Ask an Expert September 2019

Ask an Expert

Q: During a recent session of The Leadership Challenge® Workshop I was conducting, one of the participants asked, “What are the most common personal values?”

A: A great question! But since I’ve never seen any official research on this topic, in framing my response I can only rely on my personal experience facilitating about 50 workshops in seven different countries on four continents over the past 10 years. From my perspective, there are three personal values I see coming up more often than others: family, faith, health.

Why do you think these three would be so widespread? Let’s consider each of these and their impact on our personal lives.

Many leaders have told me that their family is the main reason they work as hard as they do to succeed; they want to provide for and take care of those they love. Family is what gives them a sense of purpose and the strength to “struggle for shared aspirations.” I hear so many of my colleagues embracing the “Work to Live” rather than “Live to Work” mindset.

I’ve read some articles that indicate about 90% of the world’s population believe in some higher power in the form of God, nature, or some other spiritual force. It may be this belief that drives the impact of faith on many people’s lives and is reflected in their personal values. I think we all look for something that explains why we are here to give meaning to our lives. Faith may also provide an ethical or moral framework to how we should treat others and behave in a social environment.

Health seems to be a given for most of us. Without health we cannot achieve our visions. Family and faith depend on this critical factor. We must “be there” and be capable of doing what is needed to fulfill our visions related to those other two factors. Physical and emotional health are both crucial to our success as leaders. It may also be true that our emotional health is intimately bound to family and faith. Many people depend on us and we do not want to let them down.

Personal Values Bring Us Together
Let’s help everyone on our teams find clarity in their personal values. It will help create stronger relationships, build trust, and drive collaboration. Remember that we are all in this together.

Steve Skarke, a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge®, is president of The Kaneka Foundation and creator of Leading Elements™. As an “Organizational Engineer” Steve supports the development of internal and external clients through facilitation and coaching activities. A 30-year veteran in the manufacturing industry, he can be reached at



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