Archives For Integrity

iStock_000002117973SmallDo your company leaders create workplace inspiration or workplace drudgery, or something in between?

Do team members experience trust and respect in day to day interactions with leaders or do they experience something less?

If followers feel disrespected and distrusted, they won’t engage willingly in efforts to make the company successful.

My work with a culture client awhile back shed light on this issue. The first phase of any of my culture initiatives is one of discovery; I interview senior leaders, their direct reports, and select next level staff. These interviews help me understand how the culture operates, how leaders are perceived, how fair and just the culture is, and the like.

With this client, a new plant leader was seen as a strong driver of process improvement, yet his interpersonal reactions led staff to believe that he did not trust or respect them.

He would ask people’s opinions in a public forum, then would roll his eyes when he heard others’ ideas. He’d discount others’ ideas abruptly, strongly, and verbally. He discounted others’ concerns about safety during a major construction project.

He didn’t listen. He didn’t validate others ideas or concerns. He didn’t observe the clear indications that team members were distant and distrustful of him.

Performance and quality issues grew while team member engagement fell.

Other than that, things at the plant were great!

I truly do not believe this leader was trying to create a workplace of stress and dysfunction. I believe he was doing the best he could. And, he wasn’t paying attention to the quality of his relationships, to the presence (or absence) of trust in him.

Leaders can only have consistent, positive influence on productivity and engagement if they create followership – a willing, talented team that understands the leader’s vision and the customer’s needs, and delivers on both.

The newest Edelman Trust Barometer provides insights on the degree of global trust in business and government but also provides suggestions on how to boost trust in the workplace.

The new trust barometer indicates that engagement and integrity are powerful drivers of trust in workplaces. In one section of Edelman’s research, seven factors that boost engagement and integrity were analyzed.

These key factors rate the degree to which business leaders:

  • Are ethical
  • Listen to customers
  • Treat employees well
  • Put customers before profits
  • Act responsibly in crisis
  • Are transparent and open
  • Communicate often

Their research found that, today, business leaders around the globe fall short in each of these key factors – by 25% or more when comparing the business’ stated importance of each factor and the business’ actual performance on each factor. For example,  being “ethical” was reported as an important factor by 60% of respondents. However, those same respondents reported that their business’ actual performance on the ethical factor was just 29% – a gap of 31%.

If we think about our great bosses, it is very likely that we experienced those great bosses demonstrating every one of these key factors.

Leaders, it’s not that complicated. Do the right thing, daily. Value team members’ efforts and ideas as well as their accomplishments.

What do you think? Which of these key factors did your great bosses demonstrate? To what degree do your leaders today model these key factors? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

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

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 organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

Photo © istockphoto.com/jchang2. 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 Chris’ songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). Chris 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.”

Character Matters

February 17, 2014 — 1 Comment

Ethics Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.Two recent news items caught my eye. Both shed light on the critical importance of character in organizations.

The first story came from a designer named Jordan who was thrilled to get a job at one of the most successful technology companies on the planet. He felt like getting an offer from this company validated his talent as a designer.

On-boarding was “super bumpy.” The long commute and rigid hours meant Jordan hardly ever saw his new daughter during the week. It took nearly a month to receive his credentials to log in to the main server.

There were meetings all the time, which inhibited everyone’s productivity. But, Jordan thought, meetings are a “necessary evil in a company that’s so large with such high-quality products.”

Then Jordan’s immediate boss began making direct and indirect insults to him. The boss reminded Jordan that his contract wouldn’t be renewed if he missed performance standards. The boss’ habit of making personal insults shrouded as jokes to anyone below him meant all of Jordan’s team members received the same treatment.

It didn’t make Jordan feel appreciated or valued. The jokes, insults, and negativity from his boss distracted Jordan from getting work done. Jordan “desperately wanted Friday evening to arrive” and he “dreaded Sunday nights.”

When Jordan’s boss hit him with yet another weird low-blow insult, Jordan made the decision to leave his lousy boss – and he quit.

The second story described how the number of US soldiers forced out of the Army because of crimes or misconduct has soared in the past several years. The number of officers who left the Army has tripled and the number of enlisted soldiers forced out has doubled.

There is no question that long, repeated deployments to the front lines have placed great burdens on the Army’s soldiers and their leaders. And, as General Ray Odierno (the Army’s top officer), explained, “Sometimes in the past, we’ve overlooked character issues because of competence and commitment.”

Other branches of the US military have experienced high profile scandals (sexual assault, mistreatment of the enemy, etc.), so it’s not just the Army that has suffered these character issues.

In the high-tech company, the boss’ character was revealed in the serial mistreatment of staff members. In the US Army, character issues have caused leaders and soldiers to be tossed out of the service.

These stories note character issues with ONE high-tech company leader and character issues with a very small percentage of Army personnel (in 2013, 387 officers and 11,000 soldiers). There are thousands of high-tech company leaders, Army officers, and Army soldiers that demonstrate impeccable character as well as high competence and high commitment.

And – when ANY leader or team member in your organization demonstrates low character, it erodes team member well being. It erodes confidence. It inhibits performance. It quashes the application of discretionary energy by team members. It damages your organization’s reputation.

Character matters. Demand it. Model it. Observe it. Celebrate it.

What do you think? What character issues have you experienced with bosses or team members over your career? How do your best bosses model great character? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

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

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 organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

Photo © istockphoto.com/feverpitched. 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 Chris’ songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). Chris 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.”

Character Revealed

January 27, 2014 — 1 Comment

Businessman taking oath.Is your personal character showing?

You may not think so, but it is. It shows with every plan, decision, and action you make. Your character is obvious to those who observe you, who hear you, and who are impacted by your words, behaviors, and interactions.

A recent sports story made headlines when a talented football player’s passionate interview immediately after a great play placed him – and his bravado – in the spotlight.

He touted his skills – not his team mates. He discounted the opposing team’s player, calling him “mediocre.”

The backlash was severe. The next day, the player wrote, “Don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines. Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family.”

I don’t think we have a choice of when, where, or how others judge our character. We do what we do – and others see it, judge it, and come to conclusions about our character because of it.

I think we’re “on duty” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can’t compartmentalize our “in character” actions or our “out of character” actions; I believe it’s all a part of our character.

“Time out! I want to behave badly for a few minutes!”

I had a boss once that had a fiery temper. When things didn’t go as he expected, he’d yell, slam doors, call us names, and generally pitch a fit. After one such demonstration, he came back in to us and said, “I apologize. That tantrum was entirely out of character for me.”

My team mates and I shared quick, disbelieving glances with each other. His tantrum wasn’t out of character – it was a core part of his chosen pattern of behaviors. It was entirely within his character, as we experienced it daily.

To be more intentional with your character, clarify your #BestSelf by defining your personal purpose and values. Define your values in observable, tangible behaviors. Then align your behaviors, every moment, to your purpose and values.

How do others see your character? The only way to find out is to ask. Invite feedback, asking “What behaviors do I use that serve you well, that you’d like me to keep doing?” and “What behaviors inhibit your performance or engagement, that you’d like me to quit doing?” and “What new behaviors would you like to see from me that would boost your performance and engagement?”

You’ll learn a great deal. Thank people for their feedback. Refine your behaviors to serve better and reduce behaviors that erode performance and engagement.

Continue to ask for feedback – at least twice a year. Continue to thank people for their feedback. Continue to refine your behaviors.

Do that enough and you might find yourself seen as a person of high character, every minute.

What do you think? How do you manage your character? Where do you stumble in being in your desired, best character every day? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

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

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 organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

Photo © istockphoto.com/milla1974. 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 Chris’ songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). Chris 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.”

Be Intentional in 2014

December 30, 2013 — Leave a comment

iStock_000020422405XSmallDo you go with the flow or do you map out a path and follow it, intentionally?

For many of us, we go with the flow. We let others create the environment we live or work in. If the flow aligns with our needs and hopes, that’s not a problem.

When the flow doesn’t align with our needs and hopes, we get frustrated. Too often in that scenario, we see ourselves as “pawns in the game of life,” with little ability to influence our less-than-perfect environment.

Yet some players consistently thrive in this life and at work. They effectively work through the hurdles that life (and others) throw at them. What do they do differently? What enables them to plot their course and stay on it, no matter the variables they face?

My research and experience tells me that these players have clarified their personal purpose and values. Then they are intentional about aligning their plans, decisions, and actions to their purpose and values each day.

A story might be insightful here. In a previous life, I spent years as a lifeguard. Ocean shores are a complicated environment for keeping swimmers safe. One of the biggest complications were rip currents or riptides.

Riptides are powerful tidal flows that draw water – and any swimmers in that flow – away from the shore, out to the sea. Swimmers caught in a riptide often fight it, trying to swim directly to shore to escape the current. They panic when they realize they are not strong enough to counter the flow.

And, “going with the flow” in this scenario is really dangerous. A rip current can take swimmers a half a mile offshore in minutes! If swimmers fight the current, they will quickly become exhausted.

Swimmers educated about rip tides don’t fight the current, they move with it. They keep their eyes on the shore (their goal) and swim steadily parallel to the shore, not towards it. Graceful, steady effort enables these swimmers to break free of the rip current, which is moving away from the beach. Once free of that powerful force, the swimmer is able to swim to shore.

They will likely find themselves far along the beach from where they started, but they’re safe!

Start the coming year by being intentional about who you are, what you value, and where you want to go. To go about defining your personal purpose and values, I suggest three steps:

Clarify – Start by formalizing your personal purpose and by defining your values in observable, tangible, measurable terms. It may help to review questions I pose here and here.
Align – Once your personal purpose, values, and behaviors are defined, scrutinize your daily plans, decisions, and actions to ensure they’re aligned with your personal “constitution.” Where you find mis-alignment, point yourself towards alignment. Clear that path and stay on it.
Refine – Over time, as you learn more about yourself living an aligned life, you may find that your purpose, values, or behaviors need tweaking. Wordsmith where needed, at least once a year. Then, align daily.

Make 2014 your year of aligned, intentional living and working.

What do you think? What is your “current draft” of your personal purpose, values, and behaviors today? What techniques do you use to ensure you live in alignment with your personal constitution? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Subscribe to my free weekly blog & podcast updates. Subscribers 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 organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

Photo © istockphoto.com/zizar2002. 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 Chris’ songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). Chris 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.”

compass“I’m just not happy at work.”

A friend shared this sentiment with me recently. She’s talented and committed. She contributes. She’s valued by her team, boss, and company.

Yet, for her, in her job, happiness is elusive.

Does happiness matter? The business costs of employee unhappiness are significant. Gallup’s recent “State of the Global Workplace” report estimates that actively disengaged US employees cost their companies $450-550 billion each year. In Germany, the cost is €112-138 billion. In the UK, the cost is £52-70 billion.

Does happiness matter, personally? Absolutely. Employees who are happy, who have positive well-being, are 31% more productive, are 10 times more engaged, are three times more creative, and are three times more satisfied with their jobs.

How can you boost your personal well-being and happiness? How can you find your unique “voice”?

Start with getting clearer about who you are, about what makes you tick.

Ask yourself questions like these:

  • Who are you? You are more than your skills, your accomplishments, and your roles. What is your life purpose? What is your reason for being, in life and work? Draft a purpose statement and refine it. As an example, my purpose statement is to inspire and encourage others – life leaders and participants – to clarify their personal values and to serve with authenticity.
  • What do you stand for? What values and principles define what is “right” for you in this world? What principles do you aspire to demonstrate daily? Work through a proven process to map out your values, their definitions, and the specific valued behaviors that are required of you to consistently live your values.
  • What inspires you? What causes a big smile on your face and makes your heart swell with satisfaction and maybe even pride? Identify activities that move your purpose forward, that align with your values. Those may be of a teaching or coaching nature – or maybe a service nature, in your community. Be specific. If volunteering at your local YMCA’s Mommy and Me swim classes inspire you, note down those classes.

With a clearer understanding of you – your purpose, values, and inspirations – you can seek and find your niche, avenues that enable you to engage in those activities and leverage those strengths frequently.

Your niche may be in your current company with new projects that leverage your values and inspirations. And, your niche may be well served in avenues outside your current role, volunteering at non-profits, soup kitchens, or community gardens, for example.

Once you clarify your voice, take the next step – find your niche, where you can act upon your purpose, values, and inspirations regularly.

It’ll do you GOOD.

What do you think? What avenues have you discovered that inspire you? How do you serve your family and community while being your full, delightful, unique self?  Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Subscribe to my free weekly blog & podcast updates. Subscribers 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 organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

Photo © istockphoto.com/albin. 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 Chris’ songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). Chris 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.”