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The Power of Pause

Your values are the soul of your leadership, and they drive your behavior - John C. Maxwell.

Today I want to Press Pause and discuss something that is the most important thing to all of us. Our values. I’m talking about the deep values within us. The people, places, things, thoughts, and beliefs that we personally hold in reverence.

When I work with clients and we get to a place of deeper understanding and trust, I ask them, “What do you value?” Sometimes a client might be quick to answer. Sometimes they might say one thing at the beginning only to discover later on in the conversation a variety of values different than their initial reaction.

Values can range from an organization or institution of people who have a particular mission, or values are held by one specific leader or a particular individual. Usually, it’s the compass pointing to an area where new energy is needed to get a desired result. How many times have you felt, this isn’t working anymore? It’s because whatever you are doing is out of alignment with your value(s).

Think about The Great Resignation. Some of us were on auto-pilot. During Covid, this was completely disrupted and made people re-evaluate where and how they were working. Some even took it to an extreme and exited their current roles that weren’t serving them well. It’s value realization.

As I listen to my clients, I ask them to Press Pause to help identify their authentic values and then I immediately re-frame it. “So, what you are saying is that this is what’s important to you.” It gives that value a personal meaning for them.

Through that discovery process, we have uncovered what I call your operating system. This is like an IOS Windows system that you run on. Deep down inside, we all run on our values. We see them show up time and time again. You have to re-evaluate. Press Pause. What am I doing? What do I want? Why is the outcome I wanted not happening? If we don’t figure out what our values are, it will be much harder to change our behaviors in order to maximize a positive outcome. Sometimes with clients, we discuss searching for a metaphor for that value.

Recently I was on Radio Jobline at 103.9 FM on Long Island where I discussed values with Host Scott Passeser who is senior vice president of Executive Alliance in Commack. He had this to say about value. “We discuss value in staffing here. When I am talking to a candidate about their career, what I want to know is why do they have their eyes open [looking for a new position]. It could be for a better salary or the industry they are in could be fading. We have to ask our candidates what they truly value in order to find a spot for them that makes sense.”

Good business practice leads to serving one another’s interest. It’s a jazz sort of relationship you are building by listening to their values and finding out what’s important to them so that when they want something from you, your job is clear. You are able to serve them well and it all came from that place of pause and reflect.

If you think of it like a server at a restaurant. It’s a simple moment of, “what do you want or need.” A Waiter or waitress can provide that for you. Within an organization, if you know what the other person values or wants, you are more able to give it to them.

When we are out of sync with what we value or we feel that our behaviors aren’t in line with our values, we become inauthentic and run on empty. When we are leaders who are running on empty that looks like: not listening to others, doing the same procedures because that’s how it been done, or having angry outbursts, or mismanaging projects either by underestimating or overestimating the time, effort, and money it takes to get the job done.

The best way to figure out what we value is to stop and explore our operating system. See if it is working to our advantage. Be curious and learn about yourself and you will find all the pieces of the puzzle will fit. Press Pause—what do you value?

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, reach out at and I will reply.


Robert Paulson


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