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Values vs. Beliefs

Values-based decision-making is a higher order decision-making process than belief-based decision-making because it aligns with the deepest levels of our individual and collective motivations.

Beliefs are assumptions we hold to be true, whereas values (positive) are the principles that motivate us in making decisions when we are aligned with our true selves.

Beliefs separate people, whereas values unite people. You will never get a group of disparate religious scholars to unite around their beliefs. You stand a much greater chance of getting them to unite around their values. The same is true in nations made up of different ethnic or religious groups.  In such situations people can only unite around cultural values, they cannot unite around cultural beliefs.

Democracy is an example of values-based decision-making in action—it is a way of giving people a voice in choosing their futures. Democratic nations are able to integrate differences in ethnicity and religion under one banner. Non-democratic nations usually operate from beliefs. They are most frequently governed by groups that prefer to exclude people who are not of a particular ethnicity or religion, for example The Nazis, The Taliban, etc. 

In organisations, we give people a voice by empowering them to make their own decisions within the scope of their responsibilities—they are able to choose the manner in which they achieve their goals. We call this accountability.

This is the big difference between values-based governance and belief-based governance. Values-based governance trusts people to make choices within the framework of the agreed values. Belief-based governance does not give people choices. Belief-based governance relies on rules, requires bureaucracy, and breeds authoritarians. Self-authoring minds are not welcome in belief-based organisations and regimes.


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