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Heads or tails? Three keys to better decision-making

Tossing Euro coin, heads or tails you decideHow good a decision-maker are you? Every day, you make decisions that impact your quality of life, your well-being, your effectiveness, your relationships, and more.

What influences our decision making approach? Some humans make decisions based on logic and analysis (Carl Jung’s “thinking” preference of personality) while others make decisions based on feelings and the impact on significant others (Jung’s “feeling” preference).

Humans vary in the pace of their decisions. Some are very fast – they “pull the trigger” on decisions quickly – while others make decisions “at a snail’s pace.” Some humans prefer to engage in discussion with others before coming to a decision while others prefer making decisions independently.

Circumstances impact our decision-making approach. We might take more time and engage others more if we’re making a decision when things are going well. Under pressure, we may change our decision-making approach entirely.

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Let me share a decision I made awhile back. In college in the early ’70’s, my car was my Mom’s old station wagon. It was not a cool car by any stretch of the imagination. It was reliable, steady, and boring. When the head gasket blew, requiring expensive repairs, I made a decision: I’m going to sell it and buy a sports car.

I made a feeling-based decision, because the facts should have caused me to walk away from that sports car. It was older than my station wagon. The side windows didn’t roll up because the mechanisms were broken. The heater didn’t work. The driver’s seat had been replaced by a much taller seat that put my head at eye level of the top of the windshield – I had to duck to see out the front.

I ignored all of those realities. I loved the way that car looked, the way the engine sounded, and the way it handled. So, I bought it.

It was not a good decision. It cost me time and money to make it safe and reliable. I was glad to get rid of it in my senior year.

I’ve made a number of good – and bad – decisions over the years. I’ve learned that leaving decisions to chance does not increase the effectiveness of those decisions.

To make better decisions, consider three ideas: benefit, values, and impact.

Benefit – Who will benefit? If you win and others lose, that won’t increase trust, respect, and cooperation in your workplace, family, or community. Find solutions that help everyone move forward – towards contribution and results, civility and sanity, and cooperation.

Values – Is the decision aligned with your values? By formalizing your servant purpose (who you serve on this planet and to what end) and your values (the principles you live by), you can assess your decisions based on those values. If a decision requires you to go against your commitments or to violate your integrity, that’s not a decision you should embrace.

Impact – Conduct an “after action review.” How did your decision impact those on your team or family or community? Was it fair to all those impacted by the decision? Engage all those impacted to learn their perceptions. Refine future decisions based on what you learn – to ensure only positive impact.

Would these three ideas improve the quality of your decisions? How do you ensure that your decisions are fair, beneficial, aligned with your values, and generate positive impact? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © fotofabrika – Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

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The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


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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.”

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The single most important thing employees want

IMG_0584The fifteen year old boy sat quietly while his father described how the teen needed to be more pleasant, to do his chores, to put down his smartphone when speaking to adults, etc.

It was a conversation that had occurred a number of times before. When the father finished his list of issues, the teen asked, “Dad, is there anything I do right around here?”

Most of us remember being on the receiving end of those conversations when we were younger. We might even realize that we’ve delivered those conversations to teens in our lives! We humans have a strong tendency to judge other people for doing things wrong more than we validate other people for doing things right.

Business leaders have the same human tendency. When I speak around the globe, one of the questions I ask is, “How many of you get enough praise on the job?” On average about 10 percent of audience members raise their hands. These players are doing good things at work, but nobody notices. Too few leaders praise or encourage.

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If you want a powerful, positive, productive work culture, it starts with the most important thing employees (and all humans) want: authentic care.

Employees know if their leaders are self-serving or are in service to employees and customers. They see it in their leaders’ every plan, decision, and action.

When a leader genuinely values his or her employees, it’s obvious in the way those employees are treated, in every interaction. The servant leader listens, learns, thanks, laughs with, trusts, and encourages team members, every day. In that caring environment, employees are much more likely to stay with that company, to proactively solve problems, to praise and encourage each other, to serve customers kindly, and to work cooperatively to meet the company’s goals.

Here’s an example. I traveled to the Dominican Republic recently to keynote Mercado’s “Best Companies to Work For” conference. The event was held at the Embassy Suites hotel in Santo Domingo. I spoke to hotel general manager Leonardo Ramirez about his company’s employees and culture.

Leonardo is a servant leader. When the property opened in 2014, he realized he needed to attract and retain talented, committed employees who felt cared for and valued. If he and his leadership team could create that environment, excellent customer service would follow.

Turnover rates in the hospitality industry are miserable. One recent study estimated annual hospitality turnover at 30 percent, more than double most other industries.

Leonardo goes above and beyond to demonstrate authentic care for hotel team members. When the hotel was being painted at the end of construction, Leonardo arranged for the paint crews to go to team members’ homes to paint the inside and outside of their houses – at no charge to the team member! A plaque was placed on the exterior, noting that this was the home of a proud Embassy Suites team member.

Team members are provided with sheets, pillows, and blankets from hotel stock. Team members have free wi-fi at work – and are trusted to use their smartphones to communicate with family and friends so long as that doesn’t interfere with their work responsibilities.

Each year, Leonardo asks team members to share a personal goal for the year. The crew sits around the pool, discuss their personal goals, and write them down for Leonardo. One woman’s family is remodeling their home and struggled to fund the concrete blocks needed. Leonardo had a pallet delivered to her home, at no cost.

Team members work hard for Leonardo and for their peers. The photo above shows a team member ensuring that all tableware in the conference ballroom was lined up exactly across all tables. They work together because they feel cared for.

The Embassy Suites hotel’s turnover rate is 1.5 percent. That’s remarkable in an industry where 30 percent is the norm.

Don’t leave the quality of your work culture to chance. Demonstrate authentic care in every interaction – and demand the same from all team members.

How do your leaders demonstrate authentic care for team members? How often do leaders praise compared to chastising? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Chris Edmonds Photography. All rights reserved.

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

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

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.”

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What dysfunctional bands teach us about work culture

AdobeStock_48903240Is one of your favorite bands dysfunctional?

Most bands are dysfunctional to some degree; many to a great degree. The pressures of writing, recording, touring, performing, doing interviews, being away from family and home 24/7 – without a break? That’d bring out the worst in any human.

The list of bands that have experienced meltdowns or breakups is long, including the Beatles, the Temptations, the Eagles, Journey, Arrested Development, Guns ‘N Roses, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Supremes, Aerosmith, Blink-182, Destiny’s Child, and many more.

As a working musician, I’ve seen “band members behaving badly” up close and personal. All organizations, including bands, experience a day-to-day work culture that either operates well or poorly in helping that organization succeed while retaining inspired, talented players.

What gets in the way of band and workplace harmony?

There are three primary drivers of dysfunctional behavior in groups: ego, validation, and demands.

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Egos run amok erode trust, respect, and healthy relationships. Ego drives selfish pride and arrogance. Ego causes people to say great things about themselves and mean things about others. It causes players to take credit for others work. It causes players to exclude others and only include people that support their huge egos.

Incivility is entirely too common in our workplaces around the globe. Researcher Christine Porath found that 98 percent of employees have experienced uncivil treatment at work.

Validation is a basic human need. We want to know we’re contributing to something meaningful. We want to feel strongly valued – yet only 21 percent of employees do feel strongly valued at work (TinyPulse).

If we get the validation we seek, we are more likely to proactively solve problems, to validate others through praise and encouragement, and to invest in cooperative teamwork. If we don’t get the validation we seek, we withhold information, we set up others to fail, we take credit and give blame.

Demands in a band grow exponentially with the band’s success. Most musicians didn’t get into music to be famous or wealthy. Most musicians are inspired by the art, the communication of ideas, the feeling of inspiring others through music.

The demands that touring, performing, etc. place on band members are incredibly stressful. We face similar demands at work – long hours, increasing workload, covering for someone who has not done a job well (or at all), working hard while being paid less than others in similar roles, etc. These demands sap our spirit, our energy, and our ability to respond “at our best.”

If we learn anything from these dysfunctional bands, it’s that we must be intentional about how we want people to behave – how we want people to treat each other – at work.

A powerful, positive, productive culture – in a band or at work – doesn’t happen by default. Leaders must specify how people are expected to treat each other – by outlining behaviors that will maintain civil relationships day to day.

In our Denver-based band, we have an organizational constitution that describes how every band member is expected to behave. Our expectations include things like being prepared, skilled in our instrumental and vocal parts so we perform effectively together. Loading gear in our trailer, unloading on site, setting up the stage (PA, lighting, effects, etc.). Tearing down the stage after the show requires everyone’s attention, even after 12 hour days . . . all while being kind and graceful with our bandmates.

With such specific behavioral expectations, we all know what’s required of us – and we proactively model those behaviors. When a bandmate doesn’t behave according to expectations, we can inquire what’s going on and re-direct where needed.

Workplace leaders must do the same thing: be very specific about the behaviors they wish people to demonstrate to ensure trustful, respectful treatment in every interaction. Once those expectations are formalized, it’s easy for everyone to embrace those behaviors – and be kind, validate others, and give credit where its due.

Gather talented, engaged players. Honor their efforts. Challenge them to perform together. Don’t let them carry any burdens with anyone. Praise and encourage ideas, efforts, and accomplishment.

You just might make beautiful music together!

How well does your work team manage egos, validation needs, and demands? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © beeboys – Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

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

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

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.”

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Do What GREAT Bosses Do

Great Bosses SurveyAre you a GREAT Boss? Updated research from my GREAT Boss Assessment shows leaders around the world have some work to do to be effective servant leaders.

In my ebook, Be a GREAT Boss (available free to my subscribers), I describe the five characteristics of effective leaders. GREAT bosses:

  • Inspire Growth
  • Honor Relationships
  • Inspire Excellence
  • Ensure Accountability
  • Spur Teamwork

How well do today’s leaders demonstrate these characteristics? Recent contributions to my free online Great Boss Assessment indicate that some leaders do model these best practices. According to over 4,000 global respondents, though, too many leaders don’t embrace them. The attached infographic highlights some of the areas of concern.

As of today, only 45 percent of respondents say their boss inspires their best efforts each day. 58 percent say their boss treats them with trust and respect daily, which means 42 percent of bosses treat team members with distrust and disrespect.

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44 percent report that their boss holds team members accountable for performance. Only 32 percent say their boss holds team members accountable for workplace values and behaviors!

37 percent report that their boss doesn’t let team issues fester – that their boss promptly facilitates problem solving to address issues. That means 63 percent of bosses do little to nothing to resolve team issues.

How many of these global respondents said their boss has formally defined their team (or company’s) organizational constitution – specifying the team’s present day servant purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals? 41 percent. That’s better than the rating of only 35 percent three years ago – but it still falls short of the best practices required of GREAT bosses.

What are the benefits of having a GREAT boss – or of being a GREAT boss? I’ve got proof: GREAT bosses generate huge gains – 40 percent and more – in employee engagement and customer service. Results and profits increase by 35 percent, all within 18 months of embracing these effective practices.

Why don’t leaders naturally inspire growth, value relationships, boost performance, demand civility, or require accountability for commitments? They may not know how. Most leaders have never been asked to do anything beyond managing results. It’s all they know. It’s all their bosses did – and do, today.

The proven practices – the specific “how to’s” – are easy to discover. They’re spelled out in my Great Boss Assessment.

I coach leaders who wish to create powerful, positive, productive work environments to embrace the five characteristics of GREAT bosses. It doesn’t require much. Leaders simply need to learn what each of these best practices requires of them – in everyday interactions with team leaders and team members – then demonstrate those behaviors consistently. It’ll take intention and attention to make these shifts.

We need a servant leadership revolution, in all corners of the globe, in all aspects of society. You can help by sharing the five characteristics of GREAT bosses (use the #GREATBosses hashtag so we all can support your efforts). Share the infographic. Better yet, be a model of GREAT boss behaviors yourself – even if you’re not a formal leader.

How GREAT a boss do you have? To what degree do bosses in your organization model these “GREAT” practices? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Infographic copyright © S. Chris Edmonds, The Purposeful Culture Group. All rights reserved. Share at will!

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

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

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.”

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Deliver on the Promise of Servant Leadership

working togetherThe quality of many work environments around the globe isn’t very good. Some would say it sucks. The frustration and stress most employees experience at work quashes hope, discretionary energy, well being, cooperation, and performance.

The data is undeniable. Only 21 percent of employees feel strongly valued at work (TinyPulse). 72 percent of employees report that the most important factor in their job satisfaction is “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” – yet only 33 percent experience that respect (SHRM). Employees are leaving their jobs at the fastest rate since 2007 (US Department of Labor).

Data alone doesn’t tell the story. Human experiences can.

Here’s a powerful example. Two friends changed jobs in the last year. Both are talented, engaged actors on this stage we call earth. Their experiences, skills, and industries are quite different, but both were ecstatic about the promise of working for a great boss and a great company.

In both cases, these friends were hired by someone they respected and were excited to work for. Within months, however, the bubble burst. Their great bosses left their respective companies, leaving my friends in a dysfunctional work environment with poor leadership.

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Why did their bosses leave? Politics. Favoritism. Promises made and not kept. Values conflicts. My friends are doing the best they can under trying circumstances – to say the least.

Who has the responsibility and authority to create a powerful, positive, productive work culture . . . to ensure all employees are treated with respect . . . and to ensure employees feel strongly valued at work?

Leaders do.

And, many leaders don’t. They don’t know how to manage their work culture. They’ve never been asked to do that.

When leaders do embrace this responsibility and fully implement a culture of trust, respect, and dignity, amazing things happen. Engagement thrives. Service quality skyrockets. Results and profits jump 30 percent and more.

Our world desperately needs servant leaders – in our organizations, in our neighborhoods, in our political system, in our court system – basically, everywhere. Servant leaders create environments where values – how people treat each other – are as important as results.

There are servant leaders all around us. We read about and appreciate servant leaders of global organizations like Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group and Garry Ridge of the WD-40 Companies. We know less about local servant leaders like my friend, Umair, here in Colorado.

There is a movement afoot to formalize what effective leadership looks and sounds like – to inspire leaders across the globe to embrace the promise of servant leadership. Check out the True Leader Creed, a recent effort created by valued friends. If you agree with what the creed requires, sign it – and live it.

We need less divisiveness, less dismissiveness, and less demeaning words and actions from leaders today. We need servant leaders that create respectful workplaces and meaningful work that serves others. Servant leaders praise, encourage, inspire, and hold others accountable for being our best selves.

The road we’re on isn’t a great one. We need a new direction. Sign the creed. Be of service and of grace. Inspire people to amazing performance.

You’ll have a lot more fun – and you’ll attract and retain talented, engaged employees.

Does your boss today model servant leadership? How good is the quality of your team’s work environment? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Steven Pepple – Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

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

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

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.”

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