Value Immersion, Value Steering… Why?

Have you been thinking about these concepts since I shared them earlier in the week? I hope so, for if you forge ahead with either one of them — and yes, you can do both at the same time — you’re choosing to employ values for the tremendous help and support they are.

Let’s back up a bit and review why value alignment may be tugging at you in the first place. Why can’t you stop thinking about this?

At the heart of the matter:

Values drive behavior. We do stuff because we believe in it, and we resist or refuse when we don’t. You can’t, and won’t pass Go if you don’t buy in.

Your personally held values put you on automatic pilot; they’re already strong, steady and sure. They make you sprint past Go because those particular beliefs have miles of proven experience behind them already, and you don’t need any pit stops to refuel.

In a business, value immersion and value steering will serve as refueling for what you signed up to do, and as a leader you’re making that pit stop much more interesting. You’re also pulling in those people in your organization you need to be on board: Their Go has been on a different game board even though they’re supposed to be on your team.

Lexus Adventure 0938

There are 2 primary reasons you opt for value immersion (valuing the how-to of everything) and/or value steering (valuing the what-and-why of specific projects):

  1. You want to make a stand with a particular value.
  2. You want your team to learn more about a particular value, so they can grow.

So if you’re still thinking about these two concepts, you want to do these things (managing better), and you know you need to (leading better.) — you’re the one ready to grow!

Make a Stand

There are certain things that shouldn’t be up for negotiation in any business. If you don’t choose what you stand for, your business won’t have much an identity. It won’t make anything very meaningful: Vision and mission are all about taking a stand, and doing so very passionately.

This all starts with the values the founders of a company believe in, and wear on their sleeve constantly because they take a stand for them. They do so knowing that they are driving effective, and unifying behaviors for their people. When people “left behind a legacy” they’ve left behind value-mapping; what we’ll more commonly call “a culture that lives on without them.”

Learn More

There must be growth in a business, even within one possessing a strong and clear legacy and culture. Alaka‘i Managers don’t want a workplace filled with robots or lab rats, they gain their personal reward from growing their people and watching them succeed and thrive.

So what does that mean, “growing their people?”

The definition I like in our workplace context, is that it means making space for more people to share in our business’s entrepreneurial spirit. To really share a business with founders, people must feel they do more than cooperate for a paycheck. More even, than collaborating for profit sharing. The ‘more’ is making space for true authorship. Think of it as sequels to the legacy. For that to happen, there must be room to grow (and sincere permission).

In the Go box, fueling this entire process, is learning. People can adopt a value they didn’t even realize was important to them before; they can begin to believe in it. When you introduce value immersion and value steering to your workplace, you’re being the Mea Ho‘okipa leading the way.

Red poles. Red door. Right arrow.

Related Managing with Aloha reading:

To review Value Immersion and Value Steering first, read: Value Alignment for Projects

  1. The beliefs held when you have a Calling for Management: Reprise: The 10 Beliefs of Alaka‘i Managers
  2. A preview of the book: The Core 21 Beliefs of Managing with Aloha
  3. Book has been read, and you want another framework of study: Learning Managing with Aloha: 9 Key Concepts
  4. Where do you fit in? Are you a manager or leader? (Link goes to Say Leadership Coaching)
  5. Mission, Vision, and Values… how do they mesh in great businesses? The Healthy Workplace Compass (Also at Say Leadership Coaching)

Reprise: The 10 Beliefs of Alaka‘i Managers

The following list of 10 Beliefs was shared as one of my earliest articles for online publishing: It was originally titled The Calling of Management: The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers. I decided to revisit it recently, intending to bring the list to a new home on Talking Story. As I did so, I added a few links to postings done over recent months as a self-testing exercise, curious about my own consistency. They were very easy to match up, for these beliefs have not changed in their importance and relevance, not at all. If anything, they have gotten stronger for me.

It is extremely exciting to see a light of renewal go on in managers’ eyes when they realize that the hard work of management can evolve into the gift of a calling in your life. Catching glimpse of that bright light is one of the best things I experience in my work as a coach. Answer these vitally important questions for me:

What is your intention as an Alaka‘i Manager? Did you choose to be a manager, or did you just find your way to being one? Whatever the history of your journey, do you love being a manager today? If not, why do you persist in being one?

Working within belief is a good place to be

You can’t be an Alaka‘i Manager striving for greatness if you do not intentionally choose to be one, and then make a passionate commitment to management consciously and with full on-purpose determination.

To “get started” with Managing with Aloha, you must be able to honestly say being a manager is your deliberate choice, and that your passion lies in the joys which come from being a great manager: “Good” is not good enough, for as a manager you directly affect the quality of people’s lives. That is not a responsibility to be taken lightly.

You must take stock of where your own convictions are when it comes to certain critically important beliefs about the people you will work with, manage and lead. People will factor into just about everything you do; everything.

When it comes to your own learning and growth, people are the ones who will teach you the most.

What do the truly great managers of our world believe in?

1. Great managers  believe that people are innately good; they must. Without this core belief and faith in people, great management is not possible.
For more: Unconditional Acceptance, Nature and Nurture

2. Great managers believe they do not work on their people, they work with them; they enable and empower them.
For more: You’ll Be the Company you Keep

3. Great managers believe that “empowerment” comes from within, and has more to do with self-motivation and innate talent than with the acceptance of authority. They get their cues from the person, not from the task or process.
For more: If you Ask for Initiative, Grant it

4. Great managers believe that all people have strengths which can be made stronger, and that their weaknesses can be compensated for, so they become unimportant to the work at hand.
For more: Job Creation Employs Strengths, Then People

5. When it comes to training, great managers do not believe they train people per se, they believe they train skills and offer additional knowledge.
For more: They like you. But do they perform for you?

6. Great managers believe they coach and mentor people as their best contribution to a community and sense of place, and they love doing so — not “like,” love.
For more: 3 Ways Managers Create Energetic Workplaces

7. Great managers believe that the people they manage are more than capable of creating a better future. They hold great faith and trust in the four-fold human capacities of physical ability, intellect, emotion, and spirit.
For more: Is it Time for Your Alaka‘i Abundance?

8. Great managers believe in the power of positive, affirmative thinking, and they have a low tolerance for negativity. They are confident and eternal optimists.
For more: The 3 Secrets of Being Positive

9. Great managers believe it is their job to remove barriers and obstacles so people can attain the level of greatness they are destined for. They believe that “can’t” is a temporary state of affairs, and that everything is only impossible until the first person does it.
For more: When Learning Gets Overwhelming

10. Great managers believe that their legacy will be in the other people they have helped achieve worthwhile and meaningful goals. They believe that success is measured in people who thrive and prosper.
For more: Helping Without Hurting

These beliefs may not sit well with everyone, but they are essential for Alaka‘i Managers as the people who make a difference in the lives of others.  These beliefs are the reasons why managers matter, and why management is vitally important. These are the challenges you must be eager to tackle, as in,  Let-me-at-‘em, I’m-perfect-for-this-job! eager.

If you do not share these beliefs, management will be possible by some standards (though not those of Managing with Aloha), however both my managing and coaching experiences have consistently demonstrated how it will prove to be much harder for you. Management will become the work of routine task and process, devoid of those rewards which stem from relationship-building and developing collaborative partnerships.

So what, pray tell, will you choose?

There IS a light inside everyone, I just know it!

Footnote: There is more backstory to MWA Mondays here if you are interested, including an index of relevant resource pages: Monday is for Managing with Aloha. My Book Page is here.

Decision Making: How do you do it?

I am not asking this question as the preface to a definitive how-to blog posting, but to you individually and directly:

Are you aware of the process you go through when you make your most important decisions, the ones which leave you with absolutely no regrets, no looking back?

For instance, is it a very solitary process for you, concentrating most deliberately on what you think, and what you then realize you believe, or is it important to you to bounce your gut instincts off others too? Do you write yourself through it (I do… my morning pages is a BIG part of my process) or do you talk your way through it? Do you bother documenting it at all, or visually mind-mapping it?


Photo Credit: “How’d we get here, again?”
by Margolove on Flickr

This is where I am coming from
(with the decision making question)

I have been focused on starting my 2009 by making a series of key decisions for me, for I believe that despite how painful this is for many of us, the current recession we are in has a significantly important silver lining, that of an open-mindedness to reinvention that is unprecedented in my lifetime (or my truly conscious of it lifetime).

And if you know me at all, you know that I love the prospects of creative reinvention. Most of the thought leaders I know, are open-minded contrarians.

Thus I have been systematically looking at all my systems and processes (because I am also organizationally obsessive), and challenging myself with pulling the rug out from under any automatic pilot I might be on. In my case I started with a time audit (a practice that Dwayne has coached me well in over the years I have known him), one synced with a comprehensive monthly review (just longer in scope than a Weekly Review) and then I listed all the tools I use (primarily with my productivity practices and digital software to start) so I could go down the list, and ask myself these questions in regard to every single thing listed:

As you read them, get a for-instance in your mind, such as the email program you use, the blogging platform or RSS reader you use, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, whatever… just choose something.)

  1. Am I still diligently purposeful with using this tool for my original intention, or not?
  2. If yes, is this still the best possible tool or process for me (with that still-worthy intention), or am I now aware of a new one which is better, and should replace it? What are the pros and cons of sticking with this versus switching?
  3. If no, am I completely clear on how my purpose has changed? Do I need to newly explore my intentions so that my attention (and thus both my time sink and resulting results) matches up optimally?

You will recall our learning that the intention and attention match-up is very, very powerful! Ho‘ohana: Redefine the word “work” and make it yours.

For me, the key in this process is coming to clarity – working “wide awake” and conscious of how I work and making sure my why? is still valid, versus sleep-walking or going through the motions.

There is also the simple realization that our purposes do change as time goes by, and that’s okay – in fact, it probably is good: we’re learning and progressing. So… we should be sure we are not stuck in the automatic pilot of an old process that does not give us optimal results.

How can decision making help us feel?

So as I do this, fully realizing why my current decision-making process is filling me with such new energy, I want to stop for a moment and encourage you to do the same thing: Understand when you soar with making your key decisions.

It is a knowing about yourself, and how you do what you do, that is very valuable. It is valuable to you, to be fully aware of how you make your best decisions, because then you can always be sure to repeat your process. It fills you with confidence, and it is highly likely that it boosts your energy levels – it certainly does for me.

It is very valuable to the rest of us too, our knowing that you make sound decisions. This is a way that you can very easily serve us as your community of fellow human beings.

If you talk about this at work, with your team, or with your boss or peers, you can help them identify their best decision-making process too. I am sure you can imagine the win-win that could be.

Look for the gut-level results to know if your decision making process is working for you, or if you have to tweak it. You want the bold stuff in this list of bullets, not the italics:

  • When you have arrived at your decision, do you feel confident, or are you still left with questions?
  • When you have arrived at your decision, is it easy to tell others about it clearly, or are you still unsure how you would articulate it?
  • Did you start to take some concrete actions moving you forward while still within your decision-making, or did you arrive at a decision still not sure where to start?
  • If you had been documenting your process, did your excitement about the decision cause you to abandon your documentation in favor of just doing it, or are you still documenting diligently to be sure you didn’t miss something?
  • Do you feel newly energized even if it is a tough decision to take action with, or did your decision-making process leave you feeling tired and drained?

I would wager that 2009 will in some way present you with a major decision of some kind. I am no psychic, and I have no idea what that decision may turn out to be about for you, but 2009 has just shaped up to be that kind of crucible-for-many year (remember this Jim Collins quote from the other day?).

When you embark on that kind of crucible decision-making, pay attention to what your process is, realizing that there are three different parts to it: Your thinking/choosing process of decision making (which this talk-story is about), the decision itself, the execution of that decision which is more accurately called decision management.

If you have a decision making process you feel works very well for you, share more about it with us in the comments would you? Let’s learn from each other, so we all get better at it.

Postscript A bit more about this:
I believe that despite how painful this is for many of us, the current
recession we are in has a significantly important silver lining, that
of an open-mindedness to reinvention that is unprecedented in my lifetime (or my truly conscious of it lifetime).

“Mahalo nui Felix, …7 Causes.

Today, Felix Gerena of our Ho‘ohana Community left a comment for me that was such a gift. My goodness I am on a roll of good fortune, aren’t I? Yesterday a song, today a feeling of well-being in being confident about my choices.

I responded to Felix on where he had made his comment, however I decided to re-post it here on Talking Story hoping to gather more discussion about the quote Felix has given us from Aristotle. I am wondering,

What are your 7 Causes?

These are mine, reprinted from Managing with Aloha Online

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