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Business Storytelling

Who Wrote the Book of Virtues?

 September 10, 2021

By  Jana Hassett

Who Wrote The Book of Virtues?

Believe it or not, Benjamin Franklin, in the late 1700’s.  He identified 13 moral virtues he “met with in his readings”.

I found his little book while helping a client explore their business values.  She wanted to list as many values that might pertain to her service-based business before she settled on what was most important to her.  That brought us to reflect on the difference between virtues and values.

According to a blog post on Medium by Jack Krupansky, “Value and virtue both refer to the same thing – beliefs, principals, ideals, qualities, traits,” etc.  The key difference being “values are more theory, virtues are more the reality”.

Benjamin Franklins’ 13 Virtues were really values to start with.  His daily chart for, tracking his progress, helped him manage his life and achieve virtues. The key for him was to narrow the scope, i.e. definition, of each topic for achieveability.  More names with fewer ideas (precepts) to measure them.  Then he prioritized them.

First was Temperance with the precept of “eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

Second was Silence with the precept of “speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.”   And so on - -

Mr Krupansky, in his article, goes on to identify the 7 virtues identified through religion: Temperance, prudence, courage, justice, faith, hope and love (charity).

If you’re looking for help with identifying your values, business or personal, you might read the Medium article or buy Ben’s Book.  I’ve linked you to Medium above and you’ll find Ben’s Book on Amazon.

What Are Your Business Values?

Consider your intentions, expectations, aspirations, and priorities.

  • To discover your intentions ask yourself “what problem does your product or service solve for your customer?
  • Expectations require you need to know what your customers expect in return for payment.
  • Aspirations center around what you want to be known for.
  • Priorities include thinking about what is more important in the long run – money or quality. 

Values are aspirational.  By themselves, they are ideals or goals which guide your business to success.  Choose the ones that reflect your personal beliefs and what you want to achieve.

Here’s a sample set of business values reflected on a client’s website, Facebook page and business operations.

Client Focused Values –

Ethical

Respectful

Integrity

Vision

Team Focused Values –

Honesty

Friendly

Rusted

Professional


When you have identified a number of values to consider, choose the top 5.  Work with those 5 for the first six months, then review and revise.  And don’t try to hide the changes, be transparent in your business storytelling.  In today’s world your customers want to know why you’ve made changes – including the priorities of your values.

Need help?   Reach out if you do.  I’m happy to talk you through the process.  You can email me or sign up for a 30 minute no-cost coaching session.


Until next time - - -



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