Tag Archives | Trust

Are You a Trusted Agent?

I’d just finished a four-day program in China for a long time culture client. The work with the Asia region leadership team couldn’t have gone better. I was packing for the next day’s flights back to the US and called my wife, Diane, to check in.

Diane had experienced a gallstone attack the previous day. She felt terrible and was at risk of going into septic shock. And I wasn’t there to help her.

Diane’s adult kids – my step-children – live close by us. Daughter Karin and son Andy – and their spouses – were totally on top of things. They got her checked into the hospital, coordinated with the nurses and doctors, communicated with me with detailed information about the plan, and stayed with Diane through much of her hospital stay.

Diane had an endoscopic procedure to pull the gallstone on Thursday (Friday in Asia, when I was flying home). That procedure went well. The doctors then decided to remove her gallbladder as they were confident there were more stones “ready to block the bile duct again.” That laparoscopic procedure was scheduled for Saturday.

I returned to Denver late on Friday night and was able to see Diane before her surgery Saturday, along with the kids and spouses. We hung out and visited Diane after she was returned to her room after recovery. Diane was released from the hospital two days later and is recovering nicely.

Our kids acted as “trusted agents” for Diane in my absence. They didn’t miss a beat. They coordinated with Diane, me, the hospital staff, and many more players, seamlessly. They were active participants in discussions and decisions. They were dedicated to Diane’s care and acted as a unified team with “one mind, one heart, and one voice.”

They had my back – and Diane’s.

I learned about trusted agents from a fine man and good friend, transitioned US Marine Raphael Hernandez. The US Marine Corps is one of the most values-aligned, high performance organizations on the planet. Their operating teams are crisis response expeditionary forces focused on specific threats and tasks around the globe. Marine Corps members align to this important, great purpose.

Raphael explained that trusted agents are like-minded players – peers and bosses – who have common values and shared goals. You trust them with your ideas and hopes – and they don’t use either against you. Trusted agents act in service to each other, all the time, every time.

While deployed in Iraq in 2004, Raphael worked with one of his best Marine commanders. Raphael was the director of operations, responsible for transporting 2500 Marines to Kuwait then to bases throughout Iraq. Raphael’s boss trusted him completely. Raphael shared ideas, concerns, plans, and questions with no fear whatsoever – and with no negative repercussions from his boss.

Improvised explosive devices (IED’s) throughout the country caused the team to fly most Marines to their bases for their safety. Approximately 100 Marines were transported via convoy to escort heavy equipment that could not be flown in Marine C-130 fixed wing aircraft. Raphael’s commander could have taken the safer route by flying. Instead, he chose to ride in the convoy with his Marines, along with Raphael, facing IEDs all along their route.

They arrived safely. By the commander’s choice to put himself in harm’s way, trust in him and in his decisions skyrocketed.

Convoys may not be part of your daily operations like they are with US Marines. You can, however, act as a trusted agent – serving others, supporting others, valuing their ideas, efforts, and accomplishments, at work, at home, and in your community, every day.

Who are your trusted agents? What do they do – how do they act – to deserve your trust and confidence? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © ALDECAstudio – 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 © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


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

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Share this:

The “AM” in TEAM

You’ve seen the poster that states “there is no ‘I’ in TEAM.” That statement promotes the absence of individuals on effective teams.

That’s a crock. Every team has individuals. When those individuals align to the team’s purpose, values, behaviors, strategies, and goals, you have a shot at that team being productive and inspiring to serve upon.

When those individuals don’t align to the team’s purpose, values, goals, etc., you have a shot at being one of the world’s worst teams.

We need to look at the “AM” in TEAM. What do I mean by that?

I mean that individual behaviors of team members are critically important. Every individual team member acts the way they think they should, daily. If some act in self serving ways, they do so because they think that’s the way they should act. Their self-serving behaviors are probably being reinforced daily – by being rewarded, by being tolerated, etc.

If some act in cooperative, aligned ways, they do so because they think that’s the way they should act. Their serving-the-team behaviors are probably being reinforced daily.

The “AM” in TEAM means that individual team members need to look at their own behaviors – their individual plans, decisions, and actions – as team members. They need to ask themselves, “How AM I behaving as a team member today?”

If individual team members answer this question honestly, they may discover “I AM protective. I don’t share information or my mistakes with team members.”

Or “I AM indirect. I don’t clarify exactly what I need from my team mates, so they frequently don’t give me what I need.”

Or “I AM clique-ish. I support my two friends on the team and withhold support from team members who aren’t my friends.”

Or “I AM critical. I frequently and loudly point out other team members’ mistakes and short-comings.”

An aligned individual team member, answering this question honestly, may discover “I AM supportive. I praise others efforts and accomplishments promptly.”

Or “I AM involved. I coordinate efforts with team members so we’re all in sync with our projects, deadlines, and customers.”

Or “I AM connected. I make it a point to learn about my colleagues outside interests – be it their kids, running, snowboarding, football, whatever – and engage with them about their interests regularly.”

Or “I AM kind. I smile when I see teammates. I say ‘Hello.’ I wish others well, regularly.”

This powerful question – “How AM I behaving as a team member today?” – can help individuals understand the degree of their cooperative interaction across their team. Once they understand how cooperative they are (or aren’t), they can shift their behaviors to be more aligned, more cooperative, more of service to their team.

Effective teams don’t happen by default, they happen by design. Leaders must engage team members to examine their behaviors to ensure everyone is productive and aligned while being treated daily with trust, respect, and dignity.

And – leaders can be proactive by crafting an organizational constitution for their team, and ensure everyone aligned their behaviors to it.

How would you answer the “AM” question? What aligned team member behaviors were demonstrated in your “best ever” team? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Kzenon – 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 © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


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

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Share this:

Is your emergency brake on?

manual brakeHave you ever driven your car with the emergency brake on?

Newer cars won’t let you drive with the “parking brake” on without beeping at you or flashing lights on the dash. Some older cars, though, will let you drive on.

It’s a humbling experience. You get in, start the car, fasten your seat belt, look both ways, then proceed to your destination down the road.

The car doesn’t respond right, though. Acceleration is slower. Braking is amazingly quick – not as you typically expect. There are funny noises – unusual ones – coming from underneath the car. If you keep driving, those squeaks get louder. There may even be smoke coming from your wheels.

This just won’t do. You have to release the brakes to get the full benefit of your car’s abilities – it’s motor, smooth and safe handling, etc.

I find a lot of organizations operate with their emergency brakes on. Teams, departments, regions – even whole companies – find themselves “driving” a “vehicle” that doesn’t respond right.

In organizations, it’s not just one brake that causes problems. It’s many brakes.

One brake might be the absence of common goals. If people compete against each other, the overall organization suffers. Individuals may meet or exceed their goals but people don’t help each other. They may withhold information. They may cheer others’ mistakes and failures.

Another might be unclear goals and strategies. If leaders don’t know the right path, they’ll stumble – so their teams will stumble. If players don’t know exactly what’s expected of them, they’ll struggle to contribute.

Another brake might be micromanagement from bosses. Leaders don’t delegate authority or responsibility to talented, engaged team members. Leaders must touch every decision, no matter how small. Team members who are fully capable of making decisions independently are not allowed to use their brains. They are pawns, awaiting the decision of leaders above them.

Distrust is another big brake in organizations. If you set me up to fail, over and over again, I’ll not trust that you have my best interests at heart. If you promise to get me that report by noon today but that deadline passes with no response from you, I’ll not trust your word in the future. If you give me that report on time but it isn’t of the quality the project demands, I’ll distrust the quality of your work moving forward.

Other possible organizational brakes are lack of respect . . . unfair practices and policies . . . favoritism . . . fear . . . and more. The list goes on and on.

All of these brakes inhibit aligned effort, employee engagement, great service experiences, and consistent results and profits.

How do you know if you’ve got any of these brakes operating? Engage with players. Observe. Ask. Don’t defend – listen and learn.

Fix the issues that are raised. Don’t ignore them – repair them.

Then, proactively create a high performing, values aligned workplace with an organizational constitution – so the brakes are never on again.

What brakes are on in your organization? How does your team stay on top of brakes – and eliminate them quickly? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © terex – 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 © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.


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

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Share this:

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.”

Share this:

The Authenticity Factor

Keep it real concept.To what degree are you genuine and authentic with your work colleagues – bosses, peers, and team members – in daily interactions?

Dictionary.com defines authentic as “not false or copied; genuine; real.”

If we ponder how our great bosses behaved with us, it is extremely likely that they were real. They demonstrated authentic care and service to us.

They interacted with no hidden agendas. There was no smoke and mirrors; there was simply honest discussion, transparent decision-making, and in-depth engagement.

Our great bosses kept their commitments, delivering on their promises. If they were unable to keep their commitments, they told us why, well in advance of the deadline. They also explained how they were trying to get back on track, as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, leaders that demonstrate authentic care are not the norm. For example, TinyHR’s 2014 engagement and culture survey found that 49% of employees are not satisfied with their direct supervisor.

In my work with clients around the globe, I hear about team member’s frustrations with their leaders all the time. These frustrations are often founded on the leader’s lack of consistent authenticity. Employees tell me, “I don’t know which boss is going to show up each day – Jekyll or Hyde.” Or “She says one thing then turns around and does the exact opposite. We see it every day.”

If leaders don’t demonstrate behavioral integrity – keeping their promises and modeling the organization’s espoused values – they erode team members’ commitment and contribution. Tony Simons’ excellent book, The Integrity Dividend, found that employee’s commitment goes up with observed behavioral integrity from their leaders. That causes employees to apply discretionary energy in service to their organization’s customers and goals.

The benefit? For one hotel chain, $250,000 annual profit growth for every 1/4 point gain on a 10 point scale!

There is another benefit to the leader’s authenticity. When leaders demonstrate authentic care, team members are much more likely to demonstrate authentic care with each other.

The coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich, is a player’s coach – team members love to play for him. He’s authentic and genuine. One way his genuineness plays out is that Popovich often devotes a portion of team meetings to the culture and history of team members.

Last June, in the midst of preparations for the championship series with the Miami Heat, Popovich opened a meeting by leading a team discussion about Mabo Day. Point guard Patty Mills – an indigenous Australian native – was surprised and honored by the coach’s actions.

Popovich believes that knowing one another’s stories off the court binds team members together on the court. “It builds camaraderie. They feel connected and engaged and do better work.”

Authenticity matters. Genuine care matters. Be real, be honest, be available, be present. Only then can you build positive relationships, serve others consistently, and inspire aligned behavior and contribution.

How did your great bosses demonstrate authentic care? How well do you know your colleagues’ history and stories? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Want hands-on guidance for boosting productivity while reducing drama at work? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This series, based on my book, The Culture Engine, meets one-morning-a-month starting in April.

Photo © creative soul – 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 these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 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.”

Share this:

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes