Tag Archives | Values

Values – espoused or desired in corporate culture

Four bad workplace behaviors you need to stop tolerating now

Boss yelling at his employees at a briefingIn the middle of a busy afternoon, two senior leaders engaged in a screaming match in the office.

They cursed and yelled at each other in full view of 30 employees.

Their behavior was disrespectful and appalling. It was uncomfortable and embarrassing to watch.

I asked the company president about the argument. He said, “I know. It happens all the time.” I asked, “Why do you tolerate that bad behavior?” He replied, “I told them to stop.”

I stated the obvious: “Telling them to stop has not caused them to stop. You’re tolerating incivility and disrespect, which erodes performance, engagement, and service.” The president knew all that. He was frustrated and didn’t know how to make his senior leaders behave.

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Bad behavior in our workplaces is all too common. Workplace civility expert Christine Porath has found that 98 percent of employees she has interviewed over the past twenty years have experienced uncivil behavior at work. In 2011, half of respondents said they were treated badly at least once a week.

You get what you tolerate. If you enable bad behavior – by ignoring it, by demanding it stop then doing nothing when it continues, by modeling bad behavior yourself at times, etc. – bad behavior occurs more frequently.

If you demand civility – ensuring everyone is treated with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction – civil behavior occurs more frequently.

Here are the “top four” bad workplace behaviors that you need to quash, right now. They are listed from the “somewhat benign” to the “most damning.”

Demeaning, Discounting, and Dismissing – The three “D’s” happen so often and so casually at work, it seems like they’re not that big of a problem. However, the three “D’s” are gateway behaviors to much worse (as we’ll see in a moment). This combination has no beneficial impact on the players, the work, or the business. The three “D’s” are always used to “prove” that the deliverer is smarter, better, more capable, etc. then the receiver. In positive workplaces, ideas can be debated loudly and assertively AND people are treated civilly and kindly, no matter what.

Lying – This one is often known as “lying, cheating, stealing.” What happens when people lie, when they take credit for others’ work, when they say they’re done but haven’t started, when they “bend the rules” to accommodate their desires? They get found out – their lie is exposed to the light of day. Lying to protect a colleague is still lying. Telling an untruth – no matter how small – erodes confidence and performance.

Tantrums – Now we’re getting to mad skills, meaning “one is highly skilled at demonstrating one’s anger!” Throwing a hissy fit is selfish and self-serving. It makes the issue all about the tantrum-thrower rather than about root cause: missed promises or lies or a lack of skills, etc. Yelling, cursing, throwing things, slamming doors – we’ve seen it all. These actions mask the underlying problem(s). If left unaddressed, everyone who works with the tantrum-thrower is forced to accommodate the brute’s whims, walking on eggshells every day.

Bullying – this is by far the most harmful of bad workplace behaviors. The Workplace Bullying Institute defines bullying as abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, and humiliating. Their 2014 study found that 27 percent of American workers have current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work. 72 percent are aware of workplace bullying. The most troublesome finding? 72 percent of employers deny, discount, rationalize or defend bullying. Bullying in any form destroys workplace trust, respect, and dignity.

These four bad behaviors ruin any chance of a positive, productive culture. Don’t tolerate them – quash them.

Which of these bad behaviors is present in your workplace? How have leaders addressed them? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © berc – Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

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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.


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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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What’s Your Organization’s Values Operating System?

Trust Concept in BusinessWhat values does your organization hold dear?

Every organization has values, just as every human has values. Some organizations have values that encourage an “I win, you lose” dynamic. Some embrace a “service to others” environment. Some emphasize “results, results, results” while others embrace a family and teamwork dynamic.

We see a wide range of values demonstrated in organizations, large and small, around the globe. Values are the foundation of an organization’s culture – for better or worse.

The challenge is that most leaders – senior executives, directors, small business owners, team leaders, regional heads, etc. – do not pay attention to the health and quality of their organization’s culture.

They’ve never been asked to do that. They may not know how. The vital metrics that leaders are typically held accountable for are performance metrics. It is rare for leaders to be held accountable for the quality of their work environment or for happy, engaged employees.

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Yet where employees are happy – treated with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction – productivity grows.

For example, Parnassus Investments’ Workplace Fund – a mutual fund that invests in large American firms with outstanding workplace cultures – outperformed the S&P Index during the recent global recession with a 10.81% return compared to the S&P’s 3.97% return!

Focusing exclusively on results or profits can be a slippery slope, as Volkswagen and Turing Pharmaceuticals discovered last year. What is fascinating is that both of these organizations have published formalized values. Volkswagen’s values specifically note “environmental protection.” Turing Pharmaceuticals’ code of conduct specifically notes “treating each other and customers and patients with the respect they deserve.”

In Volkswagen’s case, the behavior of engineers to install software to cheat on emissions testing is clearly in violation of their values. In Turing Pharmaceuticals’ case, the code of conduct document is dated January 27, 2016. I cannot find references to a code of conduct in the company previous to that date. It seems that last year’s pricing debacle prompted the creation of this code.

The absence of formalized values in an organization – or the absence of accountability for published values – can be interpreted to mean that any path – including lying, cheating, or stealing – is OK.

You don’t “assume” that everyone in your organization knows their performance standards and delivers them without any discussions, do you? Performance clarity and accountability requires formalized goals and targets, with dashboards and metrics monitored closely, every day.

You must not “assume” that everyone in your organization knows how you want them to treat other people at work, either. Values clarity and accountability requires formalized values and behaviors, with interaction quality monitored closely, every day.

To ensure citizenship is as important as performance, you need a values operating system – a VOS – in the form of an organizational constitution that is lived and demonstrated by everyone in your organization daily.

An organizational constitution is a formal statement of your company’s present day service purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals. This statement defines what contributions are needed and what citizenship is needed from every player, every day.

Most organizations have strategies and goals defined; these represent your company’s performance standards and expectations. Very few have values defined in observable, tangible, measurable terms – which is the only way you can build a values operating system in your organization.

Crafting and communicating your VOS – through your organizational constitution – is the easy part. The more complex part is aligning all plans, decisions, and actions to your VOS.

When employees are treated with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction, they’ll treat your customers like gold. They’ll proactively solve problems. They’ll demonstrate pride in their work. And – they’ll deliver performance gains of 30 percent or more.

Don’t wait. Formalize your values operating system with an organizational constitution and align behavior to it every day.

What is your organization’s values operating system like today? Does it inspire cooperative interaction and proactive problem solving or not so much? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Olivier Le Moal – Adobe Stock. 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.”

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Write It Down, then Act on It.

Closeup of writing hands in a rowI was shocked and appalled. The oft-quoted 1953 Yale Study of Goals was an urban legend. It never happened.

The mythical Yale study “proved” that people who write down their specific goals for the future are far more likely to be successful than those with unwritten goals or those with no formal goals at all.

For a rational thinker like me, that study was pure gold. It validated a systematic, formal approach to goal setting and goal accomplishment.

The only problem is that the study was never conducted. A 1996 Fast Company article completely debunked the Yale study.

And, a new day has dawned on the premise of that Yale study. Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University was intrigued enough by the concepts that she engaged in conducing the research herself.

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Dr. Matthews engaged 267 participants from around the globe in her study. Participants included a wide range of businesses, organizations, networks, ages, and backgrounds. Randomly assigned groups were given different activities for their workplace goals.

The group that performed best – 33 percent more successful in accomplishing their stated goals – did five things as part of the study. They formalized their goals in writing. They then assessed their goals on the degree of difficulty, importance, skills and resources available to accomplish the goal, their commitment and motivation, and their accountability for delivering on those goals.

Third, they drafted action commitments for each goal. Fourth, they shared their goals and action commitments with a friend. Finally, they sent that friend a weekly progress report throughout the four week study.

Dr. Matthews’ study proved that formalizing goals, creating a thorough plan for delivering on those goals, then engaging in accountability practices vastly increases goal accomplishment. The Yale study lives!

Goal accomplishment and delivering promised results (and profits, if you’re a for-profit organization) are certainly important in our businesses. Leaders are charged with inspiring team members to deliver results.

The challenge is that delivering results is exactly HALF the leader’s job.

The other half? Creating a safe, inspiring work culture. A culture that treats everyone in the organization with trust, respect, and dignity doesn’t happen by default – it only happens by design.

Just as Dr. Matthews’ study proved how to increase workplace goal accomplishment with a formal goal accountability system, my research proves how to increase workplace inspiration and respect with a formal values accountability system.

Leaders must make values as important as results. And they can’t just “tell” people to behave nicely. Without an integrated system, values don’t stand a chance up against dozens of metrics on performance dashboards throughout your business, watched by everyone weekly (or more frequently).

Just as with Dr. Matthews’ research, values accountability begins with leaders crafting a written statement of what values the company stands for and what actionable behaviors are required for people to model those values. Once values are defined in behavioral terms, leaders must model those behaviors in every interaction and invite everyone else in the organization to do the same.

My proven approach for this powerful combination of performance and values accountability is an organizational constitution. When leaders formalize their team’s present day purpose, values and behaviors, strategies and goals, then live them, coach them, and align all practices to them, amazing things happen. Engagement goes up by 40 percent. Customer service goes up by 40 percent.

And – just as you’d expect – results and profits go up by 35 percent. These gains consistently occur within 18 months of engaging in my culture refinement process.

By all means, focus on performance. And spend 50 percent of your time proactively creating values clarity and values alignment. Your team will thrive.

How well do your colleagues and teams deliver on their performance goals? Does your organization have formal values and behaviors? How do those values impact your day-to-day work environment? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © psphotography – 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.”

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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.

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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.”

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The Happiness Factor

Male Owner Of Coffee ShopIt was nearly dark when I arrived at the resort in Colorado Springs. I was there to speak with veterinarians, practice leaders, and team leads who were attending an annual leadership institute.

Since the resort was only 90 minutes from our mountain home, I could drive. No airplanes, no security lines – just driving.

When I parked to go check in, I noticed someone in the brightly lit offices in front of me. An employee – a woman – was in her office, probably wrapping up her day.

She was having a fine time – dancing boldly through her office. Dancing! She probably didn’t realize that the office lighting meant her moves were clear for anyone outside to observe. And, she acted like she didn’t care if others could see in.

She was grinning from ear to ear. I couldn’t hear any music but she was bouncing to the rhythm of whatever she heard! She’d pick up a file and dance across the office to the cabinet where she stored the file. Then she’d dance back.

I watched for a couple of minutes. It put a smile on my face. “There,” I thought, “is someone who really loves their job.”

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Happy employees generate great returns for your business. Yet many work environments are dull and frustrating for employees. Many work environments are so competitive that they are cut-throat. Employee engagement suffers.

Trust suffers! A 2014 Interaction Associates study found that only 40 percent of employees trust their leaders.

How can you gauge the health or quality of your work culture? Observe how leaders and employees interact with each other for a few days.

If employees in your company gossip . . . bend the rules to benefit themselves . . . withhold information that could help others . . . or worse, most employees are not going to be happy.

If leaders in your company discount or demean others or others’ ideas . . . spend more time and energy finding fault then praising effort . . . don’t delegate authority and responsibility to talented, engaged employees . . . or worse, most employees are not going to be happy.

When employees are happy, productivity goes up. A 2014 study by the University of Warwick found that happy employees outproduce unhappy employees by 12 percent.

When employees are happy, customer service goes up. Clients who implement my proven culture framework see customer service rankings rise by 40 percent.

When employees are happy, my clients have seen results and profits improve by 35 percent.

Some organizations really get employee happiness. The see employee happiness as the first step in creating a vibrant, successful, sustainable company. They align practices to ensure great performance by happy employees.

One of those companies – Madwire in Loveland, CO – was recognized by GlassDoor as the best small & medium company to work for in 2016 – as rated by employees. Madwire’s employees rate the company at a 4.9 on a 5.0 scale. 100 percent of employees would recommend the company to their friends, and 100 percent approve of the co-CEOs.

Employee happiness is within reach. It demands that leaders be intentional about the health and quality of their team or company’s work environment.

By observing how leaders and employees interact, you’ll see gaps. You’ll see that your culture doesn’t treat players consistently with trust, dignity, and respect.

How can you refine your team or business’ culture? By crafting an organizational constitution and holding everyone – including yourself – accountable to living those agreements, every day.

Do you dance at work? Do your leaders and team members enjoy work so much that their smiles shine brighter than the sun? Or are employees happiest when they’re leaving work – to go serve their passions? 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 © 2005-2016 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.”

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