Tag Archives | Values

Values – espoused or desired in corporate culture

Surround Yourself with Values-Aligned Compadres

belayer with the rope and carabinesWho you hang out with has a great influence on you.

If you hang out with bigoted people, you will likely embrace bigoted ideals. If you hang out with dishonest people, you will likely embrace dishonesty. If you hang out with people who are kind, who treat others with respect, who embrace serving others, who keep their promises, you will likely embrace those traits.

When I was growing up, my parents were very particular about who I hung out with. On our street in the suburbs of Long Beach, CA, in the ’60’s, there were more than 50 kids my age. It was very easy for my parents and our neighbors to observe what we were doing and with whom. We all played on the street, within full view of a network of stay-at-home moms.

I got most of my redirection from my folks at the dinner table each evening. “I like that you’re playing with Tim; he’s a nice boy.” “I don’t want you playing with Larry. He’s a bully.” “Carol is mean. Stay away from her.”

When I went off to college, my parents voices’ were in my head. I observed how my fellow students treated others. If they were mean, I kept my distance. If they were selfish, I chose to spend time elsewhere. If they were pleasant, fun, and kind, I hung out with them. If Linda kept her promises, that deepened my respect for her.

Warren Buffet was asked years about about what he looks for in people. He replied, “Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” Buffet applies the same three criteria to leaders of companies he’s considering for investment.

If you are rock climbing or on a high ropes course, you’ll have someone “on belay.” They’ll loop your climbing rope securely through the belay device on their harness. They’ll control the slack so if you fall, you won’t fall far! You want your belay partner to be values-aligned – to care for you and your safety, to pay attention every second, and to be skilled in managing the rope, supporting your success.

Before you can examine the values of those around you, you must clarify your own purpose and values. You must formalize your personal constitution. It will include your present day purpose, your reason for being on this planet. It will include your values, how you define each value, and a list of 3-4 behaviors that are measurable indications of how you’ll live your values. Finally, it will include your leadership philosophy – how you choose to effectively influence others around you to contribute and serve their families, communities, and workplaces.

With those vital elements clear, you can easily assess the degree of alignment you have with your friends and colleagues. Values alignment boils down to integrity. If you see players who don’t model integrity, insulate yourself from them, as much as possible. Choose to engage often with players who demonstrate integrity, intelligence, and energy for life, daily.

By surrounding yourself with values-aligned compadres and comadres, you build a supportive team that can help you keep on track with your best self, every day.

How values-aligned are your friends and colleagues? How did key adults in your life direct you to values-aligned players? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © vitaliymateha – 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 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.”

What’s Your Story?

Young Black Man with Digital Tablet in a CafeIn the midst of our hectic lives, who are we being? It is easy to get caught up in the frantic pace we see around us or that our work places reinforce – and not be our best selves every minute.

We have a lot of stuff on our plates. We have many items on our to-do lists. We want to keep our commitments. That’s good – but I suggest that we’re not contributing like we can. We’re not serving like we can.

Frantic activity alone may not be the best way to spend our time on this earth!

We must be more intentional about who we are, about how we’re acting, about how we’re treating others, and about “to what end” we’re toiling.

And, if we are not clear about these important things, we will be used by people who are.

We need to understand our unique purpose on this planet, the values that guide us, and our unique talents. We need to understand our story. Only then are we able to clarify whether our plans, decisions, and actions are aligned with our best selves.

My story is grounded upon character and values. From my family, I learned the importance of honesty, keeping commitments, serving others, and bettering yourself. In high school I learned that pride can get in the way of integrity. In my first job at our local YMCA, I learned about values clarification, teamwork, and follow through.

In college I learned that people can proclaim many beliefs but how they treat others reveals their true selves. I found synergy and success when working with people who challenged me, shared my values, and laughed a lot.

In my early career I learned that leadership is a verb! My best bosses were proactive with us, defining exactly what was expected of us performance-wise and citizenship-wise. My less effective bosses focused only on performance, which encouraged “I win, you lose” behaviors from colleagues. Those actions inhibited teamwork, service, and overall performance.

My best bosses taught me about the tremendous importance of a values-aligned culture. It drives top performance, top engagement, and top service. Culture is a passion, and I’m inspired to help leaders craft effective cultures every day.

What’s your story? What life principles came clear to you while growing up, while in school, while in your first jobs? How did interactions with your parents, teachers, coaches, friends, colleagues, and bosses influence your beliefs?

Take time away from frantic activity, away from social media, away from your connected devices, to reflect on these questions – and write out your insights. Those insights will help you formalize your life purpose, your values and behaviors, and your life philosophy. Once those critical elements are clear, you can easily see which of your activities and behaviors are aligned and which are not.

Spend more time in aligned activities and less time in mis-aligned ones. The changes you make will help you know and act from your best self in every interaction.

That’s a story that’s worth living.

How clear is your team or company’s present day purpose? Do team members understand your strategies and goals well enough to articulate them to others? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © william87 – 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 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.”

Everybody Knows Your Name

Group Of Friends Having Outdoor Barbeque At HomeHow well do your employees – team members in your organization – know each other? If you want a work environment that values positive relationships as well as top performance, this is an important question to consider.

Years ago I studied the W.L. Gore company. Their unique culture, based on a holacracy (no bosses), has served that company well since it’s founding over 50 years ago.

In discussions with key Gore leaders, I learned about another practice they embrace to this day. Their functional teams and plants are no larger than 300 people. Why? “When those units get too large, nobody knows your name,” one VP explained. “In smaller units, people feel more involved and connected.”

In a 2010 interview with Gary Hamel, Gore CEO Terri Kelly says that in big business units or plants, “the sense of ownership, the involvement in decision-making, the feeling that I can make an impact starts to get diluted.”

Tom Peters tells the story of a company that was facing a complicated project with aggressive deadlines. The company had brought in experts from other organizations from around the globe. The project team was really struggling to get clear on how they’d work together, on how they’d blend their various skills to deliver this project on time, under budget, and with a minimum of drama. Tom says, “They discovered a remarkable tool to get people to cooperate. The tool? A BBQ!”

Peters describes how this classic casual meal together helped team members learn about their project team peers away from the demands and pressures of the project. They learned about each others’ passions, hobbies, and stories. The BBQ’s worked so well, they held them each week. These BBQ’s became this team’s “community foundation.” Relationships improved. Cooperation improved. Solutions were arrived at and implemented.

Later, after the project was delivered to rave reviews, the company credited the team’s success to those BBQ’s.

My son Andy experienced the power of casual social gatherings recently. He’s a huge board game fan. He found peers at his job (in a big box home improvement store) who were also board game fans – so, he invited six people over for an evening of board games.

They had a ball. He said everyone “knew” each other from work but they hadn’t spent any time connecting or visiting beyond work responsibilities. They loved the games and truly enjoyed their new friends. Some had worked at the store for years and had never made these connections.

How can leaders of teams create a common bond among team members? I don’t think its mandatory that all team members are best buddies, but there is no question that common goals and shared values boost productivity, engagement, and service. Here’s proof.

No matter how large their organization, leaders can boost connection and cooperation by intentionally building community. Whether its BBQ’s or other activities together, such events help people know each other beyond their work roles. Those bonds can help accelerate cooperative interaction, innovative solutions, and meaningful contributions together.

What do you have to lose?

How did your best bosses create common goals and shared values? In what ways does your current team connect beyond work roles – and how does it help work get done? 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 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.”

An Aligned Culture Creates Amazing Memories

1980 - Edmonds Family at Lost Valley Ranch

1980 – Edmonds Family at Lost Valley Ranch

What is your dream vacation? Is it world travel, exploring countries, people, and places you’ve only read about? Is it visiting our vibrant metropolitan cities, seeing great performances in great venues?

My “vacation” mindset comes from my non-profit executive career. I spent fifteen years taking kids to residence camps and travel camps. We traveled in school buses, vans, and – in the old days – cattle trucks.

Some of those kids had never been out of their own cities. We created teams to set up campsites, cook, serve, and clean up after each other. Many had never worked on an effective team before.

We challenged every camper to serve their families, friends, and neighbors in the years to come.

We awoke in some of the most beautiful places in the country – national parks, pristine beaches, rustic plains. We were coaching character while learning about our nation. It was gratifying work. For these kids and even for our adult volunteers, our trips were fabulous vacations.

I thought I knew a lot about creating inspiring experiences, but nothing prepared me for our family vacation in 1980 at the Lost Valley Ranch in Deckers, CO.

My dad called my brother and me to propose a family reunion at this dude ranch. Some of his business colleagues had raved about Lost Valley, so dad thought it’d be a great experience for everyone. The trip was mom and dad’s gift to us – and it’s a gift that continues today.

From the moment we arrived on the ranch property, everything the staff team did was focused on creating a relaxing and fulfilling experience for every guest. There were organized activities as well as a multitude of selections to suit one’s unique needs.

First, you went to the corral. The wranglers interviewed you about your horse sense and riding experience, and paired you with a suitable equine companion. Adults could choose from a variety of rides each day, some less strenuous, some more adventurous, guided by gracious and skilled wranglers.

Teens loved their full program of riding and even some “working ranch” activities, like moving the cattle from one grazing range to another. Younger children enjoyed activities that kept them engaged and entertained through the day.

Meals were delicious and served family style. Families typically ate breakfast and dinner together while lunches were served on the trail with your ride groups.

Evening programs featured the staff presenting a classic melodrama show or sing-alongs by the campfire. Staff members juggled multiple responsibilities – wranglers served time as cooks, wait staff sang and played each night as well as helped with trail rides during the day. Maintenance crew served as pool lifeguards.

There was nothing out of place, from the western cabins to the organized corral to the schedule of activities one could pick from. Every staff member was pleasant and focused on your needs. No question went unanswered. Every interaction validated your unique needs and opportunities.

It was an amazing time. The Lost Valley culture created a seamless vacation experience for us and our fellow guests. Mom and Dad brought us back two more times, in ’82 and ’84. It caused my family to fall in love with Colorado. Daughter Karin (on the right at sixteen years of age in the photo above) chose to go to college in Colorado. She married a local. Son Andy moved to Colorado a few years later and married a local.

We still talk about the great times we had at Lost Valley. Today, our home in Conifer, CO, is only 24 miles from the ranch.

Your team’s interactions with customers leave lasting impressions, as well. Are they as powerfully positive as those we experienced at Lost Valley – or not so much? How might you build an aligned team that consistently WOW’s your customers?

Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © S. Chris Edmonds Photography. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 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.”

Demand Ethical Behavior

crowded football stadiumThis week the world of football (soccer in the US) was shocked by the US Department of Justice indictment of 14 defendants for alleged FIFA kickbacks of more than $150 million over the past twenty years.

What was more shocking to me was the response of the FIFA president, up for re-election within hours, who said, “We cannot constantly supervise everyone in football . . . you cannot ask everyone to behave ethically.”

What an amazing admission by Sepp Blatter (who won re-election, despite the “distraction” of the arrests). Blatter believes he is not responsible – nor is any leader – if someone in their employ breaks the law (or bribes officials or launders money, etc.).

This is not just a FIFA leadership problem. Many company, region, department, and team leaders around the globe believe the same thing: “Leaders cannot ask their people to behave ethically. I am not responsible for whether my leaders or team members behave in an ethical manner.”

These issues are prevalent across the globe. For example, the CFO of the Phoenix VA hospital testified last June that the hospital environment was toxic, the “most dysfunctional place I’ve ever worked in my life.” She reported she was subject to sexual harassment, racial slurs, and bogus investigations during her two years there.

Phoenix VA administrators didn’t just focus on harassment of the CFO. They were apparently preoccupied with accusing and investigating one another for years – all while veterans awaited care in a system of backlogged appointments and fabricated wait-time reporting.

Here’s another example. In Denver, a former sheriff’s department investigator reported that he was told by his captain to avoid logging into evidence a videotape of inmate mistreatment that occurred last month. If the tape wasn’t logged into the evidence system, the incident would not be investigated further. The department has suffered systemic problems including poor training of officers and mistreatment of inmates for years.

The reality is that leaders are, indeed, responsible for the creation of productive workplaces that treat everyone with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction.

Where leaders create clear performance expectations and hold people accountable for those, results and profits steadily grow. Where leaders create clear values expectations – like integrity, honesty, cooperative interaction, etc. – and hold people accountable for those, employee engagement and customer service steadily grow.

Where leaders do not create clear expectations of performance and of citizenship, a void is created. In the absence of leadership, we humans will fail. We are flawed beings. We make mistakes. We are tempted to take advantage of systems and circumstances. Most of us resist those temptations; some don’t.

Leaders can absolutely ask – yes, even demand – that everyone behave ethically. By formalizing performance standards and values expectations, the ground rules are clearly set. The hard work comes after these expectations are formalized. Leaders must then model the performance and values in every interaction, showing they are champions of their desired culture. And, they must hold others accountable for both performance and values.

They do that by gathering performance data, feeding it back, and coaching players to success. They do that by gathering values data – inviting feedback from peers, employees, and customers to assess the degree to which players are modeling desired values and behaviors – and feeding it back, and coaching players to desired citizenship.

It’s not easy, but it is the right thing to do.

What do you think? Is ethical behavior demanded in your organization? How did your great bosses demand integrity and honesty? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Csaba Peterdi – 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 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.”

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes