Why Your Company Values Might Not Matter

Company Values Blocked

Why are so few companies values-driven? Even when they start down that path, why do they wind up dead-ended?

A 2012 study shows “employees want their organizations to display honesty and integrity in business activities,” and “when leaders behave consistently with the core values, they earn employees’ trust and confidence.”

More so, it makes good business sense – research shows high-trust companies significantly outperform those that aren’t in the marketplace.

So why do so many companies fail in their effort? Here’s a true story and the 5 common errors they made that will derail any effort, including yours.

A True and Typical Story

This is a true story, but the name has been withheld to protect… well, frankly, me. It is an organization I am . . . → Read More: Why Your Company Values Might Not Matter

4 Steps Toward Collaborative Leadership

Ferguson Protest

If you are tired of “us vs. them” attitudes… if you are feeling frustrated or hopeless about those who don’t agree with your views… if you are concerned about the polarization in this world today… if you are waiting for leadership that unites instead of divides…

… the best place to start is by taking responsibility for yourself.

Polarization is Self-Reinforcing

If you only talk with people who agree with you and only read and listen to news sources that hold your own viewpoint, you will get distorted, filtered information that simply reinforces your viewpoint.

Unless we let go of foregone conclusions, only looking for proof of what we already believe, we are doomed to be stuck at deeply opposing, unresolvable poles.

Set your viewpoint . . . → Read More: 4 Steps Toward Collaborative Leadership

The Two Faces of Leadership

Two Faces of Leadership

There are two faces of leadership.

One face looks forward – because leadership is about going somewhere.

That face of leadership focuses on questions like:

1. Where are we going?

2. Why? What is the purpose?

3. How will we get there? What are our key strategies?

4. What will guide our journey? What values will guide behavior and decision-making?

The other face of leadership looks back at who’s following – at building organizational capacity and ensuring people have what they need to move forward easily.

That face of leadership focuses on questions like:

1. What skills do people need and how can we support development?

2. What resources do people need? (e.g. . . . → Read More: The Two Faces of Leadership

Let Go of Control But Keep Responsibility

Connection and Reflection

 

Last week I had the honor and pleasure of co-chairing the Berrett-Koehler Authors Cooperative annual retreat, attended by over 70 people – ranging in age from 25 to 83, and enriched with authors from Slovenia, Singapore and Australia.

Each year I look forward to this retreat where I gather with fellow authors and community members to exchange ideas, connect around issues, and deepen friendships.

Although we focus on many different topics and approaches, we are joined by a shared commitment to the mission of Berrett-Koehler Publishers – to create a world that works for all.

I had assumed I would be working instead of participating in this year’s retreat. Although I frequently design and facilitate these kinds of large-group, interactive meetings, there’s more . . . → Read More: Let Go of Control But Keep Responsibility

5 Questions That Will Help You Be a Better Leader

Iceberg

Do you think you’re an effective leader? Feedback is one good way to find out, especially through “360 feedback.”

But there’s another, equally powerful way. Take a serious look at your beliefs – your “assumed truths” about yourself, others and how the world works.

Your beliefs dictate your behavior. And unexamined beliefs are like icebergs. Unseen below the surface, they can undermine your good intentions without your awareness.

Instead of believing everything you think, think about what you really believe.

Taking some time to reflect on these questions will help uncover some assumptions that might be interfering with your ability to align your behavior with your intentions to be a better leader.

1. What are you are willing to take a stand for?

When . . . → Read More: 5 Questions That Will Help You Be a Better Leader

3 Tips to Quickly Onboard New Employees

Onboarding fail

Mark was upbeat at the end of his first day at his new job as a programmer for a small tech company. He was shown around, introduced to his coworkers, and given a desk and a computer. He had spent most of the day alone and settling in, which was fine with him.

A few days later, he wasn’t so upbeat. He had been given an interesting assignment, but he wasn’t sure how it fit with the overall project, and he wasn’t sure how to do some of the work. He was concerned about asking too many questions because he wanted to look like he knew what he was doing.

By the end of the week, Mark was seriously wondering whether he had taken the . . . → Read More: 3 Tips to Quickly Onboard New Employees

Mindfulness in the Workplace Is More than Meditation

Be Curious

In a recent Huffington Post article, Ford Motor Company chairman Bill Ford and former Google.org director Larry Brilliant are described as “business leaders who advocate mindfulness.” The article then goes on to list ten executives who meditate regularly. It’s easy to assume mindfulness and meditation are the same. No wonder there’s confusion.

With the increased interest in mindfulness in the workplace, many companies now offer classes in yoga, meditation, and stress reduction, and endorse activities such as spending 5 minutes each day doing nothing and taking time out for reflective reading.

These are all excellent activities, but they will not automatically create mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a way of being, not an activity.

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present with the experience of . . . → Read More: Mindfulness in the Workplace Is More than Meditation

Could You Be Off Course Without Knowing It?

Unaware off course

You’re clear about where you want to go. You made your plans. You’ve started on your journey.

Maybe you landed your dream job, or found your soulmate, or have a vision for how you can make a difference in the world.

So now, you simply need to focus on execution – on implementing your plans. Right?

Wrong!

Sadly, it’s not uncommon that at some point in the future, you might take stock and wonder how you ended up where you are.

Why does that happen? How is it possible to be off course without knowing it?

1. A huge, sudden external shift.

A sudden change in your world can derail you, not just temporarily, but for long after the crisis is over.

Anthony had just . . . → Read More: Could You Be Off Course Without Knowing It?

The Art of Hosting Meaningful Meetings

Another Unproductive Meeting

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone thanked you at the end of the meeting and told you how glad they were to have been there?

How likely is that to happen?

A recent study found that for the second year in a row, workers reported meetings as “the biggest distraction and waste of time presented by the workplace.”

Did you know that time spent in meetings has skyrocketed? Harvard Business Review reports leaders spend more than two days a week in meetings, an amount that has increased every year since 2008.

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Kevin Eikenberry for his “Remarkable Leadership Online Seminar” about how to host productive meetings. We had a lively conversation which you can listen to . . . → Read More: The Art of Hosting Meaningful Meetings