The key for a successful relationship: Aligned values

Alejandro Saucedo
Dec 1, 2016 · 3 min read

Aligned values are one the most important things in any relationship.

Whether it is with your life partner or business partner, aligned or misaligned values will define the success or failure of a relationship from day one.

I like to visualise this as a pyramid, where at the very top you have your values, and below that, you have your life vision, then your objectives, and then at the bottom, your interests.

The higher you go in the pyramid, the harder it is for you to change it, and hence, the more important it is to be aligned— changing your love for a specific TV show would be easier than changing your profession, which would be easier than changing how much you value family / money / fame (etc).

The Challenge

Even though most people can agree that aligned values are so important, it’s really hard to identify when someone else has similar values to you, isn’t it?

I mean, sometimes you might think you got it all sorted:

  • We both love watching Friends — we must be soulmates! [Aligned Interests]
  • We both want to move together in a year — my perfect match! [Aligned Objectives]
  • We both want to have two kids — freaking made for each other! [Aligned Vision]

But as crazy as it may sound — you might align on interests, objectives, vision… but if the very top of that pyramid is not aligned, it will just not work!

Values play a critical role throughout your life, and when you go against your values, your body knows — you go against yourself at a cellular level. You will feel unhappy, you will not feel proud, you will feel unfulfilled…

…and when I say values, I don’t mean just words like “Respect”, “Transparency”, “Solidarity”, etc.

In simple terms, I see values as the line you draw where you feel something is either right or wrong — the beliefs that define your priorities and drive your decisions:

  • How do I believe people should be treated?
  • How much do I value money? or knowledge? or impact? or respect?
  • How much importance do I give to friends? or family? or fun? or commitment?

And to make it even harder — having an aligned set of values is not enough! You also need to be aware about the priorities across your values; if someone gives priority on money over happiness, or friends over family, then viewpoints might clash!

This is why it’s important to ensure you have aligned values for any strong, long-lasting relationship to work:

  • Partner values? They are the building blocks for the rest of your life with your partner.
  • Company values? They are the founder’s personalities reflected in the company culture.

Something REALLY important to note: Different personality does not mean different values!

People can have a completely different personalities, yet have aligned values — a good example of this is Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

So next time you’re in a journey to find your soulmate — whether on business or on love — make sure your core values are fully aligned!

Knowing your values

Now we arrive to the most important part of the post: knowing your values, understanding your motivations, and your life vision.

This is something that has helped me a lot. I’ve put together a document outlining my values, my vision, and my motivations. I really encourage you to put one together for yourself!

(Here you can find my “2017 Life Vision, Motivations and Values”)

And this document is not a strategy, or a life plan — the things you write today will definitely change as time goes by! But it is important that you are able to understand yourself, what do you value, what drives you. Only then you will be able to evaluate your current situation in life and very honestly question yourself — whether whatever you are doing, and whoever you are with truly aligns with your values.

What values do you abide by? Where do you draw the lines that state what is right or wrong for you?

If you have trouble trying to understand what your values are, feel free to drop me a line, I’ll be more than happy to help and provide guidance on any way I can :)

I also recommend you to read “Fierce Conversations” by Susan Scott, as well as “Doing Good Better” by William MacAskill— two of the best books I’ve read — the legend Matt Clifford recommended me to read it, and it truly helped me define my values, vision, motivations, etc!

Let’s make sure we stay true to ourselves!


Alejandro Saucedo

Written by

Chief Scientist & Chairman at The Institute for Ethical AI & Machine learning | Building the Bell Labs of the 21st century. #LetsDoThis