Sunday, May 6, 2012

When no-one is looking

How many meetings have we been to where there is general agreement in the room to a particular direction or intent however their behavior beyond that signifies otherwise.

The standard response for leaders and organisations in developing their mission is to include a "values & behaviors" statement as part of the Corporate Strategy. Much effort is placed on this aspect to train, encourage and even mandate that members of the organisation conform to the desired behavior thinking this will achieve the desired result or communicate to stakeholders the image they want to portray.

The problem with this is that behaviors are not an input to an outcome. They are an outworking of a "belief" or what we "value". What we believe invokes our behaviour. If we believe that our work colleague is only out for themselves or if we work long hours then I will be highly regarded, then our behavior will reflect this no matter what my corporate strategy statement says. I may comply in public but my general energy will be applied differently in private.

If we expect our organisations to truly thrive and work effectively then we need to address and understand what we ourselves "believe".

CEO's and leaders often enter an organisation with a view to "stamp" their DNA on it, assuming also that the people in the organisation also need "fixing". Much energy is put into a new "Vision" and trying to change behavior because they want people "on-board" with a fresh "strategy" or "mission statement" without first exploring what people "believe" or "value". The first mistake here is that the leaders "belief" assumption is that a fresh "statement" will "fix" the problems.

I often told my teenage children you are what you think, say and behave "when no-one is looking".

What we "value" will be very evident in what we put around us. This includes what we wear, who we wear it around, what we drive and the subconscious behavior we demonstrate. Do we have people come to us or do we go to them. do we want people on our terms or do we enter their environment.
What is the last thing you would throw overboard or cling to if your life depended on it? That's what you value. Even if you would like to think otherwise.

We will often try to manufacture a behavioral facade to achieve an organisations mission. Behavior can't be manufactured however, and if you are a leader it is what you "believe" and "value" that truly will drive or block the organisation. If you want your people to "get on board" take a look at how you "behave" and what you "value" when no-one is looking". Do you really "value" your people or are you using them to drive your own mission. You may not see it, but they do and it may be the core blocker to why you struggle to get them "on-board".

Rather than driving the behaviors, focus on the core "beliefs". Your own may be skewed, so put those on the table first. Be honest with what goes on in your own head "when no-one is looking". Is it the status, the corner office, the promotion, the proof to family or a mentor that you are somebody, or the result of your own struggle?

You might find you don't need a statement or contract for everyone to adhere to because it will be a natural outcome of a healthy core belief.

How do you think, what do you say and how do you behave "when no-one is looking".

If you put those on your mission statement how would they look?
Because that's what you believe.

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