Looking after yourself is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

I've always been interested in peoples’ values and what motivates them.  At this moment in time, employee motivation has been thrust into the spotlight more than ever.

Our motives affect the way we make sense of and respond to the world around us, both at a conscious and unconscious level, and right now that world is like nothing we've seen or experienced before! We've seen people’s best behaviour and all the great ways people have come together during this pandemic, and also some of people’s worst traits.

Our values act as a lens – they colour what we find important and motivational, and determine which messages we find inspiring or distasteful. Being aware of our values offers clues as to why we behave and react the way we do in certain situations. Our primal instinct is to defend those values at all costs, and being unaware of such reactions can lead to disruption both in ourselves and those around us.

So, what are your values? I thought I’d share an exercise with you which hopefully you will find useful:

  1. Consider a recent situation that provoked a strong emotional response within you. 
  2. Write down the situation and outcome, and also how you felt.
  3. If there was another person involved in the situation, can you make a guess at what their values were and how they felt?
  4. Which of your values were contradicted?
  5. What makes these values important to you?

Knowing your values and how you respond to them is the first part to becoming emotionally agile - its about recognising and paying direct attention to your triggers and responses.


Given the current circumstances we all find ourselves in, we may have seen these triggers and responses surface more frequently of late. Understanding the reason we react the way we do allows us to catch the emotional response, watch it arrive and find a way to manage it appropriately.

Now that we understand our personal values better and what drives and motivates us, let’s consider what is at play when we're faced with change. The ABC process takes place:

A - Activating - being in a changing situation;

B - Beliefs about the event - our interpretation of why it is happening, and our speculations;

C - Consequences of our beliefs - our feelings, thoughts, behaviours caused by our underlying beliefs.

Realise if you're a manager or leader that values are especially important in organisations, as they often set the standard for internal communication and have a great impact on company culture; 

Aspire to understand that values are key to enabling you to connect with individual employees in ways that are likely to inspire commitment, compel them to put forth discretionary effort, and provide them with a deeper sense of meaning, and;

Do pay attention to your own values and those of the people around you.

Blog Posts

  • This very famous quote from a cleaner in NASA is for me is the epitome of good performance management.
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  • At the start of this year the Education Secretary said there should be no need for “snow days” now that children had been able to learn from home using on-line platforms and virtual classrooms.

    Blended learning is a phrase that has been around since 1998, when the first web-based instruction was launched.  Organisations could simply upload material, eLearning assessments, and assignments via the web, and learners could access them with a click of a mouse button.

  • At a recent CIPD Scotland event I attended, Lesley Malcolm from M55 stated "1 in 4 people will suffer a mental health issue in any one year. 1 in 6 people in the workplace will suffer a mental health issue and the majority of these individuals will be “in work”. 

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  • Like many parents, home schooling while we’re working is the “norm”. Being asked to act and play a character in the opening scene from "The Princess and the Frog” that had to be recorded and marked by my daughter’s Drama teacher, maybe not??!!  The pressure ......
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  • Being responsible for over 600 employees at the time in Ladbroke Grove Store, one of the stores I worked in, I used to periodically carry out an exercise that looked at employees’ skills the ones we knew about and the ones we didn’t! Hence - “What we know and what we didn’t know”.  This information I then used in conversations with line managers and employees around succession planning and their career.
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