Tag Archives | Integrity

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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Cause and Effect

iStock_000011328804Small

My wife does our laundry. Recently she’s been frustrated that my t-shirts came out of the dryer inside out.

She’s said on more than one occasion, “I need you to put your t-shirts in the laundry right-side out. Would you please do that?”

“I do put them in right-side out,” I’d reply. “Really. I’m very intentional about doing that.”

“Then why do they come of the dryer out inside out?” she’d ask.

In the past, I never thought about how I tossed my dirty shirts in the laundry hamper. And, these past six months, I’ve been extremely careful to do exactly as my wife had asked: I ensured my shirts were right-side out.

My wife had her truth. I had mine. How could we resolve this issue?

This past week, I made a suggestion. I said to her, “Have you noticed if the shirts were inside-out in the dirty clothes hamper?”

“No, I’ve never checked,” she admitted.

I said, “How’s about this round you check the dirty shirts to see if they’re right-side out? I’ll help!”

She said, “That’s a good idea. I don’t need help – I’ve got it.”

Today she came in and showed me one of my t-shirts, fresh out of the dryer. It was inside out. She said, “All your shirts went into the washer right-side out. By the time they got out of the dryer, they’d inverted themselves!”

She apologized for blaming me for not doing what she’d asked.  “No worries,” I replied, adding “That is a bit weird. I wonder if the washer or dryer turns them inside out.”

Now, I don’t mean to infer that I listen to everything my wife says to me or that I do everything she asks me to do. I’m a normal, moronic husband. This time, though, I really tried. It wasn’t my fault – this time.

How often do you experience “competing” truths in your work environment? I see it happen all the time.

Disagreements about what the “real truth” is can evolve into major conflicts pretty quickly if they’re not resolved in a way that honors everyone’s truth.

Just like with the inside-out t-shirts, something in your organization is causing an undesirable result. In many cases, it’s not anyone’s fault – no one is intentionally causing the issue.

(If someone is intentionally causing the issue or is not honest about what’s happening, that’s a different problem entirely.)

Now things aren’t working as desired. Rather than blaming people, a better approach is to dig in and learn the process more deeply – and discover the root cause of the issue.

Your truth may be about the first part of the process (the t-shirts in the laundry hamper right-side out). My truth may be about the last part of the process (the t-shirts coming out of the dryer inside-out).

We’re both right, yet we still must resolve an undesirable outcome.

Don’t blame. Dig in. Examine the process and find the root cause. Address it if possible – without harming relationships.

If you can’t fix the issue, you at least now understand it. You might have to spend a little extra time with the t-shirts before you fold them, but people will feel heard and honored.

What do you think? What “competing truths” get in the way of performance and relationships in your work environment? How are those truths addressed in your work teams? Add your comments, insights, or questions 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/donstock. 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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Service And Sacrifice

Grave Marker of Soldier with American Flag in a National CemeteryToday is Memorial Day in the United States. It is a day designed for remembrance of service members who gave their lives to this nation.

Like other holidays, though, the true “reason for the season” is too often ignored. Christmas is more about shopping and gifts than about the birth of Christianity. Memorial Day is more about cookouts and sporting events than about thanking service members for their commitment and sacrifice.

On this day – as on many days – I find myself thankful for the sacrifices that service members, veterans, and their families made and continue to make to keep our country safe.

Military members may have been drafted into service or they may have volunteered into service. Did you know that anyone who enlists in the US military the first time incurs an eight year service commitment? A recruit might sign a two- or four-year active duty contract but their service commitment is for a total of eight years. After active duty, they engage in active or inactive reserve duty.

Some service members complete their eight year commitment and transition into civilian life. Some service members embrace their military roles as a career, serving until retirement.

Families of service members sacrifice, as well. They support their military service members – sons, daughters, even mothers and fathers – through that eight year commitment. The demands of deployment, particularly in war zones, on service members and their families are extensive and exhausting. And, no matter what, service members and their families do their best to persevere through those difficult times.

How can I best express my thanks to service members and veterans? When I’ve said, “Thank you for your service” to military members, I find many seem a bit uncomfortable with me saying that. I’ve learned that some service members believe such thanks ring hollow. David Finkel’s book on this subject is a powerful narrative of the difficulties of war and of the return home from war.

The United States has placed the burden of military service on the shoulders of a very small percentage of it’s citizens (one half of one percent based on recent analysis). Military service is a heavy responsibility and such service needs to be honored, recognized, and validated.

We as US citizens need to do more – and we need to do right - by our military service members, veterans, and their families. Issues abound for service members, veterans, and their families. For example, medical care for veterans and service members must be through, top quality, prompt, and kind. Another example: pay for military members needs to enable safe and inspiring living conditions, not poverty level experiences.

Addressing these issues will cost money. Taxes may rise or current programs with less citizen benefit must be defunded to help address these issues.

Consistent graceful, kind treatment of our veterans and military members is deserved – and long overdue.

Maybe then, when these systems are fixed and veterans and service members are treated properly, they will feel honored by a grateful nation. Not only will my words but their daily experiences will leave them feeling thanked for their service and sacrifices.

What do you think? What suggestions do you have for treating service members, veterans, and their families more honorably? Add your comments, insights, or questions 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 #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/tankbmb. 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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Find Your Reason

Rock climber clinging to a cliff.“This is what I was meant to do.”

Have you heard this impassioned declaration from friends or colleagues? When you meet people who are passionate and clear about their reason for being, their enthusiasm, confidence, and drive is tangible. Their passion is impossible to ignore.

Steven Spielberg, in a USAToday interview this week, said of his Shoah Foundation, “This is the most important work I can be doing.”

How do you see your work today? If you see work as mostly a series of meaningless efforts and interactions, it is unlikely that you will feel fulfilled over time – and may not feel focused each day. You might feel as if you are “going through the motions.”

How do you see your life today? You might be more intentional with integrating meaning in your personal life, engaging in meaningful contributions in your community regularly. You might volunteer at a soup kitchen, shelter, or community non-profit. You might engage in finding space for a neighborhood garden and rally others to ensure it comes to fruition.

Finding your reason for being is not about your happiness – it’s about creating meaning in your life and work.

In fact, a recent study by researchers from Florida State University, the University of Minnesota, and Stanford University, found that happiness is primarily about the “now,” being happy in the present. Meaningfulness primarily involves integrating the past, present, and future. Engaging in meaningful endeavors often requires unhappiness – experiences like one’s discontent with how things work or with the unfairness of treatment, policies, or practices.

Meaningfulness to us humans means we will tackle difficult issues that are important to us. We choose to tackle these issues so we can serve others. We may choose to address unfairness or inequality we see.

Our engagement in our reason for being will cost us time, energy, and funds. We make those sacrifices willingly because of our passionate belief in doing good and providing benefits to those around us. For example, a chef at a neighborhood restaurant left a corporate banquets position to create a warm, family environment with tasty, healthy fare that amazes customers. He said, “I took a 75% cut in pay and doubled the hours I spend at work, but I’m doing what I love – and customers love it, too.”

How do you discover your reason for being? For many of us, life experiences help us filter out things that are less important – less meaningful – to us. So, it takes time (often years). You can start by reflecting on what you’re truly passionate about from a “serving others” framework. What projects, activities, or opportunities engage you, inspire you, and lift you up?

Keep a list. Revisit your list every couple of weeks. Refine your list as you get clearer on those few, vitally meaningful things that provide insights into your passions.

Does your work have to be fully aligned to your reason for being? For many of us humans, our work activities are not fully aligned with our most meaningful drives. For a few, work fits perfectly into their passions.

What is important, I think, is to understand your reason for being – and engage in it often. You’ll make the world a better place when you do.

Add your comments, insights, or questions below. What is your reason for being? In what ways are you able to engage in your passions and service to others at work, with family, or in your communities?

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 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/gregepperson. 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 Room for Bullying

Business TeamDoes bullying happen in your work environment? New research by the Workplace Bullying Institute reveals that it is likely.

72% of Americans are aware that workplace bullying happens. Of those, 27% have experienced workplace bullying personally and 21% have witnessed abusive treatment of players in their work environment.

Workplace bullying is a global phenomena. Ellen Cobb’s excellent 2012 research outlines global incidence, impact, and attempts to address workplace bullying in countries around the world.

This infographic outlines the “lowlights” of the 2014 US Workplace Bullying Survey.

A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry underscores the long-term costs of childhood bullying. The harmful effects can extend for decades after the initial bullying! The study found that effects include lower levels of education, greater physical and mental health problems, and poor social functioning throughout victims’ lives.

Bullying – in or out of the workplace – erodes trust, erodes confidence, reduces performance, and creates health problems.

How do employers respond to workplace bullying? The WBI survey found that 25% of US employers believe workplace bullying doesn’t happen in their companies. They do not investigate complaints.

16% of US employers discount the impact of workplace bullying; they know about it but believe it’s not a big deal. 15% rationalize it – these US employers believe that workplace bullying is a routine way of doing business (!).

11% of US employers defend workplace bullying, particularly when the perpetrators are executives and managers. 5% of US employers encourage it, believing it is necessary to be competitive today.

Only 12% of US employers act to eliminate workplace bullying. Another 6% condemn it through zero-tolerance policies and procedures.

What can you do? First, learn what resources are available to you. The Workplace Bullying Institute provides tools and services for individuals and employers.

Second, build a foundation of trust and respect in your work team. You don’t have to fix your whole division or company – just aim at improving your work team’s environment.

Most teams and companies focus exclusively on getting production done – not on the quality of the work environment. You can change that dynamic by crafting “great citizenship” guidelines for all team members.

Outline the values, behaviors, and norms that will enable work team dignity and respect. Make your values measurable (this post can help you). Invite team members to help refine those behaviors. Then publish them. Ask every team member to model them, praise them when others model them, and coach others when they see misaligned behavior.

These steps can create workplace inspiration – and eliminate bullying within your team, one step at a time.

What do you think? Does your employer act to eliminate bullying or even condemn it, or not so much? How does your work team address abusive conduct today? Share 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 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/yanc. 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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