Importance of Shared Values

If you are having trouble marketing your products and services, perhaps instead of focusing on what you sell, you may get better results by focusing on building a community of people with shared values.

A venn diagram with 2 overlapping circles.

As I write this I am working on a short keynote for the LabVIEW Consultants Summit, which by the time this is published will have already occurred. One of the topics I intend to bring up is the importance of shared values. My business coach Nate has been promoting this idea ever since our very first meeting. People are attracted to, buy from, and interact with businesses based on shared values. (Side Note: Actually Nate uses the term source commitments, which I like much better, and no one seems to know what I am talking about when I use that term. Being committed to something implies more action than simply valuing something - that just requires words, which is why most of us laugh at traditional company value statements.) Of course like any good business principle, this applies to life outside of business as well.

People often say "You are the sum of all your friends". From my observation, that often tends to be true. People tend to share a lot of traits and values with those that surround them. That phrase is often used in a cautionary sense as in "Be careful who you hang out with." implying that your friends' values might rub off on you. What if we have that phrase wrong? What if the causality goes the opposite way? What if our values attract people with similar values to us? What if we share values with our friends, not because one of us rubbed off on the other, rather we chose those friends based on the simple fact that we already shared those values?

An Example

I am constantly running into examples of this idea in my life. As I look at my friends and the various people I interact with regularly in both my business and my personal life I can see that I share a variety of values with each one of them. Here is a recent example that stuck out to me.

A few years ago I joined a Software Crafters group. It is a Slack group for people who care about writing quality software. The Slack channel had a bot that would periodically pick 2 random people and set them up to have a virtual coffee together. It paired me up with various members of the group. Obviously, I shared at least one value with most of the members of the group and I got along well with everyone I met. Some of the people I met I got along with better than others. One of the people I really seemed to get along with was someone named Horia. We met for coffee and got along really well and shared a few conversations on Slack, but I drifted away from that group.

Fast forward a few years. I'm now part of this Empathy in Tech group. Again another group with a shared value. Horia shows up and is very active in the conversation and ends up giving a presentation.

In his bio for his presentation, I stumbled upon a link to his blog, so I went to check it out. What I found really resonated with me. This is what I found:

A screenshot of a website. The heading says "Why I write". It has a bulleted list below. The author uses the bullet points to point out how his writing sharpens and clarifies his thinking, benefits others, gives him a voice and influence, and helps him to remember what he's learned.
A screenshot of Horia's blog.

Why do you choose to read this blog?

If you are a regular reader of this blog, it is probably because we share some values. It is more than just "I'm a LabVIEW programmer and Sam writes about LabVIEW programming." That may be part of it, but I doubt that is the only reason. There are a handful of other sources for LabVIEW programming information out there. It's not a huge community and yet there are enough sources out there that you do have a choice. For some reason, you chose to come here and for that, I am very grateful. I very much appreciate you giving me some of your attention. Hopefully, I have been a good steward of it. I wish you all the best as you enjoy this holiday season and the new year.