Early in my career as a group facilitator, I was introduced to the power of values as a foundational ingredient in people believing in the goodness of who they were and who they could become.
We were given a set of cards, one value on each card and a description of the value in action. For example, “Compassionate – I care for the honour of all beings, as a brother to a brother, as a mother to her child.”
As I began using the cards, I realized people wanted to take ‘their card’ to guide them during their day. I began printing them on business cardstock so people could take their unique card with them. I used the cards at many points in the lifecycle of a group, a class, or a project. For instance, I might ask a Board of Directors to each draw a card to guide them in their meeting, or as an affirmation in a wrap-up session with a project team.
It became a powerful feedback tool where a person would randomly draw a card from the deck and the facilitator would read it aloud in front of the group. Others would break out in a chorus of ‘That’s you!’ or ‘Wow, right on!’ It is a very affirming process for people building values-based leadership styles and organizations.
Sometimes a person would reject the card, saying “Oh that’s not me…” and our process then would be to turn it into an aspirational value that would be important for their growth and development as an individual in the community group or their organizational team.
Either way the magic of the cards asserted itself. Most times there would be a feeling of synchronicity when someone got a card that spoke to them about what was going on in their life.
It also helped these groups create a new vocabulary for talking about values, virtues, characteristics of a team to help replace the ever-present desire to correct or blame others when something went wrong. Groups and teams were able to see aspirational values in each other to help them appreciate the efforts people were making, even if mistakes occurred. The cards helped create new possibilities for awareness and respect for self and others.
People then began asking for a set of cards they could have on their desk or the boardroom table so they could initiate a ritual of inviting others to choose a card to begin or close a meeting. Knowing the power of their own experience with the value cards, they wanted others to experience the same inspiration.
People also wanted their own deck for personal moments of reflection, so they could focus their mind on a value at the beginning of the day or before an important meeting.
As we worked with groups on a variety of issues and themes important to them, new cards were co-created as group projects and then refined for sharing with others. This was how the ‘We Lead with Heart’ cards were developed during an international Community Development Leadership for Women Certificate Course.
During COVID-19, when so much of our work and interactions with others moved online, we realized the need for the values cards in our sessions. We wanted to use then in the same ways but now in the online space. Below are links to 3 new online versions of the cards – ‘the value4today’ cards are presented in English and Arabic (with thanks to the TAG Egypt team for their translation); and a ‘weleadwithheart’ set focusing on women’s leadership.
Please introduce yourself to the cards today, choose one and begin your own journey of incorporating values into your day and interactions with others.
As well you may be interested in our book of values activities: “The Alphabet Series – Virtues A-Z – a Facilitator’s Guide to Spiritual Literacy” available on Amazon.