Beliefs, Values, and Vision

Weiss Advice Issue: 215, June, 2021

I think that leadership of any kind requires that people possess, and can instill, beliefs, values, and vision.

Beliefs are acceptances that something exists and can be proved. You can “believe” in the Loch Ness Monster or UFOs, but you can’t expect others to simply accept your belief. Therefore, we can also challenge beliefs. I believe in the equitability of providing you with value in return for fair and just compensation. However, I don’t believe that Esperanto is a pragmatic attempt at universal language, even if you do. After all, it isn’t used in mass translations, works of literature, or taught in universities.

Values are standards of behavior. A “culture” is merely that set of values which governs, and is manifested in, behaviors we engage in and observe. Value implies worth. Our values may be different on many things (you value isolation and I don’t) but should be synergistic on societal issues, such as preventing crime or educating children.

Vision is about imagining a future with innovation and creativity and wisdom. It is usually a “moving target” toward which we direct our trajectory for a better life for ourselves and others.

If you have beliefs and values that are discernable and articulated, but no vision, no wind is a good wind. You’re lost at sea.

If you have values and vision but no beliefs you have no steering with which to maneuver.

If you have vision and beliefs but no values, you have no gyroscope to keep you upright and on course.

Your values, beliefs, and vision do not have to be congruent with mine. But they need to be in the same ballpark. That’s why I’ve never consulted with organizations engaged in secret layoffs, or trying to move money away from tax authorities, or which treat their employees poorly.

The same applies to us. I wouldn’t work with a consultant who’s clearly just chasing money, or happy to take shortcuts that lower quality, or who inflates expenses.

What image are you projecting when you first meet prospects, walk out on a stage, or conduct a meeting? I remember a client who had a meeting that ended early and invited his people to go with him to Disneyland which was nearby without telling his boss, instead of returning to the office. They invited me along.

I caught a plane and went home. I didn’t believe what he was doing was right.