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Future talent forum: marriage, mortgage, materialism and mortuary – is this it?

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How do your beliefs affect the way you manage people and how can you adapt them in times of change? For Dr Alan Watkins, it all starts with understanding your own values.

Speaking at the Royal Geographical Society, Complete Coherence CEO Dr Alan Watkins began the session by asking delegates a seemingly simple question: How can companies perpetually grow profit and increase employee engagement while delivering customer satisfaction? 

Sitting in small groups, delegates came up with a variety of answers, from the importance of providing purpose to employees and clear communication to creating a personal connection with customers and creating a better world in the future.

Dr Watkins noted these responses before positing the idea that there are only eight value sets in the world, and that the organisation of people and business can be better implemented if you understand the value set of the people around you.
“When you organise people according to their value sets, you find common meaning,” he told delegates. 

Dr Watkins went on to explain Graves and Maslow’s Values Model (see below), which identifies eight levels of development that everyone sits within. He explained that no level is better than the other and that each level can be the right one depending on where your business or personal needs currently sit. 

“Sophistication here isn’t about being more successful or better than someone on a lower level. It’s about what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re trying to open a coconut, a rock is more useful than a monkey, despite being less sophisticated,” said Watkins. 
The model can be applied to business when you examine the levels leaders sit in. High-functioning companies incorporate all levels of the Values Model, whereas mono-cultures often fail. The key is to understand how to interact with people on different levels to you. 

Circling back to his original question, Watkins said: “The same question can give profoundly different answers, depending on your value system. For success, you need a blend of all colours and the ability to flex to alternative cultures.”

“Often, the very thing you reject in another value system becomes the very thing you need – it’s what connects you together,” he added.

Find out more about our Future Talent Forum

We've welcomed over a hundred new members, and presented an exciting series of masterclasses and roundtable discussions. Furthermore, we've loved having you guys along and being part of our future talent journey.


Watch our short video; we asked some of our members to share their key learnings and thoughts on the forum so far. Plus, we're grabbing the opportunity to thank our Future Talent supporters (both on the forum and conference) who help make these events happen.

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