When I arrived on Peaks Island, Maine last spring and went to Hannigan's grocery store [a glorified 7-11, I thought, in my Portland, Oregon foodie snobbery], I laughed aloud at the tagline on their truck:
I snorted to myself, "I beg to differ."
But last week, when the wind chill of 17º below, I was setting out to go to my knitting meet-up and grocery shop in town. I walked half a block and decided to go to Hannigan's instead-- then back home where I had heat and a good book.
When I saw that tagline on the truck outside the market, I said to myself . . . "Damn straight."
Our perspective can change a situation in a freezing rain flash.
And that perspective is everything. You can change a situation just by how you look at it, your interpretation or opinion.
Alas, it's hard to look at things differently if we're just listening to our thoughts in our own head.
I've noticed when clients reach out for help, they often wait too long before they do so. I ran that idea by a couple consulting clients this week, and they had seen the same thing in their industry. We tend to be so independent, thinking "I can solve this!' If people had reached out sooner, they would have created a new approach to a situation that they hadn't thought of before. They might not have become quite as frustrated for as long or the situation might not have become worse. Progress would be faster.
If you find yourself trying to change a situation but getting frustrated instead, please schedule some time here. We often need an outside perspective to approach a situation in a new way, creating different results.
Walking to the ferry this morning, the man who owns the nursery on the island said "Hi, Kerry." I replied, "Wow, you're good at names!" He said, "I try."
Coach that I am I think..."He doesn't just try. He does it!"
After a conversation with a client last week when she said she was "trying" to do something that she actually was doing, she sent this picture:
We often create our experience with our language and what we say, but we don't notice what we're saying. We might say "It's going to be a rough week" and voila -- we create it! Our language is more powerful than we realize. It's worth being aware of what we are saying both to ourselves in our heads and aloud to others.
I saw a weather forecast for Maine that called for "thumping snow" last Sunday. I'm glad I was able to do more than try to shovel!
We looked at integrity as the First Secret Ingredient for an Innovative Company Culture. If you're engaged in an active practice of looking to see how your actions line up with your commitments, you're on the right track!
But how does that create an innovative culture?
One book I read had some great examples:
When we say our people matter but we don’t actually care for them, it can shatter trust and create a culture of paranoia, cynicism, and self-interest."
It's hard to be innovative when we're in that kind of culture! In one example from the book, Bob Chapman was walking by a locked inventory cage which he did daily so it was invisible to him. Because the company had a principle about trusting their employees, he thought "How is this locked inventory cage consistent with our value of trusting our employees?" [That is often the case with inconsistencies with our values. They're so accepted and normal to us; we're not looking at our environment with fresh eyes. But he saw it that day in a new light by looking from the company values].
He had the inventory cage unlocked on the spot.
That's integrity and being in an inquiry about your values. It's continually asking yourself, "Where are we in integrity and where are we off track?' It is also a powerful communication to others in the organization demonstrating you're serious about your mission and values, and you'll make the hard decisions to get aligned even when it's inconvenient.
We all know that actions speak louder than words. This is how you give your mission and values power to impact people's engagement and actions in your organization.
If you'd like to learn to have your company mission live in your organization, please schedule some time here. Your mission and values are critical to your business success, talent retention, employee satisfaction and customer retention. You can leverage them to create breakthrough innovation in your company.
At the bottom of an email or in a framed statement on a conference room wall, companies often have their mission statement and values. Such statements might read:
Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, or moral uprightness. It is a personal choice to hold one's self to consistent standards. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrity]
I think the second part of this definition is the most critical: It is a personal choice to hold one's self to consistent standards. And taking it a step further -- Do our actions line up with our commitments or what we profess our commitments to be?
Integrity is often related to as a moral principle i.e. you're good if you have integrity and bad if you don't. Or you're right if you do what you say you'll do, and wrong or bad if you don't. But human beings are imperfect by nature. No one has 100% integrity all the time. It's just not possible.
So how do we have our professed mission and values mean anything or how do we have them be a living conversation in the organization?
First of all, it is important that they are in writing.
Once you've written them, this is where you want to look:
How do our actions, practices and behaviors line up with these principles?
This needs to be a daily practice and not an after-thought once you've finished your to-do list.
Some suggestions how to approach this:
Pick one principle a week with your staff and bring examples of where you fulfilled on that and where you fell short. [Remember that doesn't mean you're good if you fulfilled on it and a bad person if you didn't]. You just want examples. You want everyone looking for examples, consistencies and inconsistencies. This has the principle begin to be real and come alive in the organization. It starts to be a principle that shapes action vs. a static, pat phrase. But that only happens with a dialogue about it, an on-going dialogue. Tell one on yourself as a leader. Give an example of where your actions are inconsistent with your principles. That creates safety and vulnerability for everyone else to do the same. It demonstrates that you're human, too. It validates that we're all learning to be better people and employees together.
If you'd like to learn how to better have your company mission live across all parts of your organization, please schedule some time here. Your mission, principles and values are critical to your business success, talent hiring and retention, employee satisfaction and customer fulfillment. If you can learn to leverage them and have them live in your organization, the results will surprise you [in a good way!]
To your success and fulfillment,