Value Elicitation: a Brief Guide

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was recently at a course for the purposes of helping people have more successful interview experiences. One of the exercises she had us do, which was the most valuable to me, was a thing called a Value Elicitation. For the purposes of describing it, I'm going to use work as the example, but hopefully you'll see you can use value elicitations as a means of learning more about yourself (and other people) in any aspect of your life. It's a simple way of finding out what your true priorities are.

 So we all have values, things in our lives that we care about, and we all have major overarching values like family, health, happiness, or maybe money. What we also have are values in regards to work, relationships, friendships, and other facets of our day to day life. To work out how to progress in any of those things we first need to figure out which values take priority over others. This is where the elicitation comes in.

So it's a table that looks like this:

So you work out your top 10 values for a facet of your life. Let's say, for the sake of an example, you want to know what is most important for you in your next relationship. Then 10 things you choose are:

  • Honesty
  • Love
  • Sexual Chemistry
  • Physical attraction
  • Common interests
  • Common goals
  • Dependability
  • Adventure
  • Emotional Stability
  • I mean, a great ass like, wow

You can either list them in what you believe to be priority order or do it at random if you can't think of the order. I would argue that it's more valuable to try and order them yourself because you can compare that list to the resulting list and get a good understanding of both your conscious and unconscious mind.

So once you've ordered the list you fill out the table in order like this:

Now once you've done that, you go to the (1/2) and do just that, compare value 1 and value 2 and circle whichever you think is more important. Then, you keep going like that until you've gone through the whole list. Sure, you've listed them in terms of which you think is more important but once you compare each value one on one you may see some differences. As you're going through it should look sort of like this:

Once you've gone through the whole list, in the 'Result' column you add up the amount of ones, twos etc and put the amount next to the corresponding number:

Then you rank them in order from highest result to lowest, and here lies a truer picture of your values. It might lead you to take a different approach to whatever it is you're facing difficulty with, or if nothing changes that can serve to further cement in your mind that you are making the right decisions and you know what it is you want. It turned out to be a real eye opener for me, completely re-ordering what I thought were my priorities in terms of what I want in a job. It doesn't have to be 10 values, it can be five or 20 or 13 whatever applies to your situation. All that matters is it allows you a chance to view your priopriorities critically and use that knowledge to make further decisions. I think it's a wonderful tool that I will use it in future whenever I find myself in front of a decision I can't make. Here's hoping it might be of use to you all! 

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