What Is a Values Checklist?

A values checklist is a comprehensive checklist that enumerates an individual or organization’s core values and principles. The values checklist is meant to provide direction in a person’s life and influence their decision-making. 

According to a report by Gallup, 77% of Americans agree that the state of moral values in the United States country is getting worse. This view has been consistently negative ever since 2002. In the same report, around half or 51% of those 65 years and older believe moral values are in a poor state; while 33% of respondents aged 34 and younger agree. 

Where Should Values Be Applied?  

Values will only work if they are applied in the right areas. There are different aspects wherein values and principles are important. From one’s personal affairs to professional life to everything in between, core values serve as the foundation that individuals can anchor themselves on. The following are just some major areas wherein values ought to apply.  

Work and Career. A large part of your adult life will be spent working or working towards something you think is of value. But it can be quite challenging to navigate the professional world. Career paths are not always linear and clear-cut. Most people will experience or come to a crossroads that will test their beliefs and practices. Thus, it is important to have a solid foundation that you can revert back to when things get out of hand or you find yourself confused and unsure. If you have a firm grasp of the values that are important to you, you will be better equipped to make decisions that you can be confident in. It will give you much more purpose if you build your career around the values that you truly believe in.Home and Family Life. More important than work is your home and family life. Many people make the sad mistake of prioritizing their work over their most important relationships. This can bring about negative consequences that can rupture and cause your personal relationships to deteriorate. Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent this from happening. There are simple steps you can take to nurture your home and family life. And it all starts with values. If you make the commitment to prioritize your family, then eventually all your decisions will be based on what is best or good for your family. If you want to take it a step further, you can even encourage other family members to adopt core values as a family. Family values such as quality time, openness, honesty, and unconditional love are just some great examples. At the end of the day, if you make the decision to prioritize family values, you will eventually see your home life grow and thrive in ways you wouldn’t even expect. Leadership. Another important aspect where values should be applied is in the area of leadership. Not everyone can be a leader; but for those that have the responsibility thrust onto them to lead and decide the fate of everyone else, the need for values and principles is much greater. Weak and poor leadership is one that is based on nothing more than self-interest or short-sightedness. But a true leader espouses values that enable him or her to bring positive impact and growth in others’ lives. But what kind of values should a leader possess or develop? Of course, it would depend on the individual’s preferences and disposition; but some of the core values that make a universally effective leader are decisiveness, dedication, vision, communication, respect and above all, integrity. And finally, a good leader also builds and nurtures the leadership potential in others.

Examples of Core Values

There are dozens of core values that drive individuals and organizations alike. What matters is that you find values that reflect your authentic self then commit yourself to its principles. The following examples describe just a few of these essential core values.

Authenticity. One underrated value is authenticity. It can take a lot of courage to show people the genuine side of you. Society has conditioned many people to act and think a certain way. These ways are typically deemed conventional and socially acceptable. But to be authentic and true to one’s self, it takes a significant degree of self-awareness and introspection. When you value authenticity, you also value truth and shun pretenses and falsehoods. You must be willing to shed any mask and allow yourself to be vulnerable enough for other people to see who you truly are. It is likewise important to remember that sincerity and authenticity should always go hand-in-hand as well. If you are authentic and true to yourself, the same must also apply when you deal with others around you. You cannot espouse the value of authenticity if your intentions towards others are insincere or have an ulterior agenda. Accountability. A value that many institutions and organizations put a high premium on is accountability. The value of accountability is especially important in scenarios or situations where bureaucracy is evident and resources or finances are involved. In the context of the private sector and public institutions, people who go against the rules or laws must be held accountable for their actions. For example, if a high-ranking executive in a government agency is caught committing fraud, and there is strong evidence of the wrongdoing, then the appropriate sanction must be applied. In summary, the value of accountability essentially promotes responsibility and fairness. Without accountability, impunity can flourish and wrong-doers will never learn from their mistakes. Creativity. For a lot of companies and establishments, creativity is a core value that is essential to business survival. Along with innovation, creativity helps propel growth and development. It is vital to problem-solving and crisis management. When all the tried-and-tested fixes fail to work, creative solutions may be the only way out. For an individual, creativity can also serve as an indispensable means to cope or deal with day-to-day demands. It can be a window or outlet to help relieve stress and tension. Thus, it is not surprising that many people engage in artistic expression and indulge in other creative ways to safeguard and promote their well-being. Painting, making music and writing are just some common yet powerful ways to channel one’s creativity. Basically, to stifle creativity is to place a limit on human imagination and potential. Tolerance. Another important yet sometimes underrated value is tolerance. In order for unity and cooperation to prevail, tolerance is one of the key ingredients. Tolerance and respect go hand-in-hand. If you practice tolerance, especially with people who you disagree with, you are affording them the respect that all people deserve. Other values that should accompany tolerance are inclusivity and diversity. When you practice inclusivity and promote diversity in the workplace or in school, you are exercising tolerance and respect at the same time. In a world where differences can create even the slightest tension or conflict, it is crucial to practice tolerance to preserve peace and harmony. Tolerance can lead to better and more meaningful dialogue.

How to Create a Values Checklist

To create a values checklist, you must not discount the importance of introspection and self-awareness. As mentioned in previous sections, knowing yourself is crucial to knowing what principles you value the most. And if you are looking for editable templates that will help make a values checklist, refer to the collection of available templates above. Choose one that suits your needs and follow the basic steps below.   

Step 1: Reflection

Before you begin making your checklist, you need to set aside time to really reflect on what you deem to be your highest values. This does not come easy or happen overnight. It takes a keen sense of awareness, introspection and the ability to be honest and vulnerable with oneself. Reflect on your past experiences and significant moments in your life when your values were either tested or they were able to shine through. Take note that your values may change over time and get rearranged according to what season you are in life. Upbringing, environment and personal experiences all contribute to the formation of an individual’s values. 

Step 2: Format

Once you have a clear idea of what your core values are, you need to establish the format. You can have a traditional checklist or a modified one. How simple or detailed your checklist is will depend entirely on you and your needs. In the case of core values, you can give a brief description or explanation below each item on your checklist. You can also include checkboxes, bullet points or any symbols and characters of your choice. Refer to the sample checklists above for more ideas and inspiration.   

Step 3: Checklist 

Since it is a values checklist, you need to list down your core values. You can prioritize and arrange your values in any order you see fit. In most cases, core values are arranged according to importance or significance. Your checklist can be as short or long as you want it to be as well. Most values checklists are no more than a couple of pages. It can be quite helpful to arrange your values starting with the most important or primary value. The first value usually dictates the nature of the subsequent values. To illustrate, if your primary core value is honesty, then accountability and transparency are also related values you can incorporate into your checklist.     

Step 4: Declaration 

Once you have completed your list of core values, the last step is crafting a formal declaration of your dedication to it. This section is optional, of course. But if you want to remain steadfast in your values and principles, you need to be constantly reminded of it. The commitment to your core values will be the deciding factor if it is to be a sustainable and long-term journey. It does not need to be a lengthy or complicated statement. A simple, honest and straightforward statement summarizing your commitment to your core values should suffice.   


What are the 3 different types of values?

According to Winning Futures, values can be classified into three different types. These are character values, work values and personal values.

What are my 5 most important values?

To know what your most important personal values are, you need to take the time to reflect and take a good look at yourself internally. What are the things that matter to you the most? What principles are your actions based on or influenced by? These are the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself and reflect upon.

What are the 6 work values?

There can be many work values that people internalize. Work ethic and values greatly depend on individual circumstances and preferences. Examples of common work values include service, respect for others, honesty, collaboration, autonomy, and innovation.

Core values help ground you and direct you towards better decisions and choices. It can be applied in all aspects of your life, in both personal and professional affairs. Browse the free and editable templates above for more ideas on how to create your own values checklist!