Leverage Your Values for Better Decision Making
Greetings. From New York City and Columbia Business School executive education my, name is Scott Gardner we're very excited to, have you join us for our new webinar format today and for, our webinar leverage. Your values for better decision-making with Professor, Paul Ingram, before, I introduce Paul. I'd like to go over a few key logistics, for the webinar first, a recording, will be made available to you after the webinar and as always we encourage you to upload. Your questions throughout the webinar to the Q&A box we'll, get to as many of those as possible in the last 10 minutes and finally, if you'd like to tweet about the webinar use hashtag, CBS. Exec. Paul, it's great to be with you today Paul, Ingram, is the Kravis professor, of business at Columbia Business School and Paul. Shell, you're taking on Thank. You Scotty Oh so I'm really happy to talk about this subject of values and decisions because it's been really central, to my research, and teaching in recent years and, I thought I would begin in describing. This work about what for me was the beginning when I kind of discovered, my interest, in this topic so. For, about. Ten. Years or so I've acted, as the faculty director for Columbia's, advanced, management program, this. Is a four-week program on leadership, and strategy where, senior, executives, from around the world public sector private sector come. To Columbia in New York for a once-in-a-lifetime, refresh. On these key determinants, of their, professional. Success and, there's. Been a component of that program. Actually for some decades now that we call values coaching, involves. A coach, sitting down with the leader and helping. Her distill. Her. Top values, and think about how they work, in, terms of effective leadership and, one, of the things that struck me from my very first, involvement. With the program was that for a lot of the leaders that went through this coaching, the, output. What we call a values, hierarchy, which is a kind of prioritization. Of values, was, really, a powerful tool here's, one example, this is Jose Joe Almeida, so, Joe, was part of this program about ten years ago and shortly, after he finished the, program he got a promotion could, be CEO, of his company, which was at that time Covidien, a fortune five hundred medical device company, when, Joe got the promotion to CEO the Financial, Times interviewed. Him about his leadership style one of the questions they asked him was, what did he learn in his month-long, retreat. For leadership and strategy at, the Columbia Business School when, he Joe was asked that question, he pulled, from his wallet the, laminated, version of his values hierarchy that he had received from the coaching, and he, told the interviewer that that was an important, tool for helping, him manage himself as a leader and make key, decisions and. Joe's. Example, is one of the ones that really grabbed me and got me interested in learning just, what this prioritization. Of values does to help a leader some. Of the research I've done has been looking at how you can use an. Insight into your values to make better decisions rather. Than tell you about the. Outcome, of that research I thought I would show you by. Taking you through a quick version of some of the steps we do with leaders to, help them see their values, and apply them to decisions, right so we'll work with, your own values and hopefully. With one of your decisions and give you some insight to that so. What I'm gonna ask you to do now comes, from the, beginning stages of how we help leaders see their, values, so, values, are your principles of evaluation, they're what determines, for you what is good or bad, forward. Or back up or down you know so without any without values, you. Can't decide what, is better than what in terms of options so, you can't choose so you can't act intentionally. Right so it's really central to our topic, one. Of the ways we help leaders see their values is we ask them to reflect on important, situations, that's what I'm gonna ask you to do now I'm. Gonna ask you to think about a current, situation, at work that, is really important. To, you now, it could be important to other people as well but, the key for us is that it is important to you and then.
I'm Gonna ask you to try and zero in see if you can use a single word that describes. Explains, for you why that situation. Is so important, it. May be that the situation represents. Integrity or, performance. Or excellence. Or teamwork. Or happiness, you'll. Decide the word that describes, the importance but I want you to. Be concise and see if you can put a label on what, it is that explains the importance of this situation, now. If the situation is really important, there's probably more than one value at work so, once you've got that first one I'm going to ask you to go on and, try. And identify what. Else explains, why this situation, is so important, what, else and what, else, see. If you can come up with three or four values I'll. Give you a few seconds, to do that and. If, you've got your values, if you happen to have some, post-it notes around you might write, each value on one of the post-it notes that'll help you perhaps, a little bit when we work with the values later but if you don't you'll be able to use scrap paper. So. By. Now I hope you have three, or four values, that for you describe, the importance, of this key situation. The, next step is to, prioritize the, values, so, I'm going to ask you to start by thinking about pairs, of values so. For first. Two of the values you identified, I ask yourself, this question if, you. Could only have, one of those two values satisfied. If you had to choose between them, which, would you choose the. One that you would choose and that forced-choice, has. A priority. Above the other in the hierarchy. That we're going to build and you'll do that with every pair of values alright so when I did the exercise, these, are the values I came up with motivation. Integrity, pride and excellence I prioritize. Them by asking myself if, I had to choose between motivation. And integrity, which, would I choose my. Answer is motivation, so it goes above integrity, this is the order I come up with and. Actually I see excellence, at the bottom of my for excellence. Is actually a really precious thing to me it's really important. But, what this prioritization. Is saying is not that excellence is less important, but, perhaps that it does a means, to an end it's important, because it helps me achieve higher order values anyway. You'll, come up with your own priority, priorities, put. Your post-it notes on the left side of the page or write, your priorities. Prioritize. Values on the left side of a piece of paper we're gonna use the rest of the paper to help you as a decision. So. Once. You've got your prioritization. I'm gonna ask you to think about a. Decision. A choice that you're facing that is important, to you it could be at work it could be personal the key for us is that it matters and for. The sake of our, example. I'm, gonna ask you to reduce that choice to two alternatives, you know you could take alternative, one or alternative. To whatever. The most important alternatives, are for the choice that you'd like to analyze you know so when I was, preparing this short talk I thought about a decision, that I'm facing I've, got to make a choice about how I'm gonna spend my professional, time in the, next few months, towards a year and I've got two looming, projects, I have to choose between, one of them I'm gonna call the nonprofit, project is an, opportunity, to work with a nonprofit organization that, would actually like to use the, research I do on values, to, help their clients. Make, an important, kind of life-changing, decision, in a way that is more effective so. I could work with the nonprofit, organization, on that my, second option I'm gonna call journal so an academic, journal has asked me to be involved in an editorial role and I could spend time working, on that project you'll. Choose your own decision. In your own alternatives, so. When you have them you put them at the top of the page like I have here and then. I'm gonna ask you to imagine yourself, pursuing. The, first alternative, one and then you'll do alternative, two I'm.
Thinking, That I've chosen, a nonprofit project and I'm imagining kind, of forecasting. What it will feel and what it would be like to work on that project from. That vantage point I'm gonna score, my, anticipated. Satisfaction. For each of the values I've identified I'm, gonna start at the bottom so, for me that's excellent but you'll start with your. Value. That came out at the bottom of your prioritization. List score. On a one to seven scale seven, would mean that you think the value will be completely, satisfied if, you pursue that alternative, one would mean that you foresee the value being violated. So. Think. About the nonprofit project, first, excellence, I feel pretty good you know five out of seven I think I'll get my value of excellence. Modestly, satisfied, if I do that project, I actually think pride is really, to be completely, satisfied I'm gonna be proud working. On that important, project. Integrity. I also feel very good about motivation. Is perhaps the lowest when I think about the nonprofit project. Kind of middling it for what. I think about the journal I'm. Actually concerned about excellence, I've got different ideals. And vision. And other people involved with the journal I'm not sure I'm gonna feel that. Really I'm, pursuing excellence working, on that, similarly. Pride, and integrity or middling, I don't, really feel motivated when I think about that journal work so, you'll do your own scoring like that, do. It quickly I think your gut reaction is really what we're looking for here. Once. You've done the scoring I'm gonna ask you to think simply which, alternative, got higher scores, you know so for me it's clearly the nonprofit, project if. You total, the scores of your values between the two choices and you see that they're the same look. At the top value and see which one got the highest score in the top value we find that all of the values you identify, in this process matter for. Making a choice that is good for you but the ones at the top matter more, so, for, me clearly it's the. Motive. The nonprofit. Project but you'll see which, of your own alternatives. Comes out scoring the highest. So. What. We find is that this scoring is a great, guideposts. For you about which of the alternatives, you face is going to be most satisfying, for you if you were actually to choose it so some, of the research we've done with. This method has, been with our MBA students, at the Columbia Business School helping, them make one of the important choices they make which is to choose between job alternatives. And we. Find that one, of the biggest predictors, about whether they like a job that. They choose is their. Scoring, of the job their, anticipated, scoring, of their top values, against that job right so we actually teach them to do this kind of analysis when.
They're Choosing jobs now they consider, other things the, pay the, location, but, whether you're getting your value satisfied, is really important in determining whether a choice will be good for you. But. Of course satisfaction. Of your values, is not the only, aspect of good decision making so let me go on and talk, about how you can use your values, to. Leverage. Another, input, to, effective, decision-making when I think about is commitment. Implementation. You, know often, it seems to me that when you face choices that. You could make a success, with either of the, initial, alternative, you face a lot of what matters is what you do after the initial choice follow-through. Commitment, execution. So, this is how you can use values, to improve. Execution. And implementation. Take. The alternative. That scored highest for you and again. You could get another new piece of paper you'll prioritize. Your values as you did before but the alternative, and the scoring of the values that you had from, the previous round of the exercise on the, left as I has half. Now. What you're gonna ask yourself, is. Put, yourself in the situation imagine. You're pursuing, the alternative. You know I'm thinking about doing this work on the nonprofit, project and. Focus. On the values, that you score the lowest so, for me the first one is motivation, which was only a four and, I'm asking myself why. Is that the motivation is only a four why, don't you have an answer for that I think, for me it's that the nonprofit. Project has a lot of objectives, you know the nonprofit, organization, really wants. To help their clients make, life-changing, decisions. More effectively, now, that's important to me too I think that's a great outcome but, I've got other interests, you know a lot of what motivates. Me is research, and I. Know that initially research, is not really going to be important of a nonprofit organization. So, now I'm gonna ask myself if, I was to pursue pursue, that nonprofit. Project how, could I do it in a way that I would feel more motivated and. I. Thought about that question I actually came up with a for, me a good answer I think. I could negotiate as. We're structuring, the project, and planning data collection, and so on to do it in a way that I could pursue my research, interests, at the same time the nonprofit, gets what they want to help their clients I think. If I did that I would actually feel even, more motivated, about this project so that 4 could go to a 5 or a 6 or a 7, all right so something. I could really do within my control in, the implementation, to, make the. Pursuit of that. Alternative. More satisfying, for me I came up with something similar for excellence, you know again I thought that in the negotiation, of the project, if I could do it in a way that would. Allow me to do excellent, research I would feel better overall about the motivation, so. What, do we know in our work about, how this kind of exercise, helps you effectively, follow, through on your choices well let me give you an example from some work I did recently with. A leader at a top. Hospital, so, this, leader ran a surgical, department, and as part of her work with. Colombia, she came up with a strategy to improve the position, of her department which was already really good but to make it one of the best in the country and I. Asked, her to do the scoring of her strategy against, her own values and when she did that scoring, she. Came to a realization she. Saw, that. When of her top values, was relationships. And she anticipated, that in pursuit of her strategy she. Was gonna have a conflict with a key relationship, in fact with her mentor and. She. Anticipated that, that would really be discouraging, you know imagine if you really care about relationships. And you're pursuing, a course of action you run into a conflict, in a key relationship, that, could cause you to give up, so. What did she do well she followed through, with the strategy, she didn't change her strategy but she changed her implementation. Plan and she, came up with an idea about how she could, manage the relationship. Upfront, so. That she wouldn't have tension, with that value, as she, went forward with the strategy, she. Did that and actually, it worked beautifully the, strategy, was effective, and now her great, department has already risen in.
The National, rankings right, so thinking about how you feel, about your values as you go forward and working that into your implementation, plan helps. You execute, effectively, now. The last thing I'd like to talk about is, ethics. And decisions, and here. I'm gonna tell you about an, experiment we did and, so in, this experiment which we did with real leaders, we. Had as you do two, conditions, what you do an experiment is you randomly, assign people to two, conditions, one is a kind of baseline condition, which we call a control condition in this condition we asked our subjects. To think, about some everyday life nothing, to do with values, and then, we tested their ethics. Using. A survey, instrument which examines. Whether you will endorse unethical principles. In, decision-making and, then we had an, experimental. Condition, what. We did here is we showed, the subjects, in that group, their, own values. Hierarchy, that came out of our coaching, process and, we, asked them just to think about it for five minutes then we tested their ethics so, what did the results show, well, our measure. Of ethics actually, is. An. Index, of whether the decision-maker will endorse unethical. Behavior. Right so higher scores, here are unethical, lower scores are ethical, and we set the control condition to one because that's what we're comparing the, values condition to so what we found is that when people think about their own values for five minutes before they make a decision they're. Less unethical, or they're more ethical, so how do we explain that well. Again, as I said our values, are insights, into what really, matters, to us in life in. The long term and the biggest sense and I, think a lot of unethical behavior, not all of it but, a lot of it are bad short-term decisions, you, know there's $50,000, sitting there on the table and can be tempting. To grab it but if you remind yourself that your long-term value is integrity, or, legacy, it's, easier to resist the temptation, and do the right thing, so I think really that our own values are kind of our internal. Control system, and if they're top of mind if we queue ourselves to them they, help us do the right thing so. Let. Me summarize what we've talked about our. Research. And our work with leaders at, the Columbia Business School shows. Us that. Your values. Can be a real, tool, for, helping you make choices that will be satisfying, for you helping. You develop implementation. Plans that will be successful, with those choices and helping, you make more ethical, decisions, so. What I recommend, to you how do you take these ideas into, action, in your world well I'd recommend these things first. Of all that you should take the time to. Identify your very top values, you know so we did a very short reflection that gave you a taste of what we do to help people see. Their values, but, in our work, with executives, we have in-depth coaching, and we have other ways of reflection. That, may, take an hour or, hours, actually and some people of course make it a lifelong pursuit to see their values but, invest, to, see your very top values, clearly, and then. Keep them accessible, I told you about Joe Almeida carrying, around his values on a laminated, card a lot, of my former, executive. Students do that in fact recently I got a message from a student in London who. Had had her wallet stolen and, just. After she replaced her credit cards she wrote, me and asked to get another copy of the values.
Hierarchy, That she carried in the wallet that was so precious to her so keep them handy to you when. You face hard choices consider. Your values, and think about that scoring we, did of alternatives, against, your top values it's great insight, into what choice will be most satisfying, for you. When. You do choose. Include. Values and, anticipation, of values as you, develop your implementation. Plan and finally when you face ethical, dilemmas. Consult. Your values, keep them top of mind they, help you to do the, right thing so, that's, my advice to you on this tool, that has been so powerful, for us and exciting for, so many of the people who have come, into, contact with it now, I'm going to invite both, Scott to come back and moderate and invite you to ask some, questions, thank. You very much Paul a lot of great questions have come in while, we're in so let's get to a few of those shall we first, one electors from Louie's he, says can you explain, the role that. Company values, play in decision. Making should company values, ever compete, with person I love, the question, ah. And. There's. Something I didn't show you about our ethical research but, it turns out and I think louise has anticipated it, that company, values, rather. A mixed, and complex, effect, on ethical. Decisions, we've. Got some results that show that when we cue decision makers with their company values they're actually less ethical now. That's not always the case and what, it really comes down to is, the. Resonance. In the ally between an individual, value individuals. Values and the company's values, you, know sometimes, the company values, people, in the company feel they really, own, and, they're like their own values, in, those cases the company values help people make good decisions, and help them to be ethical but in, some circumstances, the company values, are rather arbitrary, and, perhaps they're developed, in a casual way without a lot of participation. And consultation, from the organization.
And They may not really be shared widely in the organization, in, those instances, as Luis anticipates. We, find that, the imposition. Of these kind of foreign company values cuts the individual, off from their own internal control system so. I'm. Positive. About the company values, but my caution is that they have to be be developed, in a way that. They're real and resonant, and aligned with the individual, values of the people in the company Thank You Luis yes. John. Asked. How, often should, value identification. Exercises. Be done and do you find that personal values change over time yeah this, is one, of the key questions that I'm wrestling with in the research now my answer, we've got limited, research, results, on this so far because it's something you have to investigate over time but. My answer, is that they're pretty stable and that's reinforced, by some of what we've learned in research and also some, of the things that the excellent, values coaching we've worked with values, coaches we work with for decades have told us so. They anticipate. That our values are usually pretty, stable, but. They can change if you have a very, unusual shock. To your life so. Not. The kind of typical, stresses. That you know people face you know the difficulties, in life a divorce and things like that but something, really unusual and, shocking, that kind of knocks you off the course of your life I'm told, that in those circumstances people, really. Often have a different, prioritization. Of their values, the. Basic, thing we found is that mostly the values are stable, and, in a lot of instances we have people who produce their values hierarchy, and a decade or more later they're still using them to great effect. Valerie. Asked how can we achieve, transform. Transformational. Change in the face of conflicting, values. Yes, you, know one of the things that Valerie, I think puts her finger on it with that question is that a lot of intense, conflict. Often, around organizational, change, is over. Values. Here's. Something that we've learned in our research, that. In fact people do, gravitate. Towards, others who share, their values they make decisions like others who share their values and this is the reason we often have conflicts. Where values at the heart of it but. We've also found a way to resolve those conflicts, so. We've. Learned that, if two people with different values can explain, their values, to each other they can actually come to respect each other's attitudes. And decisions, and actually they come to like each other much more so. This is one of the beautiful things about values, and conflict, even though Valerie's, right that they are often. Driving. Conflict. At the level of say attitudes. Towards, a certain program. Of change. When. You see someone else's underlying, values you tend, to respect them and, that's what we learn in our research. So, our advice in those situations. And actually this goes not just organizational, change but any conflict, is, find. Ways to explain, your values, to the people you would like to connect with and to relate to and find. Ways to learn about their, values. One of the advantages, of our, tool. For articulating, values, is it, helps the people who go through it explain. Their values effectively, to the people they need to collaborate with I would say that also it's interesting because if you look at intention. That. Would help people understand, each other's values most, times maybe even if the values are in, a pop up rather. Than the value, of intention. Is similar yes, so I think that that's at the heart of it that even if somebody is pursuing, a course of action that seems. Not right to you you. Understand, that it's motivated. By an underlying value that you can respect right and that closes the gap one-call absolutely, all right Kathy. Is asked, do you find any pattern, in the values that come up the most often the key drivers, yes yeah.
That's. A, question, that I. Really. Am interested in myself and I've been doing a lot of research recently. There are some values that, come, up more often than, others so at this point we've. Done you know our work with some, you know a few, thousand, executives, and I actually have a big database of of, their values, some, of the ones that are most common, are integrity. Excellence. Happiness. Is the top value things, like teamwork or top values, so, those there are some that are kind, of loom large it. Also differs for groups so, for example, we do work at the Columbia Business School with leaders, of nonprofit, organizations. They. Will, sometimes have different values, than leaders, in the private sector so for example, something. Like equity, might, be a important. Value in that realm. And it could be important the private sector but maybe it not may not be in the top ten so. We do find a lot of commonality. But. There's some differences, and particularly in sectors, we find a little bit of differences, in between. Nations as well but. One of the refreshing things actually is, that. There's a lot of commonality, as well and, we. Do find as I say that, even if you look at a set of values that are different from your own people. Can respect them and they actually grow to, like others more when they discover their values have. You found that values, where, you say they may not change for you over time have you found that in the history of like, say business leaders thirty years ago to business leaders now at different, generations, have values changed yeah it's. A it's a great question and it's one that we don't have the data to answer yet. And. We're. Doing some things now to, try and expand, our work distilling, values, to people. Entering the workforce people, are in college now and this is one of the things we're fascinated, with um you know I find. The values to be quite universal, my, suspicion. Is that we're gonna find that you, know people even across generations. Are kind of driven, by some of the same core things but I'm sure there's gonna be some difference, all.
Right Max. Is asked when confronting, people of very different values what is the most effective way to break those barriers so that you can collaborate together and achieve, the ultimate goals is there a conversation, that can be habits, very specific. Yes. And. I think it's a root cause conversation. So. Imagine. That Scott, and I are disagreeing. About you, know a program in our organization. If we're, at the level of you. Know should we pursue this, policy. Then. It's actually very tough to resolve. The conflict. Scott, says yes I say no where do we go from there maybe it's just a matter, of power and who's going to be more. Perhaps. Destroying. In the trying. To get their way so, we, encourage people to get down to the root causes of the conflict know the root causes of course are caught. So, you, know in that circumstance, what, I would like to do in the conversation, with Scott and I'd like to help him do it with me is ask, him okay you like this policy, but, why what. Does it do for you well, you think it leads to growth well why is growth, important, to you and to get down with those why why, why, kind. Of this ladder. Of inference do we get to the very root cause which I expect is going to be a value and, I'll. Try and do the same and articulate, the same for Scott as well and, we'll. Find out that perhaps at the heart of our. Disagreement are two things we can both respect, you know I'm, motivated. By the university's. Role to generate ideas he's. Thinking about service, to students, and if, we understand, that value. That may not be our top priority for, either of us but we can essentially. Respect, and reconcile, it get, down to those new causes we find that the opportunities. For finding solutions that, can satisfy everybody, really increase so, climb down that ladder of inference why why, why do, you get to the root cause which is going to be a value great. This, is a great question from Sabrina how, do you help leaders or how, do leaders, help people, in their organization to see their values is there a way for them to sort of assist without being yeah influence, yeah, right and this gets this. Gets into the process, that we use and. I gave you a little bit of a flavor, of it which. Is helping people reflect, on important, situations, there's, another aspect which, turns out helping, them prioritize, so those are the two things we do when, we help both leaders and companies see their values, get, them to think about what's important, to them what's really good or what's really bad and then.
Help, Them do that prioritization. That you did very quickly, so, we've, got a method, a kind of longer, version, of what we gave you a taste of here that we do with individuals, and companies and actually, a lot of leaders have gone through the process that have taken the method back to their company so I've, got 150, values. That you know we kind of use in our exercises. I've got them on laminated, cards and just, yesterday I got an email from leader. In an advertising, agency, who, wanted, the set of laminated, card so he could start doing the work with his company but what you have to do is help, people get, to the root of what is why things are important to them and then, you've got to help them see what, matters more than what which is really tough for distilling your top values thank you for the question great that's a great final answer, and thank you so much for being with us today I'd like to thank all of you for joining us in our new webinar format we encourage, you to give. Us your comments and your feedback and, we'll see you again soon, thank you very much thank you.