Values and integrity: Supporting others

People speaking up about a hairy issue is absolutely crucial for your business, for communities and for society. Because you want to know what really really goes on, and because you want to have the kind of place where people feel comfortable to speak up when something is not going right. Speaking up can feel very scary, you feel very vulnerable and you won’t be able to take it back once it is out. Having people in your corner and having role models creates a supportive culture that makes this easier.

For leaders and really any decent human regardless of job title or position on an org chart, this is a strong invitation to show up. Stand for something. Think: If I didn’t tell people what my values are, would they be able to guess from working with me? And when critical situations or big public discussions happen that test your values, speak to your team. Don’t be the last one to take a stand. On that note, hiding also counts taking a stand (just a lot less dignified). If speaking up feels scary, practice by starting small and expanding your comfort zone from there. This might never get to the point of feeling comfortable – don’t let that be an excuse.

Also, in most cases, this might not be not about you. Try to picture what an event might mean for members of your team that might not be your demographic and show empathy or ask how they are and if they need anything. It’s OK if it comes out a bit clumsy if you don’t know how to best bring it up or need help with terminology, pronouns and the like. If your intention is genuine it still works. It’s these open communication lines and the willingness to then do something about what gets raised (or hinted at) that make you a successful ally. There is something about you showing vulnerability that is going to allow everyone else to step up and show theirs.

Your team will experience you as being real and helpful (because you are) and that and will make your team feel safe.  This also applies to you, you will start being in the loop what is actually going on. If you have strength, power, privilege, wisdom, connections or anything else useful to the cause, this is a good time to use it for something bigger. The amount of courage and relief this gives to somebody having a hard time is beyond what you might imagine. This can literally save lives.

Book on values is here. Second book is in the works that goes deeper into support as well.

(written October 2017, updated March 2021)

Commitment and action

Too many commitments weighing you down? Focus is the older sister of commitment, the one with the overview to sometimes pry the younger one off her target when she has gone on autopilot. Focus determines where commitment is worth keeping, dissolving – or worth recommitting (and properly this time). That bridge in Paris with all these love locks had to recently be cleared of all of them to preserve its structural integrity. That is a massive bridge. Each lock is tiny, but there were gazillions of them and it just got too much.

This involves saying no, this involves trade-offs and this involves conversations with other people. Think about the commitments you entered. The ones you think you entered, and possibly the ones others think you entered (hint: If you feel people keep badgering you about a lot of things on an ongoing basis, there might be a misalignment or you might just be bad on delivery but that’s another topic).

Then, think about the big long-term things you want to reach. Which commitments serve you in reaching this? Which ones don’t? This might require some conversations with other people. Sharing goals and values can be a useful first step to set the baseline for this.

How do you notice when you have overcommitted? Where do key things fall through the cracks in the overall frenzy? What works for you to best untangle this (without burning bridges)? Please share!

Check out the values worksheet here.
go deeper and get the book.
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