During my career, which includes a spectrum of roles: marketing strategist and creative director, corporate communications counselor, sales strategist and trainer… my interest in ethics has always been front and center. But over the years I’ve learned that simple ethics aren’t enough. Not enough for business. Not enough for me, personally. Not enough for the world. We can do better.
We operate by a set of core values at Babacita.
It’s these values I use as my own touch and power points to help individuals, departments and organizations Evolve. Connect. Inspire.
WorldBlu LIVE 2013 is the world’s premier gathering on freedom in the workplace. It is designed for individuals and organizations who recognize the power of freedom and democracy as a leading tool for boosting the bottom-line, promoting innovation, attracting top talent and inspiring full engagement.
More than just a conference, WorldBlu LIVE is an experience that combines a showcase for democratic innovation, a platform for rule-breakers, and an audience of revolutionaries. This is all wrapped in a unique, stylized environment that will leave you inspired, full of fresh ideas, and connected with a world-class community of leaders.
A lot of which I heard aligned precisely with my current process and thinking, but I also heard some amazing stories about what companies are doing to promote Freedom at Work. Yes, this is touchy/feely stuff… BUT the results are remarkable all the way around from the human capital aspect to productivity and innovation right to the bottom line.
One big thing that really hit me last week was fear vs. freedom. Fear is everywhere and has several levels, especially in a work environment. And though you may not even realize it, fear does play a major factor in moral, productivity, creativity and the bottom line. Within a command and control, fear-based organization, personnel experience diminished self-confidence, esteem, value and worth. Basically smothering their spirit. Fear is an emotional response and I took the couple following notes that I felt important:
Clear your mind and use logic
Accept fear and walk through it
Fear doesn’t equal failure
Use fear as energy and fuel
Have you made the horrifying concession… spending your work life unfulfilled?
The first step is to become aware of the fear. Once you realize it, it then becomes a choice. We all have a choice.
One big question, that Traci Fenton, WorldBlu Founder and CEO, labeled The Power Question – What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Think about that in all aspects of your life. For decision making. Powerful, yes?
A few years ago I really began a new transformation, which started off as a re-brand of my consulting firm, Babacita, but it ended up a re-discovery of me. Through this discover I found that my values boil down to these 4 things:
Service – a sense of doing more for humanity and human rights
Compassion – a true sense of giving and helping others
Organize – Forethought and planning, systematic, efficient
Accomplish – Driven and motivated to accomplishment and providing value
Since then there have been so many changes in my life – all to support these values and the mission of Babacita (and me)… Evolve, Connect and Inspire. I came out of the gate on fire. A new energy and passion with what felt right for the first time in my career. I began writing and living with a heart-centered approach (here’s an example – Incorporating A Heart-Centered Approach to Business). Consciously aware of everything that feeds or deposits me and what I’m about and everything that withdrawals and is negative. But there was one thing that was still holding me back from truly reliving my dream of self-employment. Fear. The very same fear I mentioned earlier. Would I really be able to put a roof over my head and feed my children? I have no doubt in my skills and the ability to succeed, but it was the fear held me back. And the answer to The Power Question for me is to absolutely leap. But to do it methodically and systematically, and yes, my plans are in motion.
Some other just random notes that I took away from WorldBlu LIVE in no particular order that are some good things to think about (please ignore my html formatting issues):
Attributes of Tribal Leadership
Identity and belonging
Learning and teaching
Folklore (have burial parties to flush out unhelpful stories)
Freedom – create conditions for people to realize their full potential
Create the opportunity to live and express true worth, providing a full range of creativity and innovation – empower people in a meaningful way
Value of Self
You are valuable
You have worth
You have ideas
How do you support them?
What did you do today that supported your values?
A freedom-centered leadership through values and culture, is what I live and breathe and is what I’m helping others do as well.
Babacita draws out the best in individuals and organizations by focusing energy in three ways – evolve, connect and inspire. I then provision my clients with freedom-centered principles, education and communication programs so they reach their true potential by living authentically to their values, while delivering superior results.
Let me know if you’d like to learn more of how I can help personally or organizationally evolve, connect and inspire.
Ethics are a funny thing. Defined as 1) moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity; and 2) the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.
Huh? Still not sure what that means. A couple weekends ago I got the privilege to attend a workshop by Ronin Empowerment Group that featured Jack Hoban of Resolution Group International (RGI) on the subject of the Ethical Warrior. Jack served as a US Marine Corps officer and is a long time practitioner of martial arts. He assisted in the creation of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and remains a subject matter expert for the program. He has led more than 500 workshops and seminars around the world addressing universities, government and private organizations on ethics and martial arts, including the FBI and the NYPD.
A good reminder for all of us and Jack’s definitions definitely outline a clear understanding of the hierarchy of values.
Values – “Things that have an intrinsic worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor,” or “principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable.”
• Relative values – Values shared by some people, some of the time (sporting team fans).
• Life value – Shared by everyone – life (the first inalienable right).
• Moral values – Moral values are relative values that support life and respect the Dual Life Value of self and (all) others. (honor, courage, commitment, love, integrity, justice, charity, truth, freedom, dependability, knowledge, unselfishness, loyalty)
To be moral, the relative value must respect the Life value of self and (all) others. The Life value of self and others is the “true north” of the moral compass. We can orient ourselves using the Life value during times of moral confusion.
Most people already have a sense of morality, but sometimes morals can be obscured or trumped by our emotions and/or strong relative values. Rather than “taught,” morality can be clarified then “activated” through: lessons in context, values stores, shared adversity and leadership.
Ethics are moral values in action.
A person who knows the difference between right and wrong – and chooses the right – is moral. A person whose morality is reflected in their willingness to do the right thing – even if it is hard or dangerous – is ethical.
Think of the bully on the playground. Where does your compass point you?
Each one of us are faced with moral and ethical dilemmas each and every day, ranging in scale, but nonetheless important. Keep in mind that ethics are moral values in action, which always support the universal life value.
Over the past year or so if you’ve been following my blog, you’ve definitely seen a big shift in me. An evolution. By reinventing Babacita, I really ended up discovering (and articulating) my core values for not only work, but for life.
Using my journey as an outline, I’ve now refined that process and am adding it to my service offering. I can guide individuals through a journey of self-discovery and alignment.
For more information see Evolution Guide on the Evolve Connect Inspire page (second service listed) or contact me directly. Let me share my evolution with you and guide your own heart-centered evolution.
1. The center of the total personality, especially with reference to intuition, feeling, or emotion: In your heart you know I’m an honest man.
2. The center of emotion, especially as contrasted to the head as the center of the intellect: His head told him not to fall in love, but his heart had the final say.
3. Capacity for sympathy; feeling; affection: His heart moved him to help those less fortunate.
4. Spirit, courage, or enthusiasm: His heart sank when he walked into the room and saw their faces.
5. The innermost or central part of anything: Notre Dame stands in the very heart of Paris.
6. The vital or essential part; core: the heart of the matter.
Think about that. The key words:
• Center of the total personality… emotion
• Capacity for feeling
• Spirit, courage, enthusiasm
• Innermost, central, essential part
• Vital, core
Why would any organization not want this front and center, leading the charge? It’s a huge differentiator from your competition. It’s unique to you. It’s the DNA that makes up your organization. Use it!
In working with clients on branding activities, the typical approach is to identify the brand assets. Things like sophistication, customer-centric, complex integrator, etc. This is all definitely part of it, but what is missing most of the time is the heart of the organization. Not the nuts and bolts, but true passion and fire behind those nuts and bolts. The heart. That is where the true power lies.
Like so many aspects of organization, it comes from the top. The leadership must possess heart as opposed to an old-school command and control management style.
Many years ago I had the privilege of working with Fred Keller, Founder and CEO of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Cascade Engineering. An amazing entrepreneur who has built his business based on purpose and heart, Keller lives by a simple checklist that supports his values:
• Do all the good you can
• By all the means you can
• In all the ways you can
• In all the places you can
• At all the times you can
• To all the people you can
• As long as ever you can
That is what a heart-centered approach is all about. This has stuck with me over the years and is coming through my work, loud and clear. This beautiful heart-centered approach that is beneficial on so many levels.
One organization that I am honored to be a part of, as one of ten certified consultants globally, is WorldBlu, which leads this organizational evolution. WorldBlu’s purpose is to elevate the human spirit through organizational democracy and freedom-centered leadership.
WorldBlu’s 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy:
The essence of heart. It shines through in so many ways – loyalty, productivity, talent attraction and retention, creativity and innovation, customer preference, community and the bottom line. It’s the right thing to do and organizations are moving towards this direction. It’s a necessity for long-term growth and sustainability.
Another example of heart is the increasing number of organizations instituting a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach to their business. If you’re not familiar with TBL, it’s an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational (and societal) success. Economic, ecological, and social. Each of those items weighted equally, this framework applies responsibility to the organization’s stakeholders (anyone who is influenced, either directly or indirectly, by the actions of the organization).
The economic (or profit) portion of the TBL
• This is the economic value created or real economic impact the organization has on its economic environment.
The ecological (or planet) portion
• This refers to the sustainable environmental practices. This endeavor reduces its ecological footprint, by among other things, carefully managing its consumption of energy and non-renewables and reducing manufacturing waste as well as rendering waste less toxic before disposing of it in a safe manner.
The social (or people) portion
• This pertains to fair and beneficial business practices toward labor and the community and region in which an organization conducts business. This also seeks to “give back” by contributing to the strength and growth of its community with such things as health care, education and additional employment opportunities. So by instituting the TBL practice, firms often, on an annual basis, publish their TBL Report, which includes the metrics and impact they are making in the economic, ecological and social sectors of their organizational footprint. Not only does this hold them accountable, but it also gives them year-over-year metrics for continuous improvement.
The Triple Bottom Line approach. Yet another example of heart in business.
Heart is here and is becoming more and more significant each day.
Where to start?
So the first part to this equation, really the most challenging part, is to determine what is your organizations heart?
Let’s look at those heart keywords again
• Center of the total personality… emotion
• Capacity for feeling
• Spirit, courage, enthusiasm
• Innermost, central, essential part
• Vital, core
To determine the heart of an organization is a similar process to that of an individual, just much more complex. It should start with the leadership team but also needs to include every member of the organization, since they are the blood, which keeps the heart pumping. It’s really about assembling the core values of each of the employees. What do they stand for? What makes them tick? Then from there it’s an exercise of organizing those attributes into groupings to boil it down to the collective values. This is done through a variety of techniques that act as checks and balances to one another. Simple lists and text-based content assembly is the starting point. Once that is initially drafted, I suggest incorporating word clouds and mind mapping. By looking at the same information from varying perspectives, the heart will become apparent after revisions and continual massaging. It will go on like a light bulb. When you get there, you will know. When you do, communicate and incorporate your heart in every single employee and customer touchpoint. From the receptionist answering the phone or greeting visitors to customer service, to HR interviewing a potential employee, sales, marketing, production, finance – every place a customer or employee is touched, makes sure your heart is there shining through. It will not go unnoticed.
I challenge you to identify your organization’s heart and then to use it.
By making a conscious effort to make your organization’s heart front and center, you will see the difference personally and enterprise-wide. Your employees will benefit, your customers and suppliers will benefit, your community will benefit. You will make a difference on so many more levels.