How might we discover our family values?

How might I encourage my kids to collaborate better between them? To be more independent and aligned?

This is how I started a series of experiments. I started by implementing weekly assemblies, visual dashboards and daily stand-ups (sit downs actually). This time, I wanted to practice with them a Values Exercise inspired by Jurgen Appelo’s Shared Values exercise.

My kids are 6, 8 and 9, so talking about Authenticity, Achievement, Self-Respect or Fairness sounded like Mission Impossible. I thought about Animals. My youngest son is learning now about animals and he needed to do some homework around them. Animals could work as archetypes to find attributes we value as individuals and as a family.

Why it matters?

To learn more about each other and about ourselves. To learn more about what do we value individually and as a family.

How it works?

I followed and adapted the instructions from Thomas Kuryura, from Agility Scales

This is how I did it

  1. We made a list of animals using the whiteboard
List of animals on a whiteboard

2) Then we picked up 4 animals each using dot stickers. The number of animals chosen by each person should equal the number of people participating on the exercise. You are not allowed to pick an animal already taken

Adding sticker dots to the animals list

3) Each person writes down their animals on sticky notes (one sticky note per animal)

4) Each person stacks theirs up in a pile and passes the bundle to the person on their right

Pile of sticky notes

5) Each member removes one animal from the 4 sticky notes they were given, removing the one they liked the least

6) Once removed, pass on to the person on their right. Repeat until one animal remains from each person’s animal set.

7) Discuss taking turns about what did you choose the animal. I asked questions like What do you like about this animal? Tell me more

7) Here I introduced a small variation compared to the original exercise. We put the sticky notes of the 4 animals selected and we voted using dot stickers (3 votes each)

Adding votes to the selection of animals

Here are the winners!

Family animals — The winners

It was good fun and we learned as a family. We will keep exploring …

Are you interested in running a similar exercise with your family? Please share your experience.