April 11th, 2011

Values in Job Decision Making
By Sande Roberts

Today’s blog is dedicated to those who are looking for new ways to function in changing work environments; or who are looking for a job in any environment.

Getting in touch with our core values helps us follow our dreams at home, at work, and in the community, and understand what it is about ourselves that makes us stand out from others. It helps us advance professionally and be productive participants in our own lives.

While we are going to look at things from our professional workforce lens today, you can interject the word ‘personal’ wherever it says ‘professional’ and get similar benefits.

Here are a few things to ask yourself as you contemplate where you are in your work life. Look at things as if you are trying to make a great match from both sides of interviewing perspectives. If you’re not looking for something different at this time in your life, use this yardstick to re-evaluate your commitment to your current position.

1. Are you following your dream?
2. Are you getting what you want from your workplace?
3. Is what needs to be done what you want to be doing all day?
4. Is the workplace getting what it needs from you?
5. What’s your commitment level to the organization?
6. Whether you have a position or are looking for one, how do you and a position select each other?
7. What are the workplace values and your values that match?
8. How do you identify and express them?
9. How do you go from good to great, stay great and overcome hurdles on your way to greatness?

Don’t Force The Shoe That Doesn’t Fit

Core values are the framework from which we make all of our decisions. This isn’t a one size fits all. It’s more like going into the shoe store and taking time to really look around. Too big or too small won’t work as both will give you blisters. It’s worth the investment of your time to find the right fit.

Just like the variety of communication styles in which we give and receive information, we have multiple ways in which we make decisions. This process becomes our checklist that reflects our core values.

I want to bring attention back to the question about getting to do what you want to be doing all day. When your values and the organizations values match, it’s easier to take on tasks that aren’t what you signed on for. In these challenging economic times, pretty much everyone I know is being asked to do something that isn’t necessarily playing to their strengths or desires. This is when values trump tasks as long as all parties acknowledge this.

Remember the old TV show, “Concentration?” Contestants had to remember where sayings were on the game board, and there was a rush that came from hearing the words, “We have a match.” When your values and the organizational values match up it feels like you’ve won the prize.

An Exercise

The following exercise will give you great insight as to where you are in your professional work life. You can use the list of values from the First Tee Junior Golf Program we listed last time (and below so you don’t have to look them up), or any list of company values you want.

Go to the website of the organization you work for or are interested in working for, and find their listing of values. Take each value and write it at the top of a piece of paper. On one side write down what you bring to the workplace for each value as if it was a job application. Then look at the values again from a different view point, writing on the other side what the workplace lives up to in being in integrity with the stated values. Get input from others too as to where they think the organization does or doesn’t walk the talk.

Here are the nine values from the First Tee program:
1. Honesty
2. Integrity
3. Sportsmanship
4. Confidence
5. Responsibility
6. Respect
7. Perseverance
8. Courtesy
9. Non-Judgmental

ADDED BENEFITS

Trying out the above exercise will also be helpful during a performance review – whether you’re giving a review or being reviewed.

In a job search setting it will show you’ve done your research and know what the organization is all about. You’d be surprised how many people apply for jobs and don’t have any idea what the company does or how they might fit.

Please do the research as it can help you land a great position, or rekindle the passion for where you are.

Values and Principles

March 21st, 2011

Values and Principles

Thunderbird School of Global Management

I had the privilege last week of spending a day at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona. I enjoyed a campus tour, lunch with some graduates and current students, and a talk by a colleague of mine who, like me, is a member of the Arizona Association for Conflict Resolution.

It was also an opportunity for me to preview the atmosphere and setup as I will be facilitating a workshop there in mid April. Wow, I was in my realm. They had me with their value statement:

“For more than 60 years, we have educated global leaders who are also global citizens – because we live by the credo that borders frequented by trade seldom need soldiers, and we’re committed to helping develop a stable world economy where that philosophy becomes reality.”

Thunderbird was just ranked #1 for full-time International MBA Programs in 2011 by Financial Times and U.S. News & World Report, and for the #1 Potential to Network by The Economist.

Core Values

Now, if you’re reading this blog, you know I’m all about relationships. My approach to life is as a compassionate, adventurous and creative peace keeper as influenced by gratitude, enthusiastic perseverance and connection.

I want to share different and interesting sets of values and principles, and then over upcoming blogs we can explore them more in-depth.

A fine set of core value declarations is one I heard about several years ago. They come from a childrens golf program called First Tee. They have a scaled down golf course comprised of nine holes. I saw the program in action when one of my grandsons was a participant. I was impressed with how they had a value for each of the nine junior golf holes. Each value was defined and addressed each week in a classroom setting, with a discussion about what it meant in life and on the playing field. Participants were required to understand the following values before they were allowed to play on the golf course.

1. Honesty
2. Integrity
3. Sportsmanship
4. Confidence
5. Responsibility
6. Respect
7. Perseverance
8. Courtesy
9. Non-judgmental

Another set of values that I’m in major alignment with come from the online shoe and accessories company, Zappos. Zappos is an innovative company where they put employee passion for the workplace on the list of values. You can read more about how this works in the book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.

1. Deliver WOW through service
2. Embrace and drive change
3. Create fun and a little weirdness
4. Be adventurous, creative and open minded
5. Pursue growth and learning
6. Build open and honest relationships with communication
7. Build a positive team and family spirit
8. Do more with less
9. Be passionate and determined
10. Be humble

 

Principles

A meaningful set of principles comes from the ARTbundance™ program developed by Marney Makridakis. http://www.Artella.com

To learn more about Marney and how she weaves business and these life enhancing principles together, you can catch Marney this week on Wednesday night (March 23rd) giving a free teleclass: Discover Wonder Woman’s Greatest Superpower: Lasso Love to FINALLY Get Things Done.

Here’s the link to sign up for the free workshop. You can participate live or listen to the download later.

http://www.artellaland.com/affiliates/jrox.php?id=1562_1_tlid_44

Marney’s Nine Principles

1. Gratitude
2. Intuition
3. Balance
4. Vision
5. Attraction
6. Choice
7. Action
8. Connection
9. Service

 

Communication Style Values

All of our values are important and our friend Mary Miscisin helps us look at our value preferences by virtue of our Color Styles, helping us establish a base language that is continually built upon. Color Styles gives light hearted, enjoyable, and enriching insights to how we give and receive information. http://www.positivelymary.com

Mary and I are both trainers for True Colors. For an interesting look at communication and choices in relationships, go to the True Colors website, http://www.True-Colors.com and go to the resources section and read my article, If Relationships Were Like Ice Cream Sundaes.

GOLD might look at stability, responsibility, practicality and fairness, influenced by personal responsibility, social responsibility and being a stabilizing factor.

BLUE might look at harmony, authenticity, inspiration and imagination as influenced by emotions spirit and feelings.

GREEN can look at intelligence, competence, independence and emotional stability as influenced by the mind, intellect and thinking.

ORANGE may look at freedom, fun, leadership and resourcefulness as influenced by action, playfulness and being able to triage well in a crisis.

 

Next time we’ll look at how to use the values and principles to determine where we are in and out of alignment at home, at work and at play.

For those of you who have been asking, here are a few things I’m up to these days:

1. Turning Bad Bosses and Crummy Co-workers into Great Teams
2. Providing ‘Crisis HelpShops’ to avoid Five Potential Crisis Situations that could be costly and debilitating in the workplace
3. Facilitating playful and insightful ‘Permission Spoon Adventures’ workshops
4. Facilitating relationship workshops for couples and singles
5. Coaching job seekers on becoming employed, or in some cases, staying employed
6. Teaching Psychology 101 at Phoenix College
7. Enjoying family and watching grandsons Matthew and Max play baseball

Warmest regards,
Sande

A great quote: “The better a person feels about themselves the better they will treat others.” By Nathaniel Branden as appearing in Harvey Mackay’s weekly column.

 

Erasing Criticism

March 9th, 2011

Erasing Criticism
By Sande Roberts

Please join my campaign to erase criticism from everyone’s vocabulary.

After spending the weekend working on my book, Turning Bad Bosses and Crummy Co-workers into Great Teams, I settled in on the chapter about the difference between correction and criticism.

While this has always been an important topic, it’s even more on my mind right now as I’ve addressed this four times in the past two months during various speaking engagements. It’s so important, that during one recent talk, I gave out erasers to help everyone remember that the word criticism needs to be eradicated, not just modified.

There’s no such thing as constructive criticism. The very word ‘criticism’ is just that: Criticism. I know there are many well meaning people who are trying to offer help and they start out by telling you it’s just constructive criticism, or that it isn’t criticism at all.

A few weeks ago, I was participating in the practice round of a certification training; (yes, trainers should always participate in training opportunities themselves) and I was the first of a few dozen people to present during a series of practice sessions.

The facilitator of the program is a brilliant person who is massively supportive and encouraging to everyone in the program.

There were six of us giving ten-minute presentations on the first day. We were using unfamiliar formats and equipment and none of us were quite sure what to expect.

After my presentation, the facilitator was trying to be helpful and wanted me to know she wasn’t being critical, by prefacing her comments with:  “This isn’t criticism.” I’m not sure where my brain went, however my ears stopped working after hearing the word criticism because I was waiting to hear what I had done or said that was wrong. Even though it was a user friendly setting, my mind was setting up the defenses to answer the criticisms. As I listened to the other presenters, I heard the criticism disclaimer a few more times over the course of the rest of the practice sessions. And even though I knew the intentions were positive, my mind perked to listen for what was wrong with each participant and the yucky challenged side of my brain was thinking, ‘well at least I wasn’t the only one who messed it up’. I actually had to listen to the recording of my presentation to hear what was really said.

The facilitator for our program had the best intentions, and is absolutely not a critical person, yet while trying to be kind, the word choice, even with the disclaimer, can be distracting at best and upsetting at worst.

In the unlikely event that you actually want to make someone feel bad, the word criticism, without any disclaimers, would then be used in the correct context. However, here are some more constructive approaches to be of service to another person:
1. Brainstorming
This is an open process where multiple ideas are desired and anything goes and nothing is wrong. Even ideas that couldn’t possibly be implemented could spark a fabulous idea.

2. Suggestions
Suggestions are just suggestions. There is not a requirement to adapt them into the work. I’m grateful for colleagues who will review my work and make suggestions.

Once when I was putting an information sheet together I sent it to seven colleagues asking for suggestions and corrections. What was extremely interesting is that two people sent it back saying it looked great as is. The other five each spotted different parts that they commented on with suggestions and a few places where technical corrections were needed. This helped me immensely in creating a better end product.

3. Revisions
A revision is where something needs to be changed and suggestions on what and how to implement them may be open for discussion.

Perhaps there is a portion of the content where the message isn’t as strong as it could be, or possibly too strong, and the author is asked to pop it up or tone it down a little.

4. Updates
There’s new information that requires changing the content and possibly the context of the work. New policies, practices or processes need to be brought to attention so that the message is current and the content correct.

5. Corrections
There are actual errors in need of repair. This could be from minor (spelling or tense error) to major content and context information. I’m personally grateful for colleagues who are willing to take time to review and revise potential errors that could embarrass me if they were left in the work.

It isn’t always easy to know exactly how to approach people when their work needs some form of adaptation. This is why it’s beneficial to understand where a person is in their Four Colors communication styles, and where they are in relationship to the Three Choices and Five Stages which can be found on the Real Life Skills Workshops website.

I would love to hear how being able to erase the word criticism from your workplace would be beneficial. Share your stories with me and I will give a hone-hour coaching session, on how to implement this concept into the workplace, to the six most compelling requests. Information shared is confidential.

You can reach me at SandeRoberts@mac.com. Requests must be received by the end of the workday on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. Each individual who receives a coaching session can choose to participate via phone, Skype, or in person if you are in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

Open Letter to Matt Leinart, Arizona Cardinals

August 31st, 2010

Open Letter to Matt Leinart, Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals

Matt Leinart, there may be hope for you yet if you would just call the new Urgent Care Coaching Hotline being launched by Sande Roberts, Sister #1, of The Sisters: Real Life Skills Workshops. It’s clear you need help NOW whether you stay with the Cardinals or go to another team.

Using one of our many assessment process tools, Three Choices, let’s take a look at what an initial session between Matt and Sande, might look like, with a lot of help and great appreciation for the coverage and quotes from Matt carried in the Arizona Republic by Paola Boivin and Kent Somers.

In Three Choices, Choice One is where everything is working smoothly and you can’t wait to get to the stadium each day. In Choice Two, you have a pretty strong sense that things aren’t going the way you envisioned them but you’re not sure you can put your finger on what’s wrong. In Choice Three, the situation is broken and may be beyond repair. The Choices offer some thought provoking ways to look at you and your team from several perspectives.

Matt: The Coach keeps saying it’s about picking the best team and not about whether you like somebody or not. I don’t get it.

Sande: OK Matt, let’s look at our Three Choices and evaluate the Choice your situation is in.

Are you getting what you want from your team, which is being named the starting quarterback?

Is what needs to be done, what you want to be doing all day? This includes endless practice even if you’re the only one out there before anyone else arrives and after everyone else leaves? And what were you practicing in the off season?

Is your team getting what it needs from you? What’s your commitment level to the organization?

OK Matt, it doesn’t look like you’re in Choice One with the Cardinals, because in One you’re on board with yourself and your team. Everything feels right and even difficulties are approached with confidence and enthusiasm. In Choice One there wouldn’t be any public whining.

Matt: How can I be on board with the team when the coach won’t let me play?

Sande: Hang on Matt, let’s take a look at where you are in the other two choices. In Choice Two, you’re looking at just not being the right fit. From Coach Whisenhunt’s comments, it’s sounding like this is where he’s seeing you. I know it’s personal for you, however from the team’s perspective it’s about the right chemistry on the field. A team takes on a personality of it’s own and you’re either a natural match or you need to make some changes.

Matt: Well why don’t they make the changes? I’ve already proved what I can do. I don’t know what else I can do. It must be personal. Why don’t they let me play more?

Sande: This is the really hard part about Choice Two. Everything feels like you’re paddling upstream against the current. It’s difficult and not enjoyable at all. More and more obstacles seem to appear out of nowhere. In reality you’re looking like you’re straddling the fence with one foot in and one foot out of your commitment to your position and the team.

Matt: I don’t get that. If they want the best 11 guys on the field, then I’ve proven I should be there with my performance. I’ve outplayed the competition in training camp and the preseason. I want an explanation and I haven’t been given one.

Sande: I have real concerns here Matt. Challenging the coach in public sounds a lot like Choice Three. You end up sounding like you’re the victim, and all your problems are everyone else’s fault. Choice Three is being on the brink of forcing others to either bypass you or remove you as long as you refuse to accept responsibility for failing to use your strengths. This is often where the ability to help is taken out of the hands of those who have been trying or willing to help. When Coach Whisenhunt says he has an open door policy, he probably means that if you have an issue, talk to him before you talk to the public. It’s a big leap from here to being on board, but it can happen with a commitment to seek assistance in working on it.

Matt: Well, it’s like I told the reporters, I’ve done all I can at this point and I can’t worry about anything I can’t control. I’ll just keep grinding and keep working.

Sande: Matt, I really want you to experience success. I’m going to wrap this up with a little story. Many years ago Sister #2, Wende Wylie (yes we’re really sisters, no we’re not Nuns), was on her way to a wonderful career in the Fire Service. During her training to become a firefighter she was getting started as a volunteer with a department in a small coastal community in Northern California.

At a gathering, Keith, a full time paid firefighter in the department, was verbally challenging Wende about his concern that she was strong enough for the physical challenges of the job. Keith, with all his 6’, 220 pounds of bravado stated, “When you can carry me up that flight of stairs I will believe you can save me and I’ll accept you as a firefighter.” Wende, 5’5 and more than 70 pounds lighter, walked up to Keith, maneuvered him onto her shoulder, carried him up the 14 step flight of stairs, and unceremoniously dumped him at the top. “Keith, she said, “I can save you. The question is, will I?

Matt, the “I can, but will I?” question is important when we think about how people treat each other and the confidence they have in each other. Just as the need for Wende to prove her capabilities were realistic, the need for you to continue to prove yours to your coach and the team are realistic too. Please exit the whining zone and put your talent where your mouth is.

-End-

For more information on The Sisters, or the Urgent Care Coaching Hotline, contact Sande Roberts at SandeRoberts@mac.com or 480-748-5527. Visit The Sisters website: www.RealLifeSkillsWorkshops.com. The Sisters are consultants, strategists and trainers specializing in relationship and communication dynamics.

You Ask, We Answer

June 9th, 2010

The Sisters are always available to help anyone who asks. On this page we will answer your questions or give coaching and resources for any circumstances in your life.  Feel free to email us with your questions or circumstances from the CONTACT US page. We’ll also notify you on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn when we have new posts.