Archive | Podcast

Choose Your Play

Good dogAre you doing what you’re great at? And what you love to do? And you’re paid a living wage to do it?

And – a hugely important consideration – you’re serving others well while you’re doing it?

I believe that’s the ultimate sweet spot for each of us. Yet sometimes we settle for less than all four of those important elements.

When we settle, we may put a cap on our own joy – and on our ability to contribute to our company, family, and community.

If we find a career doing something we’re good at and are paid fairly for, but aren’t doing what we love and aren’t serving others well, we’re not going to be happy in the long run. Nor are we likely able to be our best every moment.

If we finds outlets – volunteering in your community or YMCA, for example – that let us engage in activities we’re good at, love to do, and serve others well but get little compensation for, that’s a good thing! Activities like these may be a small portion of our week or month (several hours, maybe), but they feed our soul. We’re grateful for these inspiring hours.

What, though, if these inspiring, engaging activities don’t offset the many more hours you spend in an unfulfilling career? What then?

We can choose a different play, a different stage, and a different role – one that does fulfill us daily.

The path won’t be easy. But it may be worth the time, energy, and risks to find that inspiring sweet spot.

Two acquaintances shared with me recently the stories of their spouses who embarked on very similar mid-life transitions.

One was an architect. She’d earned an architecture degree, gained her license, and joined the AIA. She found a well-paying job. She was successful. But she didn’t love it; she didn’t feel she was serving others as well as she could.

After fifteen years in the field, she quit. She went back to school to study to be a registered nurse. She earned her nursing degree and has found a great job. She loves what she’s doing. She feels she’s serving people beautifully. She’s found her sweet spot.

Another friend’s spouse was a successful sales person and sales team leader. She was well-paid and successful over a twenty-year career. And, she didn’t love her work. She couldn’t tolerate going through the motions so she applied at veterinary school. She was accepted and quit her sales job. She headed off to school this month.

She’s so excited she can hardly stand it. She can’t wait to finish her doctoral program and serve animals (and their owners) in a veterinary hospital.

You may not be in a position to quit your job and go back to school for your “perfect,” inspiring job. But you may have a good idea of activities that could be a source of inspiration for you.

If your job isn’t in your sweet spot, engage in activities that nourish your soul and serve others well. Pay it forward – those you serve will be inspired by your actions.

What job or activities fall into your unique sweet spot? In what ways do you nourish your soul and serve others? Please share your insights, comments, and questions in the comments section below.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My next book, The Culture Engine, will be published by Wiley in September 2014. Pre-order your copy now! Subscribe to my weekly updates to get free resources, insights, and news on my book launch.

Get the “Inside Scoop” on Chris’ Book Launch!

Photo © istockphoto.com/andresrimaging. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I plays all instruments on these recordings.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

0

Identity Crisis

Business problems and supportWhat is your team’s identity? It has one – it just may not be the one you want it to have.

I define identity as a combination of your team’s purpose and how team members see themselves contributing to that purpose.

Does your team have a formal purpose statement? Most teams and companies do not have a formal purpose statement beyond “making widgets” (widgets being whatever your team’s products or services are) and “making money.”

Delivering quality products and services is a very good thing, as is making a profit. The only way your team or company can sustain itself is to bring in more revenues than it spends.

Now, some of my non-profit and government clients push back on the “making money” requirement. I worked in non-profits for 15 years and in government for 3 years. If we didn’t generate revenues above expenses in those industries, we faced difficult decisions – laying people off, merging or closing business units, etc.

Call it whatever you want, but generating value in the form of hard dollars is a requirement for 99 percent of the businesses operating today.

However, “making widgets” and “making money” doesn’t address your team’s meaningful contributions very effectively. A purpose statement can.

A purpose statement is a description of your team’s present-day “reason for being” – what it does, for whom, and “to what end” – how a customer benefits from your product or service.

Here’s the purpose statement from WD-40, a terrific company that I’ve studied for years: “Our brands create positive lasting memories by solving problems in homes and factories around the world.”

Their purpose statement describes what they do (solve problems) for whom (people in homes and factories around the world) and to what end (create positive lasting memories).

Before you craft your team or company’s purpose statement, seek out purpose statements from companies you admire. Even your local independent coffee house or bookstore might have a terrific “reason for being” you can learn from.

Once your purpose statement is formalized and communicated, the hard part begins – aligning team members’ heads, hearts, and hands to that purpose.

Great bosses are constantly engaging in dialog with team members. They reinforce their team’s reason for being daily. More importantly, they’re helping each individual team member understand how their unique skills and passions align with the purpose statement.

Great bosses validate team members’ contributions and enthusiasm for the team’s products, services, customers – and purpose. The team’s identity is formed daily by employees embracing the team’s purpose as their own.

A perfect purpose statement alone will not inspire every team member. It takes intentional dialog, communication, and understanding between bosses and team members to create passionate players who are thrilled at their opportunities every day.

What is your team’s identity? What outcomes are measured, monitored, and rewarded daily? Please share your insights, comments, and questions in the comments section below.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My next book, The Culture Engine, will be published by Wiley in September 2014. Pre-order your copy now! Subscribe to my weekly updates to get free resources, insights, and news on my book launch.

Get the “Inside Scoop” on Chris’ Book Launch!

Photo © istockphoto.com/ridofranz. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I plays all instruments on these recordings.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

0

Be Yourself

iStock_000019135640SmallI’ve been struck recently by people’s chosen personas – the way a person chooses to act in his or her situation.

People on opposing sides of issues were in meetings I facilitated or observed. In one case, the members of an opposing side chose to disconnect, to not engage.

They limited their involvement in the proceedings. Their leader was the puppet master – the members of that team watched their leader closely to get clues about how to act, whether to speak, whether to share ideas or pose solutions.

In another case, the members of an opposing side took a very active role. They engaged in the activities. They shared their experiences, their thoughts, even their hopes. Their leader was simply another team member who was equally participative and engaged. People were free to dialog with no strings attached.

In their meeting, the flow of ideas, the understanding of others perceptions, and the team’s active involvement helped move both sides towards potentially breakthrough solutions that all can support.

The leaders of these two teams chose very different personas. Each chose their role. Just like a talented actor or actress, these leaders immersed themselves in their “character.” They each played their role as they felt their role should be played.

In the first case, the role inhibited progress towards a mutually beneficial solution. In the second case, the role enabled that progress.

When you choose a persona, you are masking your true self. You are playing a role – for a day or a month or a career – that is different than who you really are at your core.

The “acting” required of any persona requires energy to maintain. It can be exhausting! When you invest great energy in a persona, you have less energy available to you to engage in the aligned activities that might inspire you.

It can get more complex. I’ve seen people play multiple roles in their organization – and each role requires a different persona. One would have to work hard to keep the personas consistent – acting one way on a project team, for example, but acting quite differently on your own functional team.

It requires effort to keep the personas straight, to remember which role you’re playing in which situation.

Why do we engage in these personas? There are dozens of reasons. The persona might be one a parent played or it might be one your boss demands of you.

Your organizational culture can place role demands on you. If you live in a cut-throat, “I win, you lose” culture, you may have to embrace a cut-throat persona to survive.

If the roles you play or the personas you present exhaust you, you might be acting in conflict with your true self, your personal purpose and values.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

How can you be yourself? Start by being intentional about your true core by defining your personal purpose, your “reason for being” on this earth, and your personal values and behaviors.

Once you clarify your purpose and values, it is less likely that you will invest time in roles or personas that are contrary to your purpose and values.

Reduce the energy invested in mis-aligned roles or personas. Be the best self you can be, in your family, your workplace, and your community.

Please share your insights, comments, and questions in the comments section below.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My next book, The Culture Engine, will be published by Wiley in September 2014. Pre-order your copy now! Subscribe to my weekly updates to get free resources, insights, and news on my book launch.

Get the “Inside Scoop” on Chris’ Book Launch!

Photo © istockphoto.com/merzzie. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I plays all instruments on these recordings.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

0

Ground Rules

Mountain road lined with Pines & Aspen SMALLHow can you help teams and members stay on the desired path to high performance and values alignment?

If the team has clearly defined performance standards as well as clearly defined citizenship standards, the path is obvious. That defined path represents the easiest way to exceed performance expectations (results) as well as how the team must operate (values alignment) along the way.

However, most teams don’t have a clear path mapped out. Without defined performance standards or values expectations, teams and members struggle.

Let’s look at your team. How well defined and measurable are your team’s performance expectations? Can members immediately and succinctly explain what the team’s performance expectations are for this year?

Rate this statement on a six point scale: “Our team has clearly defined and measurable performance standards that help our organization succeed.”

Score this statement a “1″ if you strongly disagree, a “2″ if you disagree, a “3″ if you slightly disagree, a “4″ if you slightly agree, a “5″ if you agree, and a “6″ if you strongly agree.

How well are your team’s desired values defined today? Rate this statement on the same scale: “Our team has clearly defined and measurable values expectations that describe the behaviors we desire from every member.”

What are desirable ratings for these two statements? You want scores at the 5-6 level: agree to strongly agree. If you’re doing well on these, you’ve got a score of 10-12 so far.

Now let’s look at accountability in your team. Defining these expectations is the first part of your clear path – holding people accountable is the vital part of your clear path.

Rate this statement: “Our team members are held accountable for performance expectations.”

Rate this final statement: “Our team members are held accountable for demonstrating our valued behaviors.”

If your team is exceptional, you’ve scored these accountability statements at the 5-6 level. Great scores for all four statements are 20-24 out of 24 possible points.

It is likely your scores fall below this desired level. That means your team is normal! Most teams do not embrace these standards very well or very consistently.

You could get a better, more accurate perspective by asking team members to rank these statements. They might be harder “graders” than you are!

Where can you start? Creating team ground rules can help create the foundation for workplace inspiration. They can help define your team’s desired path.

At a recent culture workshop with frontline leaders, I asked each table team to draft ground rules so that their team members could learn as much as possible over our two-day session. Each table came up with no more than four ground rules that they agreed to abide by and to hold each other accountable for during our session.

Their ground rules included items like, “Speak for yourself,” “Be on time,” “Be an active participant,” and “Be a problem solver, not a problem spotter.”

Once they defined their ground rules, they had to map out how they were going to hold each other accountable for these practices. Each table has a slightly different accountability plan. All of those plans defined a simple first step: “If you see a rule infraction, speak up about it. Challenge the behavior and honor the person.”

These leaders loved these ground rules. They helped create a better learning environment and reduce drama!

Ground rules might be an easy first step in creating your team’s clear path to high performance and values alignment.

Please share your team ratings, insights, comments, and questions in the comments section below.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My next book, The Culture Engine, will be published by Wiley in September 2014. Pre-order your copy now! Subscribe to my weekly updates to get free resources, insights, and news on my book launch.

Get the “Inside Scoop” on Chris’ Book Launch!

Photo © istockphoto.com/scedmonds. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I plays all instruments on these recordings.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

0

Prioritize Your Values

iStock_000017529275SmallWhen values are clear, decision-making is easy.

This week a Russian TV reporter quit her job over the coverage of the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane over war-torn Ukraine.

“It’s the level of disrespect for the facts that really bugs me,” Sara Firth explained. She described that reporters were ordered to cast blame on the Ukrainian government or other factors instead of on Russia.

“I couldn’t do it any more,” Firth said. “We’re lying every single day … and finding sexier ways to do it.”

Sara’s values include respect for the facts. When confronted with a job role that demanded disrespect for the facts, she chose to leave.

Once you clarify your personal purpose, values, and behaviors, you can see plans, decisions, and actions in a very different light.

That intense light enables you to see values gaps with greater clarity. That brings you to a “fork in the road.” Will you follow your values or will you discount your values, “going along” with mis-aligned actions?

Sometimes the choices we face regarding values alignment are not quite so simple. You may hold values that compete with each other at times. How can you resolve that conflict?

Let’s say that you hold these three values: stability, integrity, and family. You work hard to provide stability for yourself and your family while demonstrating integrity at the same time.

Your three values are “all tied for first place.” You strive to behave in ways to honor these three principles in every moment. No one of these values is more important than another.

However, real life (and work) causes a constant push and pull on our values. They’re in “dynamic tension” every day!

If you find yourself in a similar situation to Firth’s – your job demands behavior that is not aligned to your values – you must choose how to respond.

You could quit your job – but that would severely impact your stability value for you and your family.

You could engage in discussion about the values conflict. The best scenario would be that you help your team or company change their approach so the values disconnect is diminished or eliminated.

The worst scenario is that the approach does not change – and you still face the values conflict.

A third response might be to put your head down and do your best – while beginning a job search for a more values-aligned opportunity.

To make our values more actionable, I believe we need to prioritize them. Prioritized values lets us prioritize values conflicts so we can address the most important gap first.

If you evaluated your three values in order of importance, you might come up with family as your first value, integrity second, and stability third. (Some of you are already debating these priorities in your mind! You might have a different order than what I’m suggesting.)

With these prioritized values, your response to the sample values conflict might be easier to justify and embrace. The third choice would seem to be the most aligned, to me.

Are there additional choices you would suggest? I would love your insights – add them in the comments section below.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My next book, The Culture Engine, will be published by Wiley in September 2014. Pre-order your copy now! Subscribe to my weekly updates to get free resources, insights, and news on my book launch.

Get the “Inside Scoop” on Chris’ Book Launch!

Photo © istockphoto.com/BettinaSampl. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I plays all instruments on these recordings.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

0

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes