Tag Archives | Behaviors

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

Unrelenting Integrity

Business shaking hand with a clientThere are cheaters all around us.

VW diesel emissions. Russia Olympian doping. Subprime mortgage lenders. Lance Armstrong. Fantasy football.

Why do people cheat? I think there are hundreds of reasons. To win. To gain unfair advantage. To make more money. To look good.

Self-serving players in our midst don’t always cheat – but cheating is always about the cheater winning and others losing.

What our nations, companies, communities, and families need today is unrelenting integrity.

I define unrelenting integrity as the daily demonstration of kindly honoring one’s service commitments to others.

It’s about holding oneself accountable for one’s actions and promises. One shall not compromise one’s values, no matter what.

And it starts with each of us. We cannot wait for “someone else” or “everyone else” to embrace integrity as a core value, as a way of living and interacting each day. Each of us just need to embrace it and live it.

The good news is demonstrating unrelenting integrity isn’t complex. There is no club to join. There are no monthly dues required. There are no meetings to attend.

There is simply you, making a bold commitment to make your promises clearly and keep your promises daily.

How might it work? It would probably involve behaviors like these: Every day, you hold yourself accountable for your commitments and actions. You attack problems and processes – not people. You accept responsibility and promptly apologize if you jeopardize trust or respect. You align your daily plans, decisions, and actions with your purpose and values, in service to others.

That “in service to others” piece is important. You could have strong integrity to your own, selfish gains! I don’t think that’s what this world needs of us inhabitants right now. The world needs a strong network of trusted players who work with – not against – others.

Many of us make promises without fully committing to the time, energy, and investment those promises require. Tiny HR’s 2015 Employee Engagement Report found that the single largest productivity killer in the workplace is co-workers’ lack of follow through and communication. 35 percent of respondents reported this issue!

Our integrity is maintained with every kept promise. We can’t be casual about keeping our commitments or we’ll miss an important deadline. If we miss a deadline, our integrity will take a big hit.

If we live in unrelenting integrity, we might create a trend – in our work team, among our friends, in our neighborhoods – where others embrace unrelenting integrity in their lives. Getting others to embrace unrelenting integrity is beyond our control . . . but if we can move the needle a bit that direction, greater trust, respect, and dignity might occur.

How do we eat this “integrity” elephant? One bite, one kept promise, at a time.

All the time.

What do you think about living with “unrelenting integrity”? What have I missed? In what ways can you increase your commitment to your commitments? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © nd3000 – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

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The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2015 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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Valued Behaviors Create Passion and Excellence

Portrait of a group of firefighters by a fire engineThanksgiving week is upon us here in the US. This holiday is a time of gratitude, reflecting on the blessings we each have in our lives. It’s also a holiday of family, food, and football – usually too much food and football in our house!

I’m thankful for many things, not the least of which is for our first responders. Police and fire personnel put their lives on the line every day. Their jobs are immensely demanding and stressful. 99 percent of those first responders serve with speed, grace, and skill.

And, skill alone doesn’t make an effective firefighter or police officer. The culture of their department has a huge influence on whether they are able to bring their best each day – as individuals and as team members.

If their department’s culture tolerates disrespectful or dangerous behaviors, it is likely that the players in that culture will embrace those behaviors. They won’t share information. They won’t support each other. They criticize others’ decisions publicly. They discount others’ efforts and accomplishments. They may hesitate to act upon the commands from a distrusted colleague – with potentially disastrous results.

These behaviors don’t bond people together, they create distrust – whether in a police station, fire department, retail store, restaurant, or office.

A high performing, values-aligned culture doesn’t happen by default – it happens only by design.

A high-performing team culture that treats all members with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction doesn’t happen by default. It happens only by design – with clear intention and daily attention. By creating clear performance expectations along with clear citizenship expectations – and with consistent accountability for both – organizations reap the benefits.

What are those benefits? Employee engagement goes up 40 percent. Customer service increases by 40 percent. Results and profits grow by 35 percent – all within 18 months of implementing an organizational constitution (purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals).

It is unusual for law enforcement or fire protection organizations to engage in this process. It takes a lot of time and energy to do it right. The reality is that defining your organizational constitution is the easy part of the journey; it’s about 10 percent of the work.

90 percent of the work is about alignment to the new expectations outlined in the constitution. Modeling the behaviors, coaching the behaviors, and holding everyone accountable for the behaviors is where the real traction takes place or fails.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with firefighters since the 1980’s when two served on the board of my YMCA. Getting to know these firefighters helped me learn just how demanding their jobs are – and how dedicated they are to serving others.

Recently, a member of the Bend, Oregon, USA, Fire & Rescue squad shared how his team is creating a high performing, values-aligned work environment with specific values and behaviors. Their values include:

  • Respect
  • Optimism
  • Compassion
  • Humility
  • Resiliency
  • Integrity

By formalizing their values and behaviors, Bend Firefighters know that they are responsible for more than simply applying their skills to their jobs. They are responsible to treat others with respect and compassion, every day. They are to behave humbly and with integrity in every interaction. They are to demonstrate optimism and resiliency, even in the toughest moments.

A valued team member in the Bend Fire Department acts in accordance with their values and behaviors. They praise aligned behavior and redirect mis-aligned behaviors. And, they’re making progress, every day.

The video below allows Bend Firefighters to share their unique perspective of their culture, values, and passion for serving their community while keeping their team members safe.

How clearly does your organization define citizenship? Do team leaders and team members treat each other with trust, dignity, and respect, every day? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Monkey Business – Dollar Photo Club. 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 © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


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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Mean People Suck.

child reaching for the ball behind the fenceThere are mean people around us. We don’t have to look hard.

In my Long Beach, CA, neighborhood in the ’60’s, an elderly man lived on our street. There were fifty 8-12 years olds on that street. We played in the street and in each others’ yards. We rode our bikes. We built forts. We operated lemonade stands. We ran around as superheroes with bathroom towels as capes.

Anytime a kid crossed the elderly man’s yard, he yelled at us. If a ball rolled onto his grass, he yelled at us. If a toy went over the fence into his back yard, it was “lost forever.” He complained regularly to our parents about how “unruly” us kids were.

He was the “grumpy old man” in our neighborhood. We did our best to stay away from him.

We see mean behavior between and among family members – to each other and to people outside the family, daily.

At work, we see people acting mean all the time. The Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2014 study of US workplaces found that 65 million workers are affected by bullying. “Teasing” takes the form of demeaning and discounting of others’ ideas, efforts, and accomplishments. Cliques form, where insiders are valued and outsiders are scorned. A boss tells a team member their report is “rubbish” – in front of the team.

A recent New York Times article outlined the negative impact on health when workplace incivility reigns.

Mean people are sometimes allowed to get away with mean behavior while keeping their jobs. This week, photos were released of an all-pro NFL player’s ex-girlfriend’s injuries. The player was suspended last year by the league for domestic violence. The release of these pictures has raised the call for the player to be suspended indefinitely.

This player’s mean behaviors continue. The player was seen getting into a confrontation with teammates and a coach on the sideline during a recent game which the team lost – yet the player remains a highly-compensated member of the team.

The player’s new team apparently sees talent as more important than character. The player will start in this Sunday’s game.

Why do people act mean? There might be many valid reasons for people to feel badly about themselves. It could be that they were unloved as a child. It could be that he or she – or a family member – has health problems or financial problems. It could be that they have experienced powerful role models of mean bosses over their careers – so they demonstrate the same meanness.

It could be one of thousands of contributing factors.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why some people act mean. They don’t have to take out their frustrations on others – yet they do. Our choice is what to do with mean people. I suggest we have three options:

Tolerate. We can choose to remain involved with mean people – and say little about their behavior. Toleration means we don’t actively attempt to redirect the mean person’s behavior. We experience it – and the consequences of it, on ourselves and others – daily.

Insulate. We can choose to remain connected with mean people but we intentionally limit our exposure to their meanness. We protect ourselves and our family members or team members by being assertive about what behaviors are appropriate and what behaviors are inappropriate. If mean behaviors blossom, we can address the unkind behavior (while valuing the person) in a neutral, firm fashion – then leave the family dinner or the team meeting. This approach means we must be “on guard” but willing to engage with the mean person, so long as they don’t behave badly.

Eliminate. We can choose to separate ourselves from mean people. We may have to change jobs within our company or to even change companies to eliminate interactions with a mean player. We may choose to not attend family events to ensure we’re not confronted by the bad behavior. We don’t judge, we just move on.

What is the best option for you? For your own well-being, I highly recommend insulation or elimination. Life is too short.

How do mean people in your workplace behave? Does your organization tolerate that mean behavior? How do you insulate or eliminate mean people from your daily lives? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © .shock – Dollar Photo Club. 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 © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


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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Attitude, Schmattitude.

doctor and a British cat on white background“Hire for attitude, train for skills.”

We’ve all heard this recommendation. Some believe it wholeheartedly. I love the “train for skills” piece. That works for me.

What doesn’t work is the attitude piece. I think the phrase “hire for attitude” is founded on an impossible task: accurately assessing a person’s attitude.

Attitude is, by definition, an internal state. If it’s an internal state, how can we accurately assess it? We can’t know what a person is thinking. We can’t know what a person is feeling. We can’t know their motivations, their rationale, or their goals.

What we can do is observe their behaviors. Behaviors are tangible and measurable.

A person’s plans, decisions, and actions – observed over time – can lead us to a more confident understanding of their goals, fears, and rationale.

Could we get a more complete understanding of a person by engaging them in conversations, asking them to explain their goals, fears, and rationale? Maybe. Sometimes people say things they don’t mean. Sometimes people say one thing and do another.

I’m not going to be a very effective recruiter or influencer if I’m attempting to assess or manage someone else’s attitude. It’s just not an effective strategy.

I’m also not going to be an effective pet owner if I’m attempting to assess my pet’s attitude. Stay with me on this.

A dear friend is a veterinarian. I enjoy learning about her daily interactions with clients – and their pets. Her job as a veterinarian is to gather information – blood tests, flexibility tests, etc. on the animal and behavioral observations from the pet’s owners – to establish what the pain or illness might be. Only then can she prescribe a treatment to address that pain or illness.

Her challenge is that pet owners try to manage or “know” their pet’s attitudes or internal states instead of observing and reporting on the pet’s behaviors.

She says, “I go over this every day with every client in every appointment!”

A client may say, “Mr. Tibbles is depressed about the weather – that’s why he’s lethargic.” That may be entirely true – but it’s my friend’s job to push for behavioral insights that can provide clues to what other issues might be causing Mr. Tibbles’ discomfort.

It could be the cat is reacting to a change in diet. That cool new cat food may disagree with Mr. Tibbles’ digestion. It could be an infection. It could be a hair ball – or any number of issues that put the pet at serious risk.

So, my friend coaches clients to share what behaviors they’ve observed, not what attitudinal assessments they’ve made of their pet.

Behavior is by far a more reliable indicator of a person’s work ethic, passion, values, and follow-through. I don’t have to make any assumptions about a person’a attitude. I can simply look at their patterns of behavior.

Hire for values and behaviors – then train for skills. You’ll end up with a much more enthused, aligned high performer on your team.

What’s your experience with hiring for attitude and training for skills? Have you assessed valued behaviors first? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © .shock – Dollar Photo Club. 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 © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


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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Change is Hard

IMG_0052The one thing that I keep learning as a human on this planet is that change isn’t easy. It’s not fun – at least not at the start. It’s hard work.

One recent change I’ve been struggling with is my new leg brace, pictured at right. I have CMT, a neurologic disease that causes calf atrophy, foot drop, and instability while standing or walking. I’ve suffered from the symptoms for over 20 years. I thought the calf atrophy was due to my two back surgeries over the years, so didn’t think anything of it. It was how I walked.

The brace is a pretty cool little device – custom molded to my foot and leg, carbon fiber so light as a feather. The stiffness of the carbon fiber holds my foot flat and holds it in alignment with the leg and knee. That’s the way skeletal alignment is supposed to work, but with my foot drop, I’ve walked out of alignment for 20 years.

The hard part I’m experiencing is that walking in alignment is causing much hip pain and back pain. Why? Because I’ve grown accustomed to accommodating my leg weakness and foot drop. My current gait is very distinct. I throw my right leg out while walking so my foot falls flat, rather than rolling (like a sprained ankle), causing me to catch myself or fall over.

The brace aligns my foot, calf, and knee as it’s supposed to be aligned. My hip and back aren’t used to that new alignment. Muscles are working differently. And, they’re not happy – nor are the nerve endings.

The leg brace is good for me. It’s safer – I won’t stumble as much. And, the new way of walking hurts my hip and back. So, comfort will take awhile.

Another hard change I’ve observed is one I’m helping a client with. We’re helping an organization shift from a purely economic purpose (“making money”) to a people-centered purpose. Plans, decisions, and actions have not taken people into account. They were driven by dollars and cents.

Bosses were hired and trained to honor the dollar and to virtually ignore their people. Engagement is at an all-time low. Turnover is high – and they’re losing talented players. Customer service is suffering.

A long-time leader was recently promoted to help with the culture change. At a company meeting, he was in casual conversation with some of his direct reports on a break.

At one point, he made a teasing comment about one of his team members in the group. It was mean-spirited. The laughter was subdued.

We gave this leader prompt feedback. He immediately understood that his comment wasn’t appropriate – especially now with the new focus on valuing people. He said, “I’m so used to using humor with these players. I know that comment was over the line.”

“This is going to be hard.”

Change is hard. And, if you’re looking to walk in alignment or act in alignment, those changes will help you embrace more effective ways.

What changes are hard for you today? How have your best bosses helped your team through needed changes? 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 © 2005-2015 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.


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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