Frans Halslaan 1, 9051 Gent
(+32) 499 56 01 24
hello@benoitstrauven.com

My Values

With effort and self-discovery
I have pinpointed my core personal values

Values

Maybe abstract for some, definitely not for me.

To define a list of core values is treacherous.  There are so many !

And to pick a few is to not pick others.
So why do I have the specific list on the right ?

Because I believe that these are the critical values in building thriving organizations.

And because I like the number 8.

01
Mutual respect

We’re all different.  Who we are, where we come from, what we believe in, how we live our lives, how we see the world.

And that’s OK. We all have value as human beings. With the right approach, our differences can improve our experience at work and enhance what we can achieve together.

Also, everybody’s fighting a fight you don’t know about.

I believe that mutual respect is the foundation of humane behavior, and that it underpins good relationships. To have respect for a person involves a fundamental belief in their right to exist, to be heard, and to be who they are.

If you truly live by this principle, collaboration and team work are the logical consequences.  Mutual respect is simply foundational.

02
Continuous improvement

Continuous improvement is about optimism, conviction and commitment.  It means that you believe in a better future, and to work on it.

It applies to products, services or processes, but just as well to relationships, communication and personal development.

Sometimes we have a breakthrough. Very often, though, improvement is incremental.  The compound effect is what makes it worthwhile.

People tend to overestimate what they can do in a day, but they underestimate what they can do in a year (let alone a decade !).

03
Adaptability

How flexible are you ?  As an organization, as a leader ?  How agile are your mental models ?  Your behavioral patterns ?

We all know what Charles Darwin said in ‘On the Origin of the Species’.  It’s not the strongest or most intelligent of the species that survives but the one that’s most adaptable to change.

Of course I agree, but there’s more.  It’s not just about survival. It’s about thriving.

I like doing this thinking exercise with CEOs : “What if making your company more adaptable was your only job ?”.

04
Ownership

Ownership is a stronger concept than commitment.

Commitment is a decision, ownership is a feeling.  It’s a state of mind and a conviction that it’s up to you, not someone else.

Tightly linked to the concept of ‘locus of control’, ownership is a fundamental predictor of the quality of entrepreneurial leadership.  And on a personal note, I can confirm that I’m very uncomfortable around people who blame, point and hide.

05
Curiosity

Never stop learning.  It’s the simplest idea, but often forgotten.  Because we get praise for what we know already.  We are hired for what we have done and learned in the past, not for what we still need to figure out !

The sustainable success of Microsoft is very often attributed to Satya Nadella’s reorientation of the company culture.  He turned a ‘know-it all’ environment into ‘learn it all’.  This brings energy, humility, quality, innovation, and so many other attributes that confirm the importance of curiosity.

So I’m curious … how curious are you ? How curious is your organization ?

06
Nuance

In an age of digital echo chambers and highly complicated questions, I understand the growing popularity of black/white statements.  Of extreme opinions.

History has taught us many things, one of which being that strong opinions and strong statements can generate a movement.  They bring energy, and that’s great.  Unless it isn’t.

I’m quite allergic to blanket simplifying conclusions.   The more you know about a topic, the more you know that you don’t know the topic.  And since I’m a curious guy I try to know more about a lot of topics, resulting in an ever more nuanced view.

The key is to formulate a nuanced view in a clear and energetic way.  Now you understand why I like debate clubs 🙂

07
Integrity

What do you do when nobody’s watching ? And what do you hide when somebody is ?

An ethical compass points North.  To deviate from its direction is to step on a very slippery slope.

So let’s agree that the world is much simpler, nicer and productive if we all adhere to a straight line North.  For me, it’s non negotiable.

08
Sustainability

I believe we all have a responsibility to take the long view.  What about the future impact of our current decisions and behaviors ?

Sustainability is not only relevant when thinking about the planet and the way we use (or abuse) it.  To always search for sustainability, we build better relationships, we develop stronger organizations, we deepen our care for all and everyone around us, and we become better humans.