My daughter has a big new ‘Family Rules’ sign up in the kitchen and this applies to ‘rules’ for the family. I find this a powerful set of guidelines for any group of people living in the same house. And I began reflecting on how this could be extended and applied in the workplace.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to set up a programme whereby every single member of the organisation, business or firm lived that week’s ‘rule’ and then reported back the next week as to how they had ‘caught some-one else doing something right’ regarding the assigned ‘rule’? Just imagine how a more sustainable culture of kindness and caring would prevail! And by concentrating on a different aspect each week, it would not deter from the achievement of goals and tasks accomplished. This programme would simply add a new dimension.
Let’s look at each of the elements. It would be easy to write pages on each rule, but here I am confining my comments to one or two aspects for each rule:
- Always be kind. How often do we stop in the midst of pending deadlines to consider or ask what some-one may need? In the ruthless flurry of getting the job done, we engage minds and hands, but what do we do to consciously show kindness? Never take kindness for weakness.
- Encourage each other. Life is tough. And the old cliché, ‘when the going gets tough the tough get going’ applies in all aspects of our lives. Sometimes, it could be the last hurdle that may potentially let us down. At other times, it is just getting to the starting block where encouragement would make the difference between taking part or being on the outside. And failure can ‘hit hard’ so we need to recognise when others are ‘down and need encouragement.
- Be proud of yourself. Celebrate success. Pride is a feeling which is often dampened by our rising expectations of ourselves. We reach one goal and before we have peaked or stopped to enjoy our achievements we are looking for a higher mountain to climb. So use your successes to propel you higher. But at the same time, honour yourself by pausing each day, ‘taking stock’ and saying ‘what have I done today that makes me proud’? And based on these self-observations, gear your future behaviour accordingly.
- Say ‘I’m sorry’ – and mean it! Don’t wait for others to find out what you might have done wrong. Own up where appropriate. Express remorse. And the other aspect of saying ‘I’m sorry’ involves showing compassion, even in the workplace. There might be deadlines, and a woman may need to go home and see to her children’s supper before sitting down to complete the task that evening. Let her do that!
- Forgive others. We are often hard on ourselves. And at the same time, we find it difficult to forgive others who might be doing exactly the same as us but in a different way. To deepen your understanding of this point I suggest that you read ‘The dark side of the light-chasers’ by Debbie Ford.
- Do your best. I’d like to add, ‘but don’t become complacent’. Your best yesterday might not be good enough for your best today. Work on continuously improving your product, your service and the way you operate. But don’t allow thoughts of not being good enough prevent you from trying.
- Work hard. Develop a culture of productivity incorporating ‘hard work’. But we also need to ‘work smart’ and this often involves knowing how to effectively delegate, give instructions, prioritise. So, skills development at every level is important in encouraging the ‘work ethic’.
- Say, ‘I love you’. Okay, so this rule may be difficult to extend directly to the work environment. But validating others by saying ‘I see you, I hear you and what you say matters’ is showing respect and showing that you care about that person as a human being.
- Try new things. Creativity and innovation are paramount in achieving success in most professions and businesses. And there are various ways you can go about this. In this volatile, uncertain world, seeing connections and being able to bring together disparate ideas is increasingly important. Three characteristics that predominate are curiosity, open mindedness and experimentation. We need to let go of perfection remembering that good ideas can come out of failure. (As a coach I would provide simple practices in this area.)
- Listen to your heart. Sometimes, when we are ruled by our heads (as often has to happen in the business environment) we don’t stop to listen to our hearts. And where heads are saying one thing, and our hearts saying something different, there will often be a state of paralysis – no action is congruent with both. Being more intuitive links closely to being ‘open’ to innovation and will often help break the pattern of ‘this is how we have always done it around here!’
- Tell the truth. Be very careful that you are sure what your perceived truth is. Try to see issues from as many perspectives as possible. Ask yourself, ‘what really happened, what part did I play, could it have been avoided, how should I better handle a similar situation in the future’? These are just some examples of the questions you should ask yourself. And of course there will often be ‘grey areas’ where it is not in anyone’s best interest to volunteer the truth for a whole range of reasons.
- Say please and thank you. The clear message here is that we should not taking anything for granted. Appreciate what others do. Show respect. And when you notice ‘some-one doing something right’ immediately acknowledge what you have observed (giving evidence) as this will ensure that you are showing sincere appreciation and not simply flattering the person.
I’m so excited and feel so strongly about the idea of incorporating these rules into business that I’m offering to run a complimentary pilot programme for one organisation, business or firm. Distance need not be a deterring factor as we could run part of the programme via Skype. To qualify for this free twelve-week programme, please make sure that the leadership is committed to ‘making the world a better place for everyone’. By ‘everyone’ I mean those ‘external’ to the organisation and also those ‘internal’ - the management and staff of the organisation. The ideal sized group would be any size over 6 people with no maximum number.
I’m limiting the free offer to one group and I reserve the right to choose which group would be most suitable. To apply, please contact me personally either by phoning +27 82 4993311 or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org before November 7 2013. Thank you!
For more information on leadership development, our ‘Flying in formation’ programme, training in communication skills or ‘Executive Coaching’, please contact Brenda on email@example.com or +27 82 4993311.