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  • Ram Raghavan

What is the difference between Values and Belief?

Updated: Aug 18, 2020



Values and beliefs are often used interchangeably by corporate and individuals as they seldom see the difference. Let me explain values are the core of your being. If you are asked to do something uncomfortable, that uncomfortable feeling is caused by your value systems.


Any thing that you believe "in" is always influenced by your value. If you believe in Honesty then honesty is a value. If you believe in doing good for the environment then that is a value. Values generally have no grey areas. You either believe in them or you dont. Beliefs on the other hand, are something "that" can be altered. If you believe "that" the world could become a better place, then "that" belief can be altered if you are presented with a more compelling case that argues against it. Any belief is not absolute and is alterable.


Knowledge evolves out of belief and that is why its called Know-Ledge, “Knowing ledged on your beliefs". an individual or a corporate looks at the big picture, identifies patterns and then learn about a concept using that pattern which is then used to make rational judgements. Now if we are to look at the root of the financial crisis without being judgemental, we can see that the knowledge that has been generated based on which the corporate took decisions was belief driven.


They believed that by grouping bad debt and by selling it off they could make more money, they believed that by hedging their risks in certain domains or areas they could increase shareholder returns. Most of this belief was driven by some model and corporate decisions were based on these models. Their belief "that" these models have been thought through led many to make wrong decisions. So, when a calamity occurs the models robustness revealed their weakness.


If the leaders had relied on their values instead of believing in 'the hopeful thing' they wouldn’t have made the gross error they had committed. The world of Madoff which has been driven by a string of lies of not one but many organisations shows the organisations have in fact consciously ignored the value call and have gone with the beliefs that if some one is making money so would we. Decisions made were influenced by short-termism and belief driven approach wrongly amplified wrong decisions as the right ones which in turn created a band of blind followers resulting in the situation we are in.


Mind always over rides values - Many smokers acknowledge that smoking is wrong (which is value governed) but continue to smoke as they believe that they cant live without it or they believe that they are not vulnerable as many (which is belief driven). Similarly if leaders had thought about their decisions more volitionally then we would have definitely not got into the financial mess we are in now. If there is anything that we could take away from this recession, it is a stark realisation that organisations have to move from belief driven leadership to value governed leadership. The world then will truly be a better place to live.


Compaira is set up to value values more. If you want to explore your own values please visit us and see what your profile tells you. Fancy a chat to know more? Why not contact us at wecanbebetter@compaira.com





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