Do You Know Your Values?
When you ask someone what's important to them, they usually have a few thoughts on the topic, but not everyone will respond with a clear list of well thought out values. Once you establish your values, its integral to exhibit them in the way you run your business. Otherwise, you might always be wondering why things just don't feel aligned in your life.
Recently, our CEO sat down with someone who is an expert at making that conscious alignment, and he helps others do the same. In this blog, Hollywood Branded learns how identifying your values can help build your business from the expertise of Tullio Siragusa, the Chief Strategy Officer at Nearsoft and host of DojoLIVE!
A Little More About Tullio
Tullio Siragusa is an expert level Certified Life Coach, a pioneer of disruptive technologies, an emotional intelligence (EQ) thought leader, futurist, speaker, and author. For the past 30 years, Tullio has built world class leadership teams in technology companies and startups. Some of his past leadership roles include Director & Partner at CSC, PwC, and senior executive positions with both industry leading public and privately held companies.
At Nearsoft, he co-produces and hosts DojoLIVE! a platform that gives voice to emerging technology luminaries. Guests include Vint Cerf, the father of the commercial internet and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google. He also hosts Rant & Grow, an entertaining and heart-centered reality podcast where each episode explores people’s personal blockages and how to powerfully move forward with careers, relationships, and self-realization by developing healthy habits. As a founding member of Radical, a social justice movement, Tullio is a strong supporter of human-dignity in all aspects of life, including freedom in the workplace.
Interview Transcript Highlights
Question: Can you share a little bit about your background and what got each where you are today, and how you are positioned and how you know all the things you know?
Answer: I've spent 30 years in technology, and in the past 15 years I went on a bit of a personal journey to have some more self-realization, understand myself a little bit better, and in the process of doing that, I really got to grip with what makes a lot of us tick, and the things that also holds us back from having breakthroughs in our lives, and how this translates into how we run businesses, how we lead organizations.
There's a trickle down effect that happens, and it all starts with the person in the mirror. This journey has taken me to a place that has also allowed me to do some research around a very specific topic. I started studying different streams of consciousness about the ego, and there's books and volumes of content about the ego, and everybody's got a different opinion. Kill the ego, master the ego, overcome the ego, use the ego, so many different consciousness around that, and I started asking this question just a few years ago. What is the cause of, for example, negative ego?
I knew I could observe the manifestation of it, because I could observe it in myself, I could observe it and others. The need to be in control, the need to be right, the need to look good. All these various masks, the feeling of not being good enough, the impostor syndrome, all of these things that we often manifest is all related to just negative ego, but my question started being, where does it come from? What is the cause of negative ego? I get the cause of someone who's needing to be right all the time. It's because of ego, but what is the cause of that ego?
I really started digging into that and working as a volunteer, as a coach, as a volunteer for a past decade specifically in some circles with men, I discovered a lot of things about myself and discovered a lot of things and commonalities with individuals that struggled with the manifestation of negative ego, and I'll share what that is in just a few minute, but one thing that really became clear to me is there's a difference on the people that have a sense of the leadership style that's empowering versus those that have more of a controlling mindset, and the one thing they have in common is those who empower have an incredible high sense of self-worth. They are in a place where their sense of worth is based on something internally directed versus based on external outcomes, versus those who tend to be more in the need to control and also manifests a little bit more insecurity tend to have lower sense of worth, which is tied to outcomes.
Now from a value-based perspective, in terms of understanding yourself, if you're the founder of a business, the CEO of a business, there are certain values that you live your life by. Whether you're a person of high integrity, maybe you value being in relationship, maybe you value making a lot of money. Whatever those values are, those are your tenants and guiding posts in your life. So as you build a business, how you brand a business, today it's become more relevant to align those values with what you want to represent in the marketplace, and the reason for that is because people want to have experiences, and experiences are tied to something that deals with the heart. It's not here.
Question: When you're working with someone and you peer into their company, and you see that the values are not really aligned from top to bottom, what's the first step that you suggest that they take?
Answer: For example, my company, Nearsoft, our culture is very freedom-based culture. So we don't have bosses, there's no one to impress, and by nature, as a result of that, everyone can just be themselves and provide a lot of value. So we speak our mind, we're honest with each other, and we can create tremendous growth, and we're very agile in how we do things now.
Because we value that, in other words, treating each other as adults, if a client is used to a more command and control work structure where someone's the boss dictating everything that needs to happen, how you do things, when you do things, that isn't going to work very well with people that are basically told, "You come here, drive value, generate value. We're here to make money and profit, but do it on your terms." Their experience would be a very terrible experience with that client, and we've walked away from those opportunities because it just doesn't fit with our culture. It's not going to drive. So you have to have the courage as an organization to also say no to those clients that are not going to align with what you want to accomplish.
Also, you have to have the courage to say no to those employees that don't necessarily align with where you're going, and when you're desperate for business or when things get difficult, that's when the real test happens, Stacy. That's when you really get challenged to see, "Am I going to hold true to these values and standards that I believe in, or am I going to sell myself out because I need to keep moving forward?"
Those are very difficult choices to make, but those organizations that usually stick to their values don't end up having the struggles like most companies do when there's a downturn, for example. They just somehow coast right through it, and because they're not competing in this sort of zero zone proposition, they're staying true to their values, they're attracting the right customers, the right employees, and that is a model that just is a scalable and sustainable model.
Question: What is the first step, then, to figuring out what your values are?
Answer: It’s not a very difficult exercise. One of the things I recommend is to sit down with yourself and make a list of the things that matter to you. Just personally, things that matter to you. Good health, family, making money, integrity. Just list those tenants that are important to you. What are the kinds of things when you're looking for a friend, or even better, for a spouse? What are the kinds of qualities you're looking for in them? Those qualities you're looking for in them are typically a representation of your own qualities, are things that matter to you. So start out with that list, and then you begin to pair down and say, "Okay, which of the things that are important to me?" Then look at that list and say, "Which of these things am I willing to give my life to stay true to?" Those become your real values, because there's nothing that can threaten you giving up that value.
If you're a person of high integrity and someone's asking you to cut corners or do something that's not legal or just morally isn't aligned with who you are, you're not going to sacrifice that value, because it's truly something that you live by. You'll die before you sacrifice that value. So it's a very sort of serious exercise to get to your own truth in identifying what those are. Typically, I recommend you identify three or four maximum values. It doesn't have to be an exhaustive list, just three or four things that really matter to you. For me, it's about vulnerability. I look for people that are vulnerable because I think that creates more authentic, genuine types of relationships. I look for people that have gratitude. So gratitude is one of my values. No matter what's going on, no matter what's difficult, you can always find something to be thankful for.
Authenticity. Just be real. Speak your mind, speak your truth.If the person doesn't like what you have to say, they're not the person for you. If the client doesn't like what you have to say, they're not the client for you. Accept that. Lastly, it's about operating from a place of integrity. That's just a personal thing for me. Don't cut corners, don't sacrifice, and that also means I won't sell out a friend. If a friend is going down a path that isn't necessarily going to serve them or could cause problems for other people, I will call them out on it, even if it means sacrificing the relationship, because part of being of high integrity is not selling people out.
Check Out The Podcast!
If you need some help figuring out your personal values and aren't sure where to start, then you'll definitely want to check out this podcast! Click below to listen to the full episode with Tullio.
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