“So, how do you find out what they want?” asked Martin. “You know, sometimes I talk to them about stuff like this. Sometimes, I ask them what their goals are. And sometimes, they don’t have a clue.
“I know it’s important to get some alignment between what I want (or what the company wants) and what they want. But sometimes, I don’t think they know.”
“You are right,” I agreed. “Often, people don’t know what they want. Think about this, though. People want what they value.
“How important is it for you, as a manager, to find out what your individual team members value?”
Martin pondered a moment. “I am with you. It is important,” he replied. “But how do you find out about a person’s values when sometimes they don’t even know themselves?”
“Let’s start with the easy stuff,” I suggested. “What clues can you tell about a person simply from their appearance?”
“You mean, in terms of values?” Martin asked. He paused. “Well, you can tell some things about a person by the way they dress. Attention to detail, neatness, or sloppiness.”
“I have an exercise for you, Martin. Remember, a person’s dress is only a clue, not absolute certainty. Nonetheless, I want you to make a list of your top three team members, and simply by the way they dress, write down some words that describe their positive attributes. I will meet you here tomorrow to talk about some other ways to determine values in other people.”