Values are the vitality of life. Live yours!
World Values day is upon us again and what better time is there to think about the meaning of life (other than perhaps many of the other wonderful moments that sign-post our journey through this beautiful, if challenged, human world).
Our Values are important. They are what make us human. They guide our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. They are why we get out of bed in the morning. When we live our lives by our values we are happier. When we don’t or are prevented from doing so, we can often feel discontented, dissatisfied or even angry. So although a relatively new creation, World Values Day has real merit.
Of course we would say that here at One Minute to Midnight since we are the original Human Insights Company. Those who know our work, and I suspect even some of those who don’t, appreciate that we take Human Values very seriously. We advocate that brands, products and services should seek to enable their customers to live their values across all touch points. By doing so, not only will the brand, product and service in question make stronger connections with their audience but they will also serve the greater good by making people more content. In a time of brand purpose and meaning, this must be a good thing.
We won’t bore you with the very clever, fun, gamified model we use that enables us to get super deep, super quick for many of the world’s leading brands such as TikTok, Duolingo, Kenwood, Unilever and Pepsico. But it is very smart, very fun and also exceedingly useful. No humble brags here…just brags.
Instead, and perhaps rather narcissistically, we thought it might be a time to put it out there how we developed our own values and how we ensure they are lived every single day by all of our folks across our two offices. If we bang on about the importance of values to our clients day in and day out, we believe we better understand how this deeply human operating system works and how we can optimise said system in our own lives…
Four Rituals of a Better Values Led Life
To ensure our Values really have substance and aren’t just bland corporate graffiti we engage in 4 mindful rituals, these being:
Understanding their purpose
Reflecting on their meaning
Living them with intention
Leaning into luck
Understanding their purpose
One Minute to Midnight has 5 values. They are Caring, Discipline, Creativity, Courageous and Growth. They have been built from within by the whole team. We all own them. They are continuously being refined. We appreciate and think about their purpose as our guiding lights, our tiller, our steering wheel, even our conscience be it for a day’s meeting or to supercharge the quarter ahead. We appreciate that by applying them to everything we do internally and externally we and the company will have a strong sense of purpose in good times and bad, and a groundedness in our areas for improvement.
Reflecting Upon Their Meaning
We continuously evaluate the meaning of each value by reflecting deeply upon them. We assign dedicated time at our Human Festival of Love and Emotion each year to explore and stress test the values as a team to provide further definition in terms of what it means, what behaviours we can do that will can ensure it will be truly deeply lived, what emotions might we expect to experience whilst living it (thus improving our communal EQ) and what belief systems constitute that value, i.e we give them all real world meaning.
Living with Intention
We have Values Friday’s every month where we deliberately do an activity together as teams that means we live a specific value. This could be helping out in a homeless shelter kitchen near NYC’s Grand Central Station (Caring), going to the V&A Museum to look at an exhibition on African Fashion (Creativity) or getting dirty pulling invasive weeds with the NYC Parks Service (Courage). We then break bread together afterwards as a team by reflecting and discussing how we live that value with intention as people and an organisation moving forward- living a bit of Hedonism as well!
This ensures our Values are not abstract wishful constructs but living and breathing energies that power our business.
Leaning into Luck
Finally, as our good friend Andy Nairn communicated to us beautifully at our first ever Human Festival of Love and Emotion, serendipity plays a key part in our lives. So each week we leave it up to luck which Values we will live most that week...we all roll our Values dice and whichever value lands most directs our intention to living it to its optimum. It serves us well.
A Final Thought
We take Values seriously here at One Minute to Midnight. Not just because it’s a nice thing to do but it really enables us to create real purpose and meaning and provides the team a little joy. Our clients see and feel this, the folk that work here love it and we like to think we are putting a little nugget of goodness out into this challenging old world of ours.
If you have got this far we’ll leave you with a challenge.
What are your values and why do you have them?
How have you lived them in the last week or so and how did you feel?
How can you live them more moving forward
Then if you work with brands, before thinking about the value you might bring to them, stop and think about your customers! What are their Values and how can your brand help them live them more and as a consequence make them more content and perhaps ultimately make the world perhaps just a slightly better place.
Embrace the purpose of Values as our guides. Reflect on yours and their meaning. Live life by them with intention. Lean into luck. And you never know what may happen, the world might just become a better place for you and those around you! Happy World Values Day.
From human to human,