Generating and Understanding Values


Each building block provides tools and tips to increase the trust among your partners. One entry into building trust is through finding the alignment of shared values and motivations.  Values are a window into who we are and what we “stand for” – our base.  By opening up and making connections here, you are creating the connective tissue of trust.

What’s the Result?

Stepping into a more personal and even vulnerable space with this exercise can help to develop and deepen trust. This powerful sharing isn’t normally done with people who work together, it provides a unique opportunity to know each other on a more “human level.”  When you’re done with this exercise, both you and your partner should have a deeper understanding of each other’s values, motivation.

Materials: Pen, index cards, and watch.

Time: 90 Minutes

Part I: Sharing personal values

Each partner will have a turn to share their values, listen to and capture their partner’s values. This exercise is done best when each partner has a chance to do Part I first, then switch your roles and do the same for Part II.[CP(1] 

Begin with Partner A.

Step 1.Partner A shares (5 mins):

“Describe a moment in your life or your work, current or past, when you felt you were operating at your highest or your best – when it felt like everything came together and you were “in the flow?” What was happening, what were you doing (or not doing) and what made it great?”

While Partner A is speaking, Partner B is making note  (on the index cards) of the “values” or “principles” you are hearing that is embedded in this story. Courage? Service to Others? Family? Try to keep them to 1-3 words each. Write down as many as you hear.

Step 2. Partner B shares with Partner A what they heard (5 mins)

Thank Partner A for their story.

Read back to Partner A the values and principles you heard expressed as they told their story. Read your notes back to Partner A twice: first, slowly and without comments from Partner A, and then a second time more quickly. Ask for any changes or additions.

Step 3: Talk and share “Values Cards” (10 mins)

Talk together about the exercise and what you both learned. Share appreciation for both the sharing and the listening.

Partner B then writes each value on a separate index card and gives them to Partner A. These “Values Cards” are theirs to keep and use however they wish. Note: We are all motivated by our values, whatever they may be. Often, when we’re struggling in our work around decision-making or in other areas of our lives, it is because something is in conflict with our values or we simply aren’t honoring them in a way that feels meaningful. These cards can be a reminder to “check-in” with values when you’re feeling stuck.


Part II: Sharing organizational values

This part is done together. Discuss the following with each other. (20 mins)

  • How do your personal values connect to the mission and values of your organization?
  • What you think drives or motivates the work of the organization?
  • What you are most proud of about your organization?

Part III: Building the values of your partnership

This part is done together. Discuss the following with each other. (30 mins)

  • What are the values that you want to embed in this partnership? (Identify 3-5 max)

What are the behaviors that will demonstrate each of these values?