefs thus play an important role in communicating a vision that will influence individual behaviour, including purchasing behaviour. Do you know why your customers buy? Do you know the value of your product or service from their perspective?

This type of two-way communication is what we in public relations call symmetry. The concept of symmetry suggest that, if the PR function aims to value both the organisation and the customer, it must be based on values that reflect a moral obligation to balance the interests of an organisation with the interests of the customer. So, ideal (or best practice) public relations in your business – customer relationship would therefore be to understand what your customer wants, and then only really let them buy what they want without selling to them – even if it then turns out that you don’t offer what they need.

Is this what you do? Do you let your customers purchase in their own best interest? or, is your price aligned with the value your product or service have to your customer?

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May I Understand You?

images-18Research shows that most humans yearn to be understood. Perhaps today you can spend time understanding those around you. At the very least, your efforts may translate into better communication, increased understanding, and ultimately, improved relationships.

Can bilingualism make people more aware of their own and others love languages? I believe so.

So that we can understand and love each other better, Dr Gary Chapman created the model of the 5 love languages: Quality Time, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts.

Most of us grow up learning the languages of our parents, which becomes our native tongue. We later learn additional languages, but with slightly more effort. For those of us who are born bilingual and become polyglots or multilingual, it may be easier to understand others culturally because our brains are used to making an effort to interpret what others are saying and doing.

Our emotional love language and that of others may be as different as Mandarin from English – no matter how hard you try to express yourself in English to someone who only understands Mandarin, you need to use a huge amount of energy to get the message across. Don’t forget that body language (55%) and tone of voice (38%) also have culture specific meaning.

It’s rare for husbands and wives, friends, and colleagues to have the same primary love language. Unless we learn how to alter our own communication, we tend to speak our own primary love language and become confused when others don’t understand what we’re communicating. Once you identify and learn to speak another persons love language, you’ll have discovered the key to a long-lasting, loving friendship, partnership, marriage.

Just with any model, the 5 love languages are meant to guide us and bring us one step closer. We all appreciate all 5 languages, however we usually prefer 1 or 2 over others if we have to choose.  Another way to discover your love language, is to think about how you naturally show love to others, as we often give what we like to receive. We often hear the expression, “treat others the way you would like to be treated”. I think we need to re assess and “treat others the way THEY would like to be treated”.

I had a partner a few years back who thought Chapman’s book was silly. I explained it to him in short, and said to him that I thought his love language was physical touch and words of affirmation. I went on to explain that our lack of connection could be because I did not grow up with words of affirmation and it is something I am learning (I believe I have become genuinely good at it now, especially as a mentor). In addition, because my primary language is acts of service, I would get incredibly hurt when he told me he was going to do something and then didn’t. To me, this showed a lack of love, to him, it was not at all meant to be a disrespect of love, he just didn’t think it was that important to me. Clearly, because we could’t agree to love each others in the other persons language, we had to end it and move on, yet we are still close friends today.

Men, don’t cop out and assume your language is physical touch just because your brain is wired to think so. It might even be worth taking physical touch out of the test until you fully understand how you prefer to give and receive love. Dr. Chapman says, “We’re not talking comfort. We’re talking love. Love is something we do for someone else. So often people love one another but they aren’t connecting. They are sincere, but sincerity isn’t enough.”

Although you may score certain love languages more highly that others, don’t dismiss the other languages. Friends, family and colleagues may express love in those ways, and it will be beneficial for you to understand this about them. In the same way, it will benefit people around you to know your love language so they can express their affection for you in ways that you interpret as love.

Take the test here, and have a relaxing Sunday filled with love and understanding.

My results are:

1. Acts of Service (includes doing work together and small gestures)

2. Quality Time (focussed, fun, experience, not necessarily quantity)

3. Words of Affirmation (I love poetry, what you do means more to me than what you say)

4. Physical Touch (I’m very ‘touchy feely’, I find it hard to be physical if I don’t feel loved)

5. Receiving Gifts (I still appreciate gifts, I’d just rather have the gift of love)

Learn more about Dr Gary Chapman and the 5 love languages here. 

With this backdrop, do you understand why your customers buy? (next article…)

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