Five actions for living your organisation’s values

One of the most significant challenges that staff struggle with is how to “live” their organisation’s values and behaviours. People often say to me, “I’m sick of ‘hearing’ about the values. No one does anything about them.” I then ask, “Do you believe in the values and behaviours yourself?

A typical response begins with, “Yeah, but…”.

This pattern indicates that the real challenge that staff face is that they don’t know ‘how’ to have conversations about the values with their peers and managers. This article will share five actions of which you can use one or more to increase your contribution to your organisation’s values in a positive, constructive manner.

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What are you not saying to your boss?

One of my executive coaching clients is extremely successful. He regularly receives six-figure bonuses and is constantly approached by head-hunters.Gary Ryan

Earlier this year he was flat. He was frustrated with his boss. Despite his success, he wasn’t sure if his boss had his back or understood what frustrated him.

“Have you told him?” I asked.

“No, not really.” he replied.

“Why not?” I implored.

He had a lot of reasons. The biggest one was that he didn’t want his boss to see him as being paranoid. As we explored this issue, he shared that his frustrations were affecting him at home, and he had been less motivated than usual about his exercise and health program. This issue was affecting his entire life.

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How to lead a growing team

You know how it works. You are good at what you do, so more people keep being ‘given’ to you to lead. Not only that, but you are relocated to corporate headquarters and most of the people you lead aren’t co-located with you anymore. You have more meetings than ever to attend, yet you genuinely care for the people you lead but don’t have anywhere near the time you used to to lead them.

What do you do?

This dynamic is very common for the people I coach. Flatter organisations means higher spans of control, which means more direct reports to lead. Below are three tips for leading a growing team that isn’t co-located.

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Focus is what matters

Motorcycle riding is a great hobby of mine. Whilst, undoubtedly, it is a dangerous past time, there is an important secret to safe and effective motorcycle riding: focus on where you are going. One of the first principles taught by instructors is that motorcycles ‘go’ wherever the rider is looking.

This, however, does not mean that everything else should be ignored. Rather, as much as is plausibly possible, it is paramount for a motorcyclist to be as aware as possible of all their surroundings. If a bus is approaching quickly on your left – you must know that. If a car is recklessly changing lanes behind you – you must see that. If a parked car is just about to leave the kerb – you must be prepared for that.

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Lessons about mateship from a 7yo

This Sunday it is Father’s Day. When collecting my two youngest sons from school yesterday, my seven-year-old son, affectionately known as ‘D-Man’, was covering a paper bag with a drawing he had just completed in class.

“Dad, you can’t see what’s inside the bag because it has the presents I bought for you from the Father’s Day Stall.”

 “Okay, don’t worry I promise I won’t look.” I said.

He then went on to say, “Dad, when we get home, can you give me ten dollars?

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Workplace safety starts at home

My eldest son is 17 and is eagerly searching for his first car. We have two parameters for his search. The first is his car must have a 5 Star ANCAP Rating, and the second is our budget.

Prior to facilitating a Safety Conference for Programmed with my good friend Jock Macneish in 2011, I would have shared different criteria with you regarding a first car for my son. He was only 11yo at the time so my criteria were somewhat premature, but a story shared by Programmed’s Managing Director Chris Sutherland changed my mindset.

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Do you have any Gloria’s working with you?

When working for Commercial Services at Monash University which had 750 staff over 28 sites providing a wide range of services for the students and staff of Monash University’s nine campuses, the CEO asked me to lead a recognition and reward project called Project Grateful.

He was a fan of Disney and had previously attended the Disney Institute’s leadership programs.

He handed me a ‘Star Card’, a card the size of a business card that read, “You’re a Star!” on one side, and had room for an employee to identify a colleague and create a short hand written note to either thank them or congratulate them for doing something useful, on the other side of the card.

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Five questions for your team

Gary RyanWhen working with my clients I am constantly asked, “How do I make sure that my team is focused and doing the right things?

If you want your team to be fully engaged and successful, below are five questions that you ought to consider. It is best if your team are included in the conversation to answer the questions.
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Why Mental Models Matter

Your mental models are your theories about how the world works. They come from your life’s experiences, your education, your family, your cultural background, your work experience, your religion (or no religion if you don’t have one). For most people, your mental models are sub-conscious – they affect how you behave but you aren’t aware of the impact that they have.

For example, if you had a mental model that as a manager you should have all the appropriate knowledge of someone in that role to justify your title and the money you are earning, and a staff member asks you a question to which you do not know the answer, then you are at risk of responding with a lie. You will simply make up an answer that will re-enforce your view of yourself as a competent manager.

This short video explains this concept in more detail.

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The characteristics of a high quality conversation

It is worth reading Quality Workplace Conversations Matter as an introduction to this post.

Providing conversations have a purpose and stay focussed on that purpose, below are five characteristics of high quality workplace conversations.

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