Topic 9 from the “Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics” series
transcript written by Wayne Brown
Hello again and welcome back to this the penultimate episode in our Basics series. Today’s topic is called “Pitching value based strategies”.
In the last couple of episodes we have started to focus more closely on our own Leadership and self awareness and we continue in this direction now.
Shortly we’ll be asking you to identify your values – it won’t be a complete value exploration, but it’s important for this topic that you start with an understanding of these inner unconscious guidelines, before looking to those company values for alignment.
After establishing this, we broaden our perspectives and explore how well we as Leaders can run our business by following both personal and company values whilst striving for constant growth and sustainable performance.
This journey will lead us through discussions on the role of diversity, inclusion and culture in our teams and the business as a whole.
In the end we must find a solution which enables us to couple our values with the need to achieve results.
Have you heard of the term “servant leadership”…?
It’s been around a long time, but has re-surfaced in recent times, as has the discussion around emotional intelligence – both subjects are very closely interwoven and very much on point with our topic today about Values Based leadership.
The traditional approach of top-down leadership, where we only focus on control and achieving targets is outdated and counterproductive, as explained by Dan Gable in his book “Alive at Work”.
As an alternative, he says that we need to look for leaders to demonstrate humility, courage and insights, which they should utilize in helping their teams to explore and grow.
Through servant leadership we emphasize the need for leaders to increase ownership, autonomy and the responsibility of the team. AND it can be as easy as starting with the question “How can I help you deliver excellence in your role?”
Sounds familiar with some of the feedback questions we highlighted way back in topic 5 doesn’t it.
Now, whilst this approach is appealing at least on the surface, does it really fit to everyone’s values base?
We’re guessing that the answer will be influenced by country and company cultures and for the largest percentage of leaders, it will require a shift in personal values, including perhaps their beliefs and perspectives and behaviors.
Identifying your values …
So, let’s begin with an exercise to identify your current values. Note that your values can and do change over time and at the very least the priority will fluctuate, based on the current environment you are situated in.
In addition, you will most likely be able to identify both positive and negative values.
- if you’re training for a marathon or trying for a baby, your value of “health” may be at the top of the list.
- But if you’re going back to school then “learning” or “curiosity” might be up top somewhere!
Your values are always moving with you. Something you loved and valued in your twenties, most likely won’t appeal in the same way in your forties and so on.
This is why we sometimes ‘outgrow’ a job, activity or role which initially suited us.
Therefore, please realize that this exercise will only provide you with your “now” values. As such, this is an exercise which you perform on a regular basis – in my case I like to review every 6 months.
Let’s start and please follow the prompts as we work through the exercise…
You will need to have pen and paper handy, and be ready to pause the recording, as we work through these 4 steps. The whole exercise will take around 30-45 mins. Are you ready….?
Step 1: Take 5 minutes and brainstorm a list of as many things as possible in answer to this question…
“What’s most important to me in life?“
- Aim for a list of at least 20 items.
- And for now, don’t worry too much about whether a word is really a “value” or not. Pause the audio now whilst you do this exercise.
For anyone interested in this whole process, we have provided below two free workbooks – one for Personal Values and the other for Career values. Please download and work through either or both of them if you want to delve deeper into this topic.
Step 2: Now look at your list and see whether you can group similar words – from each group choose the most meaningful word. Pause the audio again until you complete this step.
Step 3: Once you have completed the grouping and narrowed down your list, select the top 8 values most important to you – those ones which you feel most strongly about. Stop the audio again until you are finished.
So by now you should have your list of the top 8 values.
Step 4: Our next and final step is to put these 8 values in priority order.
And to do this we’ll use a diagram which you’re about to draw on a clean blank sheet of paper.
- The diagram will consist of 4 circles starting with the smallest circle in the centre of your page – make this circle about 25mm or 1 inch diameter.
- Draw a second larger circle, evenly spaced around the first circle. This second circle should be about 100mm or 4 inches in diameter and that will mean 35mm or 1 ½ inch clearance between the two circles.
- Same approach now with the next two larger circles – each one evenly spaced around the previous circle – with a gap of approx. 10mm or ½ inch all around the inner circle. Meaning the 3rd circle has a 10mm gap around the 2nd circle and the 4th circle with a 10mm gap around the 3rd circle.
Whew – it’s sooo much easier to demonstrate this on video!!!!
Don’t worry if the circles don’t look perfect just at the moment, you can always re-draw this later when you have more time.
- Now the final part of the diagram – dividing the circle into 8 equal sections. Start by drawing a vertical line from the top of the most outer circle through the centre of the smallest circle all the way down to the bottom of the outer circle.
- The repeat the process, but this time drawing a horizontal line that cuts through the middle of the circles. In other words, if I was talking about the hours on a clock – I would say a draw line vertically from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock and horizontally from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock.
- You should now have 4 equal quadrants. Choose the top right-hand quadrant and on the outer circle find the hallway point of the quadrant – i.e. the 1 ½ hours past the 12 o’clock position. Then draw a line from that point through the centre of the smallest circle and continue down through the middle of bottom left quadrant – or 7 ½ hours past 12 o’clock.
- Repeat the exercise for the remaining two quadrants.
OK so hopefully you now have 8 equal sections inside the 4 circles. If so then we are almost ready to start Step 4 and prioritizing your 8 values.
One final item before commencing. Make a large dot on the outer circle line at the 12 o’clock point.
- Start with the largest circle – the second inner circle and write one of your 8 top values in each of the 8 sections – the order of these values isn’t important. Pause now until you complete this part.
- Then in the smallest inner circle – state as a % (using a minimum of 0% and a highest value of 100%), the extent that you are living this value today? Whether that value relates to work or socially – how much are you experiencing and fulfilling it today. Again pause the audio whilst you do this.
So now you should have the two inner circle completed showing the 8 values in no particular order, and today’s % of fulfillment for each. And now we start to compare and prioritize those values, starting with the value in the top section to the right side of the dot (at 12 o’clock)
- Work your way clockwise around the circle, comparing each value against the other 7 values.
- That means consider Value 1 against value 2, then 1 against 3, value 1 against 4 & so on.
- As you complete each comparison and select which is the stronger and preferred value then place a 1 in the 3rd circle above that value.
- After completing one full round for the first value against all other 7 values, repeat the exercise for values 2 thru value 7 – each time the number of values you are comparing reduces by 1 – for instance you have already completed the comparison between value 1 and value 2 in the first round.
- so when you move onto value 2 comparisons you do not repeat the comparison with value 1, only the remaining 6 values.
- For value 3 only compare with the remaining 5 values.
Try not to over think the comparison in making you decision – choose your preferred value and move to the next one. Pause the audio now and complete this activity.
- You should now determine which value scored the most votes.
- Tally the votes and record the answer total in the most outer circle.
- Then rank the values from the one with highest score being the #1 priority and so on until all 8 values are ranked.
- If you have a tie between tallies on 2 or more values then decide which is the more important.
You will now have a clear picture of the priority order for your top 8 at this moment in your life or career?
- Are there any real surprises which jump out?
- How does the result look when you compare it to the % fulfillment you recorded earlier for those values.
Any that are high priority but low fulfillment, might warrant further thought or action to understand what can be addressed to change the situation.
If you are unsure of what might be done, then speaking with a Coach would be a great place to start.
As mentioned earlier, this is only a brief journey into discovering your values and if you would like to do a deeper level exploration, please go to the show notes and download those two 5 step Values workbooks.
However, for the purpose of this exercise you are now armed with the necessary knowledge to address the next portion of this Value-based leadership topic and that is to look at the alignment equation – i.e. to compare your personal or career values against those of the company.
Be aware that as you do this comparison, it’s not necessary to have an exact match – in fact this would be most unlikely as we are all individuals with our own independent thoughts and values.
Instead we are looking to see how far we are apart and whether there are any surprising similarities or conflicting values.
Most importantly therefore is whether there is anything which jumps out at you as unexpected or confronting to you. In reality, it’s more likely that the company values will compliment your own.
Understanding this process, enables you to guide your own team through a similar exercise. And whilst helping each individual get more clarity around their values, it also aids you to have a deeper level of connection with your team members, which of course is important if your looking to demonstrate empathy and become the servant leader.
During this team exercise you would also take the opportunity to explore diversity and inclusion with-in the team and company – discussing the benefits each brings to the group as a whole.
Things such as the celebration;
- that everyone is unique with their own strengths,
- that diversity and inclusive teams are more efficient, competitive and innovative whilst being drivers towards a strong value-based company culture.
At the same time highlighting that with diversity comes differences inherent to a diverse mix of people – age gender, race, culture, religious and political beliefs, etc. And therefore there is a need to acknowledge these differences and to remain respectful towards each others’ differences.
And on the other hand leveraging off this diverse and inclusive working environment often leads to innovation and creative ideas which might otherwise be missed.
Current studies with the Millennial generation in particular are highlighting that they expect and look for this awareness and behavior in the company they work for whereas the Gen X and Baby Boomers seem to have a different understanding about the meaning of diversity and inclusion.
Let’s go deeper now on the importance of value-based Leadership in the formation of company culture…
Work culture is an intangible ecosystem that makes some places great to work and other places toxic. No matter how talented and smart you are, you will work to the best of your capabilities and creative skills when you are surrounded by an encouraging environment that values human resource.
As we have highlighted in previous episodes the Leader influences this culture through their direct actions and from the structure they build for the company.
Here’s 4 outcomes of a Leadership led values-based company culture.
- 1st – it increases loyalty at your workplace – An organization whose employees have a deep sense of loyalty and ownership towards their workplace is an organization viewed favorably and with a bright future.
- 2nd it’s a key to retention – Whether the employee feels happy and satisfied in his/her work-space is another crucial determinant.
- 3rd – it prompts employees to watch each others’ back – For a new employee who enters an organization and watches a culture of cohesion among workers, where all employees help each other, will automatically embody these values in his/her daily life.
- 4th – it attracts talent – A good work culture not only helps retain organization’s human resource, it also helps attract new talent as word spreads quickly. An employee who loves his/her organization will spread the goodwill and will be instrumental in attracting good human resource to the organization.
And here’s the secret to leading the company towards success through a value-based culture – it starts with Leaders internalizing the guiding structures.
For example a leader could ;
- Take external guidelines such as following the procedures for feedback and formally conduct and dutifully record the session, versus the alternative
- A leader who implicitly and spontaneously offers genuine empathetic coaching or informal feedback to employees.
In addition, leaders need to ensure that their communications and language in general are clear, understandable and simplified so that everyone can interpret and digest accurately.
- Remember to leave the door open for unsolicited drop ins and off the cuff questions.
- Celebrate employee efforts and successes regularly and above all else remain consistent in your approach.
People need and want to feel that their structure is solid and they can rely on it week on week.
Make these actions a reality and reap the benefits of a strong culture organization.
And last but not least, the topic of performance versus values and culture. The simplest response to this query is that you need both.
- Leaders that focus purely on performance without values and culture, run the risk of triggering unacceptable behavior!
- Leaders that focus purely on values and culture without consideration towards performance, jeopardize the company’s economic future!
- Leaders need to strike a balance between performance, values and culture to create sustainable profitable success.
And so that’s a wrap on this topic “Pitching Value based strategies”. We hope you have enjoyed the exercises and discussion around what is an increasingly important topic, particularly among the younger generations in our workforce.
The final episode of the Basics series…
With that we now turn to the final episode in this Basics series – “Running with your game plan”. If you joined us from the beginning the intro episode and found the challenge of sticking with us as we have moved towards the 10th episode, congratulations.
Even better if you can truly identify with any of our discussions and found them useful, perhaps even feeling compelled to bring some of the suggested actions to reality with-in your business. If so well done!
We know if you have, that you are among a rare group of people seeking out ways to enhance your skills and become better leaders.
Be sure to stayed with us until the end as we will be offering our listeners a special take-away for episode 10 – a summarized checklist covering all 10 of the topics with a step by step approach to implementing your Leadership game plan.
This is something we have developed especially for our Mastermind participants and whilst they receive deeper insight, this will contain the same information which they receive when attending our F2F session.
So episode 10, looks at of bundling everything we’ve spoken about in a structured, practical way, that you can utilize for a hugely positive impact with your stakeholders and business alike.
We’re extremely excited about the release of this next episode and hope that you will be able to join us.
Until then, keep pushing towards excellence, stay safe and we will see you again soon. Bye for now.