Your Personal Code of Conduct – People Hear What They See Not What You Say

The first course I ever taught at a local business college was an ethics course developed by one of my hero’s, Professor Ron Knowles, for first year business students in their SME program. (Small, Medium, Enterprises) One of the neat things about the course was that I got to work with these students to help them develop their own personal code of conduct – their own ethical decision-making model that they’d use when confronted with an ethical dilemma. (An ethical dilemma is when you are forced to make a decision where there is no clear right or wrong answer) When you are confronted with making this kind of decision what series of questions do you ask yourself to help you make a decision that you can live with?

“It is better to be defeated on principle, then to win on lies” – Arthur Caldwell

Ethics is best described as a set of moral principles or values that defines what is considered right and wrong behaviour for a person or group. Some people suggest that there is a difference between business and personal ethics. But, to my way of thinking there is just one. You’re either ethical or you’re not. You either believe in being honest – to act with integrity – to be guided by a strong sense of values – or not. How can you behave one way at work and then behave a different way at home and still be true to yourself?

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is what others think you are”. – Dale Carnegie

What do you hold to be true? What are your enduring principles? What are you not willing to compromise – no matter what the situation? What is and what isn’t for sale – no matter the price? What series of questions will you ask yourself to solve your ethical dilemmas? Just because society as a whole has accepted it as the norm – doesn’t mean you have to go along with it. Ethics is a process. It is a continuous effort of studying our own beliefs and conduct and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help shape, live up to standards that are solidly based.

“Before the issue of integrity can even be raised we need principles of behaviour – moral convictions about what is and is not appropriate – judgements about right and wrong action. If we do not yet hold standards, we are on too low a developmental rung even to be accused of hypocrisy.” – Dr. Nathaniel Branden

If you were to sit down and write your personal code of conduct, what kinds of things would you include on that list? What things do you hold to be true and you aren’t willing to compromise them no matter the situation – no matter the consequences? Something to think about. Always keep in mind that people hear what they see – not what you say. You gotta walk the walk if you are going to do the talk. 🙂

People Won’t Trust Anyone They Don’t Respect First – Building Relationships That Last

Have you ever met someone for the very first time and thought, “Oh, yuck – What a dink”? (And I don’t mean Double Income No Kids) You didn’t know why – you just knew that there was something about them that you didn’t like. But, after you spent some time with them – and got to know them better – did you ever change your mind? Building relationships and establishing trust with the people you work with is crucial to your overall success as a manager. Once you lose the trust and confidence of your people – you lose your ability to manage and lead them.

“We cannot hide behind our boundaries, or hold onto the belief that we can survive alone” – Meg Wheatley

Trust and respect do not come automatically just because you’ve been given the title of manager. You must earn both, one person at a time. (And remember once you gain your team’s trust and respect, you can just as easily lose both.) Establishing trust between you and the people you work with and interact with – is a 3-step process that I refer to as the 3’R’s – Rapport, Relationships and Respect. It’s a process that everyone must go through when they meet someone for the very first time. Some people will go through this process quicker then others, but it’s a journey we all must take.

“In organizations where people trust and believe in each other, they don’t get into regulating and coercing behaviours. They don’t need a policy for every mistake … people in these trusting environments respond with enormous commitment and creativity.” – Walter Wriston

The 3-R’s – Building Relationships That Last

Step One: Rapport; The first step is to build rapport. Find out something about the person other than the work they do. Do they have hobbies? Are they married? Do they have children? What do they like to do in their spare time? Do they like to fish, play golf, ride horses or walk their dog? You need to be able to carry on a conversation them on a subject that they’d enjoy talking about. Idle chit-chat is important if you want to build rapport. No one can have a relationship with anyone unless they have established rapport first.

Step Two: Relationship; Successful managers and leaders understand the value of building relationships with the people they work with and interact with. They understand that people choose to do business with and follow people they like. If you have built your relationships with them on a solid foundation, then your team will want to perform well for you. No one wants to let a “friend” down. The third step, respect, will evolve over time as a result of those relationships. But remember, no one will respect anyone that they haven’t established a relationship with first.

Step Three: The third step to building trust is respect. How often have you heard someone say, “Well, I don’t agree with what was said, but I do respect him/her for being honest, up front, and telling it like it is.” That is the kind of relationship that you must have with your people. We are adults, we can agree to disagree. Let your people know that it’s OK for them to express their opinion – that you will listen to what they have to say. That you won’t belittle them, brow beat or dismiss them outright because they didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear. Respect is reciprocal. You have to give it – to get it. Others will respond in kind. If you have establish mutual respect – they will trust you. They will take a leap of faith because they know you have their best interest in mind.

“Women are becoming enormously successful …. They’re running their businesses on what we call a familial model, a family, instead of a hierarchical top-down military model. They work with, not over or for.” – Faith Popcorn

If you had to make a choice of either to be liked or respected – which one would you choose? The truth of the matter is that not everyone will like you and you won’t like everyone you work with. But you do need to respect and trust each other. 🙂

It’s Called Delegation for a Reason – Give up Control to Get Control 1

Do you know me? I’m the one who is constantly looking over your shoulder. I lurk in the shadows, waiting for you to slip up so that I can pounce. Still don’t recognize me? My way is always the only way. I need to be in charge and I go out of my way to make sure everyone knows it. If this sounds like you, then perhaps you and I are one and the same: the typical “A” personality? (I’ll let you decide what the “A” stands for). If you haven’t guessed all ready – we’re the micro-manager; the classic control-freak. Trust me – I speak from experience. There’s no question that the control freak style of managing others does get results. But the question you need to ask yourself is “Will this style of managing – which was born out of the 1940’s and 50’s – be the same style that will help you be successful managing in the 21st Century?”

Worth Remembering …

“In the digital age you need to make knowledge workers out of every employee possible” – Bill Gates, Microsoft

I believe one of the keys to good management moving forward will be about “inclusion” not “exclusion”. It will be about including workers in the decision-making process at all levels in the organization. Companies should invert the triangle so that the pointed end is at the bottom and the wider portion – the base of the triangle – is at the top. By inverting the triangle you are acknowledging the people who really make it happen – your workers. (Management think they do – but the rank and file know better) Managing effectively in the 21st Century means that you have to “Give up control – to get control”. To control things – you don’t have to be involved in all things. You physically can’t be in all places – all the time. Decisions need to be made – actions need to be taken – time to react is now – not after you’ve had time to address the situation and decide the course of action. At some point you’ll have to delegate some of your responsiblity to others.

Worth Remembering …

“You establish some objectives for them, provide some incentive, and try not to direct the detailed way in which they do their work.” – David Packard, HP

It’s critical to your success that you show trust and confidence in your people. The best way to do that is to get out of their way and let them do it their way. Don’t get too hung up on how your people go about doing it. Yes, you can give them some pointers here and there, but keep in mind that most people like to put their own stamp on things. Don’t be a micro-manager. You didn’t like it when someone was looking over your shoulder – watching your every move – second guessing every decision you made – so don’t do the same thing to them.

The next time you have an opportunity to give up some of your control try these five easy steps to effective delegation:

1. Decide what you want to delegate: You need to be very clear on what task you are going to delegate and make sure they have all the tools they’ll need to complete it.

2. Decide who you are going to delegate the task to: Who on your team do you believe is capable of completing the task and achieving the desired results?

3. Create a teachable moment: Demonstrate the task – have them perform the task while you observe – and once you are satisfied that they can perform the task – get out of their way and let them do it on their own without you looking over their shoulder.

4. Monitor their performance: Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Make it a point to check-in on them once in a while to make sure they are still achieving the desired result. Be there to answer any questions or address any concerns that they may have. People do what you inspect not what you expect. Keep the lines of communication open.

5. Praise performance often: Recognize what has been accomplished and be quick to offer praise for a job well done. When you praise someone for a job well done – be sure to keep your “but” out of it. If you want to tweak what they are doing ever so slightly then replace the “but” with “and”. John I love how you did that – it looks great – AND the next time you do it try doing this and see what you think.

If you don’t delegate some of your duties and responsibilities you won’t have the time to step back and think about where you, your department and or the organization needs to be and how you are going to get there. If you don’t
trust your people to do a job on their own, then why did you hire them in the first place? 🙂 Cheers,

Are You Trying to Make a Silk Purse Out of a Sow’s Ear? 2

Do automotive technicians make the best service managers? Do great athletes have what it takes to be a successful coach? Just because someone is good at what they do – it doesn’t mean they will be good at doing something else. Not everyone has what it takes to manage others. I think managers need to be teachers first – and technically competent second.

Making the transition from worker to manager is very difficult and it can be made even more difficult if you are being promoted from within the same department or peer group. One week you’re a co-worker and the next week you’re their manager. The things that got you noticed on the shop floor are important and there’s no question you’ll have to bring that knowledge and experience with you in your new position. But you’ll most likely have to add some new skills to your manager’s tool kit if you wanted to be noticed in the corner office.

What makes a worker promotable? What qualities does a worker have that makes them management material? Are you basing that decision of their technical ability or their ability to get along with – and teach others what they know? (Hard skills vs. soft skills) If you had to sit down and write-up a job description for a manager – what kinds of things would you include on that list? What jobs do managers do? And more importantly – what skills or key characteristics will a manager need to be able to accomplish those jobs?

Managing is about people. If you don’t like being around people – and helping people to be successful – then you are going to be a lousy manager. Managing is about giving your people the tools they’ll need to be able to do the job you’ve hired them to do. Managing is about knowing what your people do well and then putting them in positions where they will be able to play to their strengths. Managing is about making tough decisions that may impact some of your people in a negative way – but you do it anyways because you know it’s the right decision to make.

Successful managers of the 21st Century will be:

Those managers who understand they can’t do it alone. That they need to build collaborative teams and surround themselves with people who are capable of doing some other things better than they do. And then staying out of their way and letting them do it. The day of the micro-manager is over.

Those managers who understand that they need to create an environment that is conducive to learning. They understand that adults can learn new things – given the right set of circumstance and delivered in the right way. That not everyone learns the same way. The trick is to teach them in a style that they like.

Those managers who understand that they don’t need to know everything. That it’s OK to ask others for help or advice. That the more they include their people in the decision-making the process – the more likely their people will want to come along.

Those managers who can look at the mistakes their people will make as “teachable moments” – to coach them and to train them on what they’ll need to know – so those kinds of mistakes won’t happen again. If you aren’t delegating and teaching others what you know then you are robbing them of their opportunity to grow.

Those managers who understand that not everyone is motivated the same way – but everyone can be motivated. They understand that they need to know what their people’s aspirations are so that they can help them achieve them. They understand that if their people win – they will win and most importantly their clients will win.

I believe we’re not born knowing how to manage or lead others effectively. It’s a learned behavior. We all start out making certain assumptions based on our past experiences and perceptions as to the kind of role we think managers and leaders should play. But we also have come to know from experience that our perceptions may not always be correct, and that sometimes, we have to change our way of thinking if we are to become better at what we do. Today’s managers need to change the way they manage to stay in step with a changing workforce.

Think about that the next time you are looking to promote someone – does this candidate have the skills needed to teach others what he/she knows – and or the willingness to learn how? Same old same old – maintaining the status-quo won’t cut it anymore. – 🙂 Cheers,