I have been wanting to write about values and their importance for some time now. Nearly two months ago I attended a funeral of a friend from Beijing who was a model of leadership in the PR community, the Jewish community, and someone everyone looked up to for his advice. His name was David Wolf, and he was always generous with his time and counsel. What I didn’t know was he was an avid Boy Scout leader, and this guided much of his life after PR. Beyond listening to the tributes made to him and the life he lived, what I remembered most were the remarks of a scout leader equating David’s life to the Boy Scout values.
Among the Boy Scout values are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent, and I could see how David embodied these throughout his life, and, at least, my interactions with him.
The Omnipresence of Values
What I realized since that day was this topic of values keeps popping up in almost everything I do.
Yesterday, I attended a lunch with Tim Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics, and the Advisory Board of the Special Olympics in East Asia. It was clear to me the Special Olympics is guided by its values, and if you have had any interaction with this organization, you can see and feel them. The Special Olympics values are sportsmanship with joy, athlete leadership, unity, bravery and perseverance.
For those not familiar with the Special Olympics, it is an organization committed to people with intellectual disabilities and their families and communities. It is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability. Special Olympics are helping to make the world a better, healthier and more joyful place—one athlete, one volunteer, one family member at a time. Here is a picture of us from yesterday’s lunch in Beijing, China.
Last week I attended a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan with the Ogilvy PR regional leadership, thanks to the invitation of Emily Poon, Ogilvy PR’s President for Asia. This was the team I formerly led, before Emily stepped in and raised the bar for PR leadership in the Asia-Pacific region. The topic of values permeated this meeting. It was mentioned by guest speakers, and it dominated decisions different breakout teams were making regarding where to set priorities. Sharing a picture of the folks at this meeting…my Ogilvy community in Asia.
From January – May of this year I taught a weekly graduate course at University of Southern California (USC) on the topic of Crisis Management. From analyzing daily and weekly good and bad crisis cases, and there were a lot, the best performing companies in facing crises were those guided by clear values buoyed by a strong culture.
This topic has been so much on mind, I created a few values for myself for this stage of my life that I shared with my kids and wife. My son immediately called me and asked if everything was ok.
On May 14th our family celebrated my wife’s birthday together with Mother’s Day, and we added Samuel’s birthday in the mix because I am in Asia at the moment. My wife is someone who doesn’t have to write down her values, she always reminds us. And, it is true as they come through very strongly with the way she cares for, and prioritizes, our family. Picture of Lisa and Samuel from that event below, and of Lisa and Levi from the morning.
While in Taiwan last week I also had a chance to meet up with Lisa’s mom, brothers, sister and their spouses. Just being around her mother, I understand Lisa more about the values that guide her life. Picture below.
If you haven’t done the exercise of just writing down three-to-five values that guide your life, I highly recommend it. It may not be a revolutionary insight, but it will help guide you during the big decisions you make in your life.
Museum of Values
In writing today’s missive, I watched this Ted Talk below by Jan Stassen, who is co-founder of the Museum of Values, I thought it would be a good addition to this post, if you have the time to watch. He talks about the power of values and how they serve as a compass for life.
Wishing you a values-driven great week ahead. Today’s Monday Morning Mojo coming to you live from Beijing, China.
Excellent Scotty. You’ve got me thinking about “what are my own personal values?” I need to get thinking and writing them down. Keep smiling has to be one!
You got that one nailed Robert!
…. and keep walking, Robert !
Thanks for sharing Scott. You are also one who lives your values. Knowing one’s Gudiño values and living them leaves no room for regrets.
Values… when thinking about it, making a list is stimulating. The options can be endless. In my case, the list begins and ends with the old tried and true, “Do Unto Others,”etc. To me, it isn’t just a Sermon on the Mount phrase. It’s a moral code for each of us to tend and grow.
As the years roll by, more and more I value the “true” piece of the Golden Rule. Becoming the person I am today took a whole lot of testing the “tried” piece. As an octogenarian, I’m still “piecing” it together.