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Core values?

[ 2010-09-14 11:44]     字号 [] [] []  
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Core values?Reader question:

Please explain this sentence – “Customer satisfaction is one of our core values,” – and “core values” in particular.

My comments:

It simply means that making a customer happy is very important to them.

If you value something, your car for example, you think it’s important to you. Values in plural, on the other hand, refer to your collection of principles, that is, your ideas about right and wrong and what is important in life.

The core is the innermost part of fruit such as an apple. Core values therefore refer to values that you cling closest to heart.

In other words, core values are things that are most important, things you won’t give up as easily as, say, you may give up your car.

Consider, for example, this Don Williams song (I believe in you):

I don’t believe in superstars,
Organic food and foreign cars.
I don’t believe the price of gold;
The certainty of growing old.
That right is right and left is wrong,
That north and south can't get along.
That east is east and west is west.
And being first is always best.

But I believe in love.
I believe in babies.
I believe in Mom and Dad.
And I believe in you.

You may say the things he believes in are his core values, i.e. love, babies, mom and dad and, not to forget, you.

Superstars, organic food and foreign cars on the other hand are valuable stuff but at the end of day, they’re not something one could count on. They’re certainly not things one would give up love, babies and old folks for.

In short, once again, core values are principles you value the most.

Personal enrichment, for example, is something we all value. However, if we have to do it at the expense of personal integrity, we will hesitate – we’d at least hesitate, I think. Some of us would at any rate. That is to say, personal integrity is to many of us a core value.

Personal integrity and incorruptibility, however, appears not to be a core value of top officials at the Chinese Football Association. If you follow the news, you’ll have gotten word that almost all member of Chinese football’s top brass are now under investigation for bribery and match fixing.

It’s neither here nor there to point this out but I have to say that this, in a way, explains why even though we have the largest population in the world and the second largest economy, Chinese football has for many years been languishing close to 100 (sometimes falling off the top 100 in Fifa rankings) amongst some 200 of the world’s footballing countries, nations and regions.

Anyways, it appears that personal integrity is not valued by those bureaucrats. Or, to put it in another way, money seems to matter more. In either case, customer satisfaction – making football fans happy and satisfied – appears to have been of no consideration.

Alright, here are media examples of “core values”:

1. When I look at photos of men from my grandfather’s and even my dad’s generation, I can see a sense of purpose in the eyes of those men. Yet when I look at men today, I often don’t sense that kind of steely focus. Instead, I see dudes who are just sort of drifting along whichever way life pulls them.

I’ve heard a lot of men my age complain of a sense of shiftless. They don’t have the drive, purpose, and ambition that our forbearers had, and they feel adrift.

And this isn’t some sort of cranky old man observation about “kids these days.” Several books and articles by sociologists back up these observations.

There are numerous factors why men are just sort of drifting by today. Changes in the economy and societal shifts in regards to gender are definitely two major factors. But, let’s be honest. There’s not much a man, let alone a man stuck in neutral, can do about these things. So, today we’re going to focus on something that we all have the power to control: our core values.

The Importance of Clearly Defining Your Core Values

Defining our values gives us purpose. When you don’t know or you haven’t clearly defined your values, you end up drifting along in life. Instead of basing your decisions on an internal compass, you make choices based on circumstances and social pressures. You end up trying to fulfill other people’s expectations instead of your own. And before you know it, life has passed you by and you haven’t even started to live. Trying to be someone else and living without core values is down right exhausting and leaves you feeling empty and shiftless. Conversely, living a life in line with your core values brings purpose, direction, happiness, and wholeness.

Defining our values prevents us from making bad choices. Perhaps you have a vague idea about what you value. But if you haven’t clearly defined your values, you can end up making choices that conflict with them. And when your actions conflict with your values, the result is unhappiness and frustration.

Defining our values gives us confidence. I’ve noticed that when I take the time to really think and meditate upon what I value as a man and then write those things down, I’m more likely to have the courage and confidence to make choices based on those values. There’s something about actually writing down your values that makes you more committed to living them.

Defining our values makes life simpler. When you’re sure of your core values, decision making becomes much much simpler. When faced with a choice, you simply ask yourself: “Does this action align with my values?” If it does, you do it. If it doesn’t, you don’t. Instead of fretting over what’s the best thing do to, and standing shilly-shally in times of crisis, you simply let your internal compass guide you.

- Define Your Core Values, by Brett & Kate McKay, ArtOfManliness.com, May 31, 2009.

2. This time last year, Tiger Woods could reasonably have been described as having it all: a billion dollars in the bank, a wife and children at home and a place in history as one of the most successful sportsmen of all time.

Yesterday, things looked rather different for the world’s number one golfer when he was divorced by his wife, Elin Nordegren, after a spectacular fall from grace.

The news that Woods and his wife were divorcing was not entirely unexpected. In the nine months since his life began to unravel, Woods has been the subject of more “kiss and tells” than the Premier League’s worst philanderers.

But whether it was alleged dalliances with a Playboy bunny, a lingerie model, a former porn star, a current porn star, a club promoter, a sex worker or cocktail waitresses which persuaded Nordegren to call time on her five-year marriage was unclear. Divorce papers simply described the relationship as “irretrievably broken”. Now Nordegren could be in line to receive an enormous divorce settlement, with speculation beginning at $100m (£66m) and soaring to $750m (£500m) last night.

Confirming their divorce, the former couple issued a statement which read: “We are sad that our marriage is over and we wish each other the very best for the future. While we are no longer married, we are the parents of two wonderful children and their happiness has been, and will always be, of paramount importance.

“Once we came to the decision that our marriage was at an end, the primary focus of our amicable discussions has been to ensure their future well-being.

“The weeks and months ahead will not be easy for them as we adjust to a new family situation, which is why our privacy must be a principal concern.”

The couple will share custody of their two children, their lawyers said.

The cracks started to appear in Woods’s previously flawless image last November when he crashed his car into a fire hydrant in his Florida driveway in the middle of the night. What, on the surface of it, could have been an unremarkable accident took an unexpected turn when police reported that Nordegren had been spotted at the scene brandishing a golf club, and neither she nor Woods would talk to them.

The rumour mill quickly shifted to turbo as US gossip websites linked the incident to reports in the National Enquirer alleging Woods had an affair with a New York nightclub hostess, Rachel Uchitel.

Two days after the accident, Woods released a statement. He said at the time: “I’m human and I’m not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn’t happen again. This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way.”

But it did nothing to stem the number of women waiting to tell reporters how Woods had got them pregnant, paid for their liposuction or slept with them on his stag do. He released a further statement on 11 December, apologizing for his infidelity and announcing he would be taking an “indefinite break” from golf. He lost sponsorship deals with Gatorade and Accenture, while other endorsement deals were scaled down. An attempt to rebuild his commercial reputation was criticized when he filmed an advert for Nike in which he appeared to be receiving advice from his late father – a marketing ploy dismissed as “cheesy” by his furious wife.

Woods went into therapy, staying away from golf for five months, and he kept his counsel until 19 February. It was then that the 14-time major winner made an emotional apology for cheating on his wife in front of selected journalists and colleagues. “I was unfaithful, I had affairs, I cheated,” he said then. “What I did is not acceptable and I am the only person to blame. I stopped living by the core values I was taught to believe in.

“I knew my actions were wrong but I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply.

“I never thought about who I was hurting, instead I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries a married couple should live by.

“I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. “I felt I was entitled thanks to money and fame. I didn’t have to go far to find them. I was wrong and I was foolish.”

- Tiger Woods announces divorce: ‘Our marriage is irretrievably broken’, The Guardian, August 24, 2010.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


Under the radar?

Hard wired?

Equal to the challenge

Sweep it under the carpet

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑陈丹妮)