Why Values Aren’t Working

Greg shares how clear values can transform at the individual and collective level.

by Greg Mutch | January 2023

At the age of 38 I would have told you that I was living a good and principled life marked by community, humor and service. I was in a good place. And then I wasn’t. I was let go from my job and really confused about what I was going to do. This disruption in my career created a lot of shame for a life not really put together and I was deeply frustrated with my options.

Then, as I sat staring at 40 wondering when I was going to grow up, I discovered the Co-Active Training Institute. I jumped with both feet into their world. Completing training and certification to become a Certified Professional Coach and journeyed through the 10-month (life-changing) leadership program. I sought this development for career purposes and was surprised to discover so many new parts of my whole self along the way. Layers and layers. Beautiful bits and some things that needed to be burned down.

A few of the beautiful bits unearthed through this process were my core values. These values had been here all along, operating in the background. The amazing shift came when I really named and declared them, giving  me access to live into them with the volume turned way up. I now navigate the world with authenticity in my right hand and aliveness in my left.

Build a values-based culture.

Clarity and discovery of values is accessible to all of us and it is not just personal work. In a recent Dare To Lead™ podcast episode with Brené Brown interviewing Simon Sinek and Adam Grant (definitely worth a listen!) Brené shared this,

“Of all the companies they’ve worked with that had stated Company Values, only 11% had operationalized those values into behavior.”

They hadn’t described for their people what it looks like to actually live out the company values. And a big fat ZERO percent had made the move to including those value-based behaviors into performance metrics.

When people and organizations name values but fail to align those values with clear behavior and action, those values are practically meaningless. We can do better. And in the current environment, it will be the companies that see it and commit to doing better who will distinguish themselves as the real best places to work.

Values guide and inform.

One client of ours takes an opportunity at their annual event each year to award individuals based on the way they are living out the company values.

Here is what it looks like at AG Collaborative. We first named our values by taking a look at our people. From the group of amazing humans we’ve got on our team, we created this list of company values:

  • Humor
  • Authenticity
  • Human.kind
  • Transformation
  • Wisdom
  • Co-nnection
  • Creative Experimentation

These serve as the rudder of AGC. They describe us at a soul level. They infuse every part of our work together and how we interface with clients. They are filters for who we hire and who we partner with. They guide and shape and inform how we live. That said, it’s just a great list of words unless everyone on the team KNOWS what it looks like IRL to actualize these values. Here are a couple of ours…

Humor – Joy matters. You’ll know this is present when your face hurts from laughing during our team meetings. “Smiling, smiling’s my favorite.” Elf

Authenticity – the real you, on purpose, no bullshit. You’ll know this is present when we are experiencing moments of discomfort and aliveness at the same time. Arms open, hair wild, fully open and free.

Values ground and motivate.

Individuals, teams, and companies who name and identify their core values and then get clear and specific on what it looks like in real life are more grounded and purposeful in how they show up in the world. We invite you into this important work, a great first step is to join an upcoming Dare to Lead™ cohort or set up a time to chat with a team member.

Discover yours with AG Collaborative!

Dare to Lead™

Our Dare To Lead™ 3-Day immersive is back February 7-9 in Grand Rapids. You can get the early bird registration rate, lock it in on your calendar, and get clear on your values all while meeting some amazing people. 


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