Tag Archives | Behaviors

Behaviors desired in the corporate culture. Valued behaviors are those that are observable and measurable demonstrations of desired values.

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.”

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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.”

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Job, Career, or Calling?

iStock_000006641794SmallHow do you view your work? Is it drudgery? Is it somewhat benign, somewhat engaging, or possibly even inspiring?

Most employees see work as a job, a means of funding life’s necessities. Some employees see work as a career, a profession they can contribute to for years. A very few see work as a calling, an avenue for meaningful contributions in service to others.

Jobs are a dime a dozen. People change jobs all the time. When one isn’t particularly engaged at work, there isn’t much lost when moving from one job to another.

A career brings a deeper level of commitment and engagement. A career requires long-term involvement, learning and progressing in skills over time. It’s a profession that requires investment of time, talent, and sacrifice.

Over the course of one’s career, one might work at a number of different companies that provide avenues for professional growth and development.

A calling is the deepest level of commitment and engagement. A calling is a purpose-driven, meaningful pursuit to improve the quality of life of others. It’s a service-oriented, heart-aligned, inspiring avenue. It may take years to discover your calling. Once you find it, time flies. Engaging in your calling recharges you and inspires you to your very core.

Some employees never find a calling in their workplace. They may find their calling outside of work – or they may never find their true calling, at all.

What causes employees to see work as a job, a career, or a calling? Leaders have a tremendous influence on employee’s perceptions of their work. Specifically, the leader’s plans, decisions, and actions, day in and day out, can make employees see their work as one of those three “levels” of inspiration.

Do leaders pay attention to their powerful influence on employee perceptions? Not really. Most leaders spend every waking moment on their product or service – developing them, marketing them, getting them into customers’ hands. Leaders put more thought into their products and services than into crafting a safe, inspiring team culture for employees.

Yet culture drives everything that happens in their organizations.

How can leaders ensure their work environment treats team members with respect and dignity, that inspires great performance, deep engagement, and WOW’ed customers?

Leaders do so through the creation of an organizational constitution. An organizational constitution is a formal document that outlines the business’ purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals.

Once these expectations are mapped out, leaders must model, coach, and reinforce them. Leaders must invest as much time and energy in team values and citizenship as they do in managing results. By doing so, they create workplace inspiration – not workplace fear and anxiety.

If team members are consistently treated with dignity and respect by bosses and peers, they actively engage in the success of the business. They apply discretionary energy. They have fun. They love serving customers.

Employees who act like that, who are engaged like that, feel called to their work.

Workplace inspiration doesn’t happen casually. It takes intentional effort on leaders’ parts, every day. Learn more about how an organizational constitution can change your culture for GOOD with my free ChangeThis manifesto, titled, “What? Your Organization Doesn’t Have a Constitution?

Add your comments, insights, or questions below. How do you see your work – as a job, a career, or a calling? What are you called to do on this earth?

Subscribe to my free weekly blog & podcast updates and enjoy two fabulous gifts: my Be a GREAT Boss ebook plus an excerpt from my new #GREAT Bosses tweet book.

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/palto. 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.”

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No Absolutes

IMG_1289Many of us think in terms of absolutes – despite the reality around us that demonstrates how this life is filled with nuances and subtleties.

I grew up in Southern California near the beaches of Orange County. I was a surfer who used to catch waves for a couple of hours before heading to class in high school.

I had no experience with real weather until moving to Colorado nearly ten years ago.

We experience “adventuresome mountain living” at 8400 feet above sea level. Snow, sleet, ice, etc. are a part of daily life for at least six months out of the year. To thrive here, you’d better embrace the reality.

The calendar shows we’re almost to April, yet we’ve still got snow on the ground in shady areas. Our pond is still frozen despite the 40-degree temperatures. On the north side of our house, the walkway is covered in ice – which totally confuses my “absolutes” brain.

How can ice exist when the outside temperature is well above freezing? Shouldn’t the ice and snow melt away once the temps hit 33 degrees?

The environment “is what it is!” The ground isn’t above 32 degrees. Overnight temperatures are still in the teens. Until the earth below the surface heats up, we’ll still have ice and snow.

Leaders think in absolutes all the time – despite the reality around them that demonstrates how their work environment is filled with nuances and subtleties.

Maybe the leader announces a new policy or new practices, yet teams continue to behave as if nothing has changed. The leader thinks, “What’s the matter with them? I told them what the new policies are!”

Maybe the leader asks teams to be self-directed, managing their day-to-day efforts independently to meet project deadlines. But if the team has never experienced self-directed teaming, they don’t know what to do. So, they sit, waiting to be told. The leader thinks, “What’s the matter with them? Why don’t they just get to it?”

Maybe the leader gives the “salesperson of the year” award to a player who exceeds their quota by 100% but who uses shady practices to reach those sales numbers. He or she might poach business from fellow sales team members. He or she might over-promise to get the sale, and frustrate the customer weeks later when the company can’t deliver on those grand promises.

Peers complain about who won the award. The leader thinks, “What’s the matter with them? He sold more than anyone else – he deserves the award!”

There are rarely pure absolutes in our work environments. Leaders can’t just pay attention to the output – that’s hanging out on the edges of what’s really happening. #GreatBosses engage in the midst of the processes and work efforts so they understand the nuances and subtleties. Those leaders can then reinforce desirable nuances and quash undesirable nuances, day in and day out.

Over time, the right nuances lead to the right behaviors. Those right behaviors lead to promises delivered and WOW’ed customers . . . which is absolutely a desirable work environment.

What do you think? What absolute beliefs get in the way of your effective day-to-day contributions? How well do your leaders engage in the midst of processes and efforts to create #WorkplaceInspirationShare your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Get your free copy of my ChangeThis manifesto, “What? Your Organization Doesn’t Have a Constitution?

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway. The Great Boss Assessment compares your current boss’ behaviors with those of great bosses. The Performance-Values Assessment compares your organization’s culture practices to those of high performing, values-aligned teams and organizations. 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 © Chris Edmonds on iStock. 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.”

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Your Right Path

Footstep on the sandWhom do you trust and respect? What about those people’s plans, decisions, and actions cause you to look up to them?

I’ve always been fascinated by the human condition and how us imperfect beings react to our circumstances.

We all face both desirable and undesirable scenarios each day. We experience bad breaks we don’t deserve and bad breaks we do deserve. We experience good breaks we deserve and good breaks we don’t deserve.

I’m inspired by people who remain calm, confident, and kind in the face of their circumstances, who ride out their good and bad breaks steadily, always moving forward on their chosen path.

How do these calm, aligned, kind players find their path? My studies have helped me gain some insights into proven avenues to that alignment. Many world religions outline very similar avenues. In Buddhist traditions, for example, it’s called the Eightfold Path (you can learn more here and here.

This path is intended as a guide to help us humans see life realistically. Exploring these areas can help us settle in to our right or proper path.

Ponder these eight areas:

  • Right (or Proper) View – Understanding that our personal views of the world may inhibit our ability to see the world clearly. Us humans have many beliefs that can cloud our ability to live in the present without mental noise and anguish. This area invites exploration to assess any beliefs that contribute to clouding our views.
  • Right Intention – If one’s intentions on this day are to treat others kindly and fairly, one typically does exactly that. If our intentions are driven by our anger, resentment, or greed, then we are more likely to treat others badly. Having wholesome intentions takes practice!
  • Right Action – Clear intention helps one demonstrate aligned actions. The right actions help us behave in ways that helps and doesn’t harm ourselves or others. We need to pay attention to the impact of our plans, decisions, and actions on others, not just ourselves.
  • Right Speech – In any communications one makes – speaking, writing, emailing, etc. – choose to not hurt feelings, lie, gossip, or intentionally make people angry or defensive. This doesn’t mean that you cannot share your ideas or opinions! It means that one ensures his or her communications are honest and helpful.
  • Right Livelihood – This area doesn’t mean that there are good or bad places to work. It means that we must be aware of how we behave in our workplace – how we treat peers, bosses, and customers. We can choose how to behave and how our workplace ethics are demonstrated.
  • Right Effort – Effort towards undesirable ends doesn’t help us. Aligned effort enables us to demonstrate compassion and contribution. It can help us step away from greed, anger, and fear.
  • Right Mindfulness – Pay attention to what you pay attention to! The little voices in our heads can distract us from being present. Mindfulness keeps one anchored in the moment, engaging with others kindly, and applying our skills in service to others.
  • Right Concentration – Multitasking doesn’t work. Concentration asks us to focus on one thing at a time. It lets us sharpen our thinking, refine thinking that causes us anxiety and stress, and contribute more consistently and kindly.

Further exploration of these areas will benefit me. I have much to learn before I act calmly, confidently, and kindly in every circumstance!

What do you think? What causes you to trust and respect certain people you interact with or observe? To what degree have you engaged in any of these areas to be more calm, confident, and kind? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Subscribe to my free weekly blog & podcast updates and enjoy two “fabulous gifts:” my Be a GREAT Boss ebook plus an excerpt from my new #GREAT Bosses tweet book.

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway. The Great Boss Assessment compares your current boss’ behaviors with those of great bosses. The Performance-Values Assessment compares your organization’s culture practices to those of high performing, values-aligned teams and organizations. 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/Malbert. 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.”

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