Project Management


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Our values shape and define who we are. Our values are the sum of our beliefs, needs and assumptions. 

Some people go through their whole life unaware of the values that shape their judgments and relationships. 

When we are aware of our values, they guide us, they open our eyes, they enable us to sense what is going on in our own journey and how we relate to others and how they relate to us.

When we are not aware of values, it can be like changing lanes without checking our blind spot. We can end up in perpetual conflicts and breakdowns.

When get wrapped up in our own assumptions. When we get trapped in trying to explain everything through projections. When we get caught up in behaviors (who said what, who did what to who), not their root cause. Imagine a relationship that is a perpetual accident.

When we are blind to our own values and how they shape our thinking and actions. When we are blind to other peoples values. We call this values-myopia. Values-myopia will wreck not only projects, but also entire lives. 

This can mean the difference between success and project failure at work. This is why PMI has published the our core values of project management. 

This can mean the difference between the fulfillment of our intimate relationships at home or the most important personal relationships of our life being damaged for life. 

The difference is entirely up to us. 

When we are conscious of our values we can use them to as precision tools like a compass to navigate through vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

The four PMI Core Values are presented in the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct:

  • Responsibility
  • Honesty
  • Fairness
  • Respect

These four PMI Values “…describe the expectations that we have or ourselves and our fellow practitioners in the global project management community. It articulates the ideals to which we aspire as well as the behaviors that are mandatory in our professional and volunteer roles”

Values are the foundation of effective project and disciplined agile leadership.

Our shared values form the basis of the culture we inhabit.

Our values are the basis for change and how results are achieved. The same values can take on completely different meanings for individuals, given their depth of development and self-awareness. 

Values-driven leadership has always been important in project management. In an agile environment this discipline is crucial as the transparency across all roles and functions taps the potential that resides within each individual and between people. 

Dialogue about values is healthy. This clarity of communication can allow potentially destructive conflicts to be anticipated and turned into creative conflicts that drive creativity and innovation.

In other words, people working together may have different values, even conflicting values, but when these are understood and appreciated, they can allow for creative conflict that creates something that is greater than the sum of the parts. This discipline is not easy. But this can be the difference between failure and greatness. 

What are your driving values? Take a minute. Grab a piece of paper and write out the three or four values that are the most important to you in your home and work life. 

What are the shared values of the teams you work in? How close are these to the four PMI Core Values? If the shared values of the teams you work in are not defined, what if - as an experiment - you were to use the four PMI Core Values as precision tools for driving excellence?

These two steps will enable you turn your values into a precision tool, a proactive way of creating the future.

  1. ASPIRED VALUES: At the beginning of each day, reflect on your three or four driving values. Capture in a journal or notebook how will you apply your driving values in the key encounters and decisions in the day ahead? Just thinking through these questions will alter the way you experience yourself  and how show up for others and how you are experienced by others. 
  2. ACTUALIZED VALUES: Through the day as you deal with people and make decisions, reflect in real time on how your values are being embodied or denied in your decisions and actions. At the end of each day conduct a retrospective. Journal how your values affected:
  • YOURSELF: How true am I to my values?  
  • OTHERS: How well are the values of the people around me aligned?
  • ALL: How well am I aligned with the values of the institutions I belong to and vice versa? (e.g., marriage, family, community, association, business, etc.,)

It is important to ask others for feedback on specific aspects of the ways in which you relate and lead and to carve out quality time to provide constructive feedback to others. 

The more proactively you do this, the more your values will shape your personal brand. This will allow you to attune into how your leadership presence is experienced and valued by the world.

Being values-driven transforms how we navigate through the chaos and turbulence of our new realities.

How are you going to use your VALUES to create the future of your family, your work and your relationship with yourself?

There are many things that we cannot choose in life, but our most important choices of all, who we are, how we show up, what we stand for and how we create the future through our values – these choices are in our complete control.

Please share in your comments your thoughts on the importance of values in your work and life, so we can all learn from each other.

How are you going to use values to create the future through the chaos and turbulence of your new realities?

Posted by Kashmir Birk on: June 09, 2020 10:50 PM | Permalink

Comments (7)

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To be successful in this VUCA environment, we need to practice Influencial leadership skills. For us to influence others, understanding the core values of self and the other person will be so handy. It will help us to pitch in with the right spirit. Thanks for reminding us how important our core values are!!

You hooked me at the first line: "Our values shape and define who we are".
Most of the time, it looks like to me that project professionals oversee the importance of value-driven leadership.

I've just come across another blog (Ethics Bistro) where the author was stressing out the importance of the four values especially in this new-normal world.


Values are rainy clouds in a thirsty land. The more you pour on them, you are valued more by your connections. It is invisible to you as a practise, yet people identify your true self, even from miles apart!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, there is the need for more articles such as this one.

I think that one of the issues here is that someone might have to deal with potential inconsistencies between the Core Values and performance required by senior management.

Even though this shouldn't be the case, someone might have to choose between following the Core Values vs 'acceptable' performance, considering the consequences that unacceptable/poor performance (according to senior management) might have.

Great article! I believe that values also contribute to a professional’s way of dealing with others. Values is what defines your character and personality and can never be bought by money, positions, or power.

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"In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

- Orson Welles, The Third Man