Monday, June 30, 2003

Personal, business values

Business Times p.B5
Monday, June 30, 2003

By Moje Ramos-Aquino
Personal, business values

“If we can build an environment in which people can learn and grow, the grass will not be greener on the other side.” So says Libby Satrain, senior vice president of Human Resources, Yahoo! This environment is the culture and shared values of your organization.

First, let’s talk about your personal values. Your values answer the questions:

• What’s important to you?
• How can you acquire more energy in your life?
• How can you become prosperous in your life?
• How do you keep excellent health?
• What is the general attitude of people who are happy?
• How do you handle problems and conflicts in your life?
• How can you organize my life better?
• Why do you act, react or proact the way you do?
• What is your favorite movie? Why?
• What is your favorite color? Why?
• What is your favorite place? Why?
• What are your other favorites? Why?
• Are you in love? Why?
• Who are you in love with? Why?
• What are the unseen and hidden major truths and principles about how life really works?
• What is the general attitude of accomplished people
• What is the general attitude of people who excel?
• How can you accomplish your dreams, goals and objectives?
• Why are things the way they are?
• Why do things happen the way they do?
• How do you get in touch with and use your spiritual nature?
• What is the pattern of your life?
• What is the purpose of your life?
• Other than the physical, what makes an authentic person?
• What are you growing and evolving toward?
• What drives you?
• Why did you choose that kind of business over other possibles?
• Why do you opt to become an entrepreneur?
• What is unique about you?
• Do you feel satisfied and fulfilled in your life? Why?
• What activities, conver­sations, sights inspire a “passion” within you causing you to act, speak up and get involved?
• If you are going to die tomorrow, what will you leave behind? Why?
• If you are going to die tomorrow, how will people react to your death? Why?
• If you are going to die tomorrow, what will you do today? Why?
• If you are going to die tomorrow, what is playing in your mind right now? Why?
• If you are going to die tomorrow, what is one big regret you have? Why?
• If you are going to die tomorrow, with whom do you like to spend your last moments and why?
• If you are going to die tomorrow, are you prepared to die? Why?

Your answers to these questions will reveal to you your values. Values are defined by Webster’s dictionary as “a principle standard or quality considered inherently worthwhile or desirable.”

The root word of value is valor and valiant, which means strength or strong. Your values are your source of strength. Your values drive your attitude that predisposes you to act the way you do. If you are happy with being an entrepreneur, no matter the difficulties, you will understand why.

If something is significant to you, you value it. If you consider something or someone of high value to you, you develop a strong intention to get it, nurture it, love it, and protect it or something. Alternatively, you might say, “it means a lot to me” or “I mean to do it.”

Things you don’t value, you don’t even think about or perceive. On the other hand, there are some things you take for granted and when you lose them realize that they are valuable to you.

Now it is important that you are very clear about your personal value system. These same values you will be bringing and using in your business–in the way you treat your employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders in your business. These same set of values you will be using to make decisions, to deal with conflicts, to cope with crises, to handle success, to be creative and innovative, to conquer fears, to have fun, to live the hectic life of an entrepreneur, and to have a balance between business and fun and in your career, family, spiritual, social and personal life.

Go right ahead and answer the questions above. Cluster your answers into big chunks of values. If you are not clear about your personal values, you cannot be clear about your entrepreneurial values. Your personal values should be congruent with your business values.

Ortega Gasset once said, “Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.” Scott Lutz, CEO (corporate executive officer) of 8th Continent, has this to say, “It is not about winning every battle, it’s about building a great business from the ground up.”

World Peace: Elsa Mapua of the singing group Lollipops says to contribute to world peace is to be childlike: When my kids were young, we were very much involved in the “Toys For Peace” Movement which was a project of the cause-oriented women’s group called FLOW (Forward Looking Women). As a family, we wrote songs about peace and sang them–in Luneta, in cultural affairs of some embassies and schools, and once on a radio station. We even did puppet shows. The puppets were called “Peaceya” and “Kap” (for Kapayapaan). They were very simple–we just wanted to contribute to World Peace–to sow the seeds of peace in the hearts and minds of children.

One of the incidents I’ll never forget is the time we went to a Church in BF Homes–it was our first time in that Church, so I told the kids to make a wish. As a young mother, my wish was good health for my children. I asked my 8-year-old son, what he wished for. He said “I wished for peace in the whole world.” I was humbled, yet touched by his reply. Here I was, espousing peace, but look at what my wish was. And here was this young kid who could have wished for a toy airplane instead. This just proved that it is easier for a kid than for an adult to “internalize.”

Ms. Moje Ramos-Aquino is president of Paradigms and Paradoxes Corp. and helps companies develop shared vision, matched missions and congruent values. She awaits your comments at

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