Virtuous Blending

Individual Values and the Organization

Our guest blogger, Scott Vandeventer, is Founder of Empathic Inc, an executive coaching firm and a collaborator with enLumen on leadership training projects.blending values

Every organization is strengthened or weakened to the degree a common set of values are held mutually by its participants.  Values are the rails on which an organization runs.  The same is true for individuals.

All of us are keepers of a set of values – from the infant to the eldest.  They are our own.  There’s one primary way we recognize those values in ourselves and in others:  Behaviors. Continue reading Virtuous Blending

The Challenge of Changing Culture (Pt. 2)

Why does Culture Matter?

In Part 1, I described the three levels of culture as defined by Dr. Edgar Schein.  Now let’s look at why culture is important and some tips on how you can change it.Changing Culture

A strong, healthy culture can put even a mediocre strategy on steroids.  But it can prevent even the greatest strategy from gaining any traction.  We ignore culture to our own peril or we can leverage it for great benefit. Continue reading The Challenge of Changing Culture (Pt. 2)

The Challenge of Changing Culture (Pt. 1)

I once had responsibility for a large technology project that never delivered on its objectives. We had a team of highly skilled people with a great track record of successful projects.  They used processes that had succeeded repeatedly in the past.  But we never got the traction to make this project take off.

Culture ChangeThe reason, I believe, lies in an unintentional shift that had occurred in the organization’s culture.  That change sucked the energy, passion, and motivation from this highly competent team. They had always been passionate to succeed but now they were just trying to get a job done. Continue reading The Challenge of Changing Culture (Pt. 1)

What Cultural Fit Isn’t…

Cookie-Cutter Yes-Men Need Not Apply

Cookie cutterStewarding an organization’s culture is a core responsibility of every leader. Weak culture can bury the strongest strategy and vision. But a strong culture will put even a mediocre strategy on steroids.

Culture-fit can get distorted into an unhealthy form. Unhealthy culture-fit looks something like this: Continue reading What Cultural Fit Isn’t…

Getting Good Decisions

Because You Can’t Train for Everything

Jeff had been through new employee orientation. His resume was stellar. He had completed the in-house job training with flying colors. His first nine Confusedmonths on the job showed great potential. So how could he have made such a boneheaded decision that put the organization’s reputation on the line with a major stakeholder!

What would you do to avoid a repeat of Jeff’s scenario? Continue reading Getting Good Decisions

I Don’t Want To…

But I Should…

Imagine how different life would be if every time we chose our next action we based it on what we should do instead of what we want to do. Why are we surprised when our followers choose a less important task over the most important one when our own wants often win out over the shoulds?
Continue reading I Don’t Want To…

Influence Without Authority

Leadership Without a Title

It’s easy when you’re the boss. You tell people what to do and they do it. Ok, maybe it’s not always that easy.

Authority does increase the odds that people will do what you want. But it doesn’t necessarily increase the likelihood that those doing the tasks will grow while getting the tasks done. Authority is a great management tool for driving for results. And it does have its place in the leadership toolbox. But authority can be a crutch that interferes with good leadership. Continue reading Influence Without Authority

Dangerous Mission Statements

Should You Burn Yours?

I was sitting in a CEO’s office when he excused himself to take an important call.  While he was on the phone, I read through the mission, vision, and values statements hanging on his wall.  When he hung up, I asked, “How do these documents influence what happens out there in the office every day?”

All too predictably, he rolled his eyes and chuckled.  “Not much.”

My advice to him was to do one of three things:
Continue reading Dangerous Mission Statements

First, Lead Yourself

Pre-requisite to Leading Others

Consider the following characteristics of leadership:

  • Leadership is influence. Your followers don’t need your leadership if they’re going to do what needs done without your influence. That doesn’t mean you have to hover over them to direct their every move. It means creating the culture, graffiti-Follow-me_640values, and clarity of vision and strategy so that competent people know and are inspired to do the right thing without your micromanagement.
  • The goal of influence is to change behavior. If nothing needs to change, there’s no need for influence or leadership.
  • Changing behavior requires getting someone to do what they wouldn’t naturally do or don’t want to do. Someone has said that there are only two ways to change behavior: Manipulation and inspiration. We can manipulate by threatening loss of pay, position, promotion, or status. Or we can inspire by casting a vision and helping followers be energized to see their role in bringing that vision to reality. Do you do your best work when led by manipulation or inspiration? I’m guessing inspiration. The same is true of your followers.

Continue reading First, Lead Yourself

Identifying What Matters Most

Clarifying Values

“Values” is a buzzword that risks being abused into oblivion. But despite the hype, clarity about what’s important to us is a powerful lever for making us more successful according to our own definition of success.

Whether we’re conscious of them or not, our values (organizational and personal) define our behavior. One of the reasons “values” gets a bad rap is that organizations and individuals often claim values that aren’t reflected in their actions. Don’t tell me you value honesty while describing the neat trick you found for cheating on your taxes. Continue reading Identifying What Matters Most