Dirt Road Leadership

Dirt Road

I have a dirt road heritage. Much of my roots stem from a tiny patch of land in the mountains of very rural Alabama.

Proud? You bet.

And really it is not just a heritage thing. It is mostly because I was raised with some very strong values. Values are the foundation in my life. And that is a good thing.

On Leadership and Values

Values are the foundation of leadership as well. A new buzz in the current leadership books depicts Values Driven Leadership as all the rage. Values are absolutely the frame that surrounds the picture all of our best laid plans.

But how do we determine them?

Getting Started

Here’s an idea that will work. Take your blank legal pad and your trustworthy writing implement. Open up the flood gate of ideas in bullet form fashion and as fast and furiously as you can list all the things that you count as important to who you are and what defines you as an individual.

Let this be a time of idea fluency.

Green light every idea, don’t second guess anything as you list every little thing you think is part of the definition of your existence.

Now take a break, step away from the pad, go let your mind do something else. Get something to drink – I suggest Diet Coke.

Round Two

At some not so distant future time, come back to the pad and cross out half of them that if you had to choose only half, could be eliminated.

Now take a break, step away from the pad, go let your mind do something else. Get something to drink – I suggest Diet Coke.

Again, return to your thoughts and cross out half of them that are the lesser important statements.

Take a break, you know the drill.


Values Sorting Exercise with Recalibrate Cards

Values drive decisions. Decisions drive behaviors. Behaviors drive results.

Recalibrate Cards - Values Sorting & Prioritization Exercise

Round Three

Repeat this process until you absolutely cannot eliminate any other statements because they are just too important to you. These remaining ideals, friends, are your values. These are the core of your existence, the things you would take a bullet for.

This is the outline for your values statement which gives you the framework for your mission and your vision. These are the foundations of your life. You have a reason and means to define your existence.

Interestingly enough it works for your team, in a corporate setting as well. Give it a try, it will give you sure footing in an ever-changing world.

Here’s to dirt roads, diet cokes, values and leadership.

So, how fully aware are are you of your personal values? Have you taken an inventory to see what is driving your decisions, behaviors, and results? If not, take a minute and see how powerful this can be to help you raise your level of personal leadership effectiveness. You will be glad you did!


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Dr. Dan Roberts
Dr. Dan Roberts is professor of Organizational Leadership at Point University
His teaches “If you desire to lead, you must decide to serve.”
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter |  Web | Skype: Danroberts531

Image Sources: 99mag.com

3 responses to “Dirt Road Leadership

  1. Great tips, thanks.

    The next stage, round four would be to examine your values, and with each one separately in mind ask yourself the question, “why is this important to me?”

    When you have your answer then check if the reason you have is a positive or a negative reason. A positive reason is one where it will get you something you want or somewhere you want to be in your life/work. A negative reason is one where it will help you avoid getting what you do not want.

    Negative reasons can be very compelling but once you have distanced yourself far enough away from them, ie worked hard enough on your value they then become less compelling and therefore your results may be mixed.

    For example if money is a value of yours, if you want money because you do not want to be poor, then this is a negative reason and will be good enough to get you off the street, but when you have earned sufficient money not to be poor, then it will cease to be important to you. This is often the reason for boom and bust!

    If money is important because it gives you access to a greater life and will allow you to spend your days doing what you want to do, then this is positive and will continue to be motivating for you even when you have enough of it.

    Have a positive picture in mind for what is important to you in life.


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