First off, let me define for you what I mean by a “core value.” Simply, a “core value” is a rule, principle, belief or guideline (whatever, please call it what you will!) that guides, controls and directs you in all that you say, do and think during your work day.
In this post I want to share with you some key core values that I suggest you consider adopting in your daily life as a Middle and encourage your Teamers to do the same. Now I don’t what to be too “preachy” about all of this, but these are things that I have found and adopted over my five decades as a Middle and I suggest that you consider, think about, develop, adopt and display daily. The key is displaying them; if you haven’t truly adopted them you can’t display them. Got it?
Due unto Others - Think about it any way that you choose – ethics, Karma or the Golden Rule, but I am convinced that you “reap what you sow” so I will preach that you need to treat your Teamers and others in your Organization as you would want to be treated by them. This is the first core value that you need to adopt!
“The most powerful thing you can do (and it is very powerful) to change the world, is to change your own beliefs about the nature of life, people, reality, to something more positive…and begin to act accordingly.”
- Shakti Gawain
Working in the “Flow” - The Only Way to Go! - I talked about this in my earlier post on empowering your Teamers. You must adopt this core value to always provide your Teamers with the best-possible project definition and processes to enable them to have every opportunity to work in the flow.
Always use a Project Work Plan to define and agree to the expectations for each project (again refer back to the post on empowering). Always make sure that your Teamers have the responsibility and authority to do the project and that schedules are aggressive but doable. Make sure that you provide a “panic button” for your Teamers if they get into trouble and immediate feedback on their efforts.
The reason that this is the second core value covered is that if you can get your Teamers to do the work because they want to, rather than because you want them to, it would make for a great place to work and all these other core values much easier to implement.
“Find a job you like and you add five days to every week.”
- H. Jackson Brown Jr.
The “Client” Is Always First - Please note that I didn’t say “always right.” They aren’t. And neither are you. But without the client there is no business and without the business…you know what is next, your job or one of your Teamers or the whole Organization goes down. Develop a value and a philosophy of focus on putting the client’s satisfaction first in all you and your Teamers do each day.
“So I think instead of focusing on the competition, focus on the customer.”
- Scott Cook
Run It Like Your Own Business - I got this one from two printers in an internal print shop that had been “assigned” to me during a reorganization. They had worked in the outside print world and preached the gospel of running the internal shop like “their own business!” If it needs to be done, you have to do it.
“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.”
– Mark Caine
Provide Vision, Direction and Leadership Daily - You’re the Middle. You are the leader of your Teamers. You must provide the direction, vision and leadership to all of your Teamers every day. This is not easy! You will have good days and bad days, a problem with a friend or your family, an unexpected car repair or a day you simply don’t feel well, whatever! Take a moment and look around your Organization and then ask yourself “If you don’t do this, who will?” Your Teamers are depending on you and you must deliver.
“To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.”
– Ebony Mikle
Don’t Worship Control Over Others or Technology - Over my years, I have witnessed Middles who have worshiped their control over others and technology, which led them to problems. Being in control over Teamers can be a very difficult challenge for some Middles to balance properly and can lead to problems working together. And don’t misunderstand me, I think that technology is great. But too many times it is the only solution to the problem and generally some folks like product A and other folks like product B so it gets into a bitching contest and a waste of time and sometimes it’s the process that’s the problem not the technology. Technology can also replace human skills like talking to one another face-to-face rather than with email.
“Just remember, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything and the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way.”
– Colonel Potter
Always Move Quickly – Simply, you and your Teamers don’t have time to waste in analyzing a problem to death. Gather information, study it, debate it and then make a decision and move!
“It is better to be boldly decisive and risk being wrong than to agonize at length and be right too late.”
- Marilyn Moats Kennedy
Always Look them in the Eye with Total Honesty - This can be a very difficult core value to have and display. The Organization makes an announcement that’s very unpopular for whatever the reason and you, as the Middle will have to talk with your Teamers about their concerns with total honesty about things that you might not agree with or have any control over.
“If I only had three words of advice, they would be, Tell the Truth. If I got three more words, I’d add, All the Time.”
– Randy Pausch
Your Attitude - Your “attitude” at work is the sum total of all of your core values, beliefs and teachings. It’s the karma and presence that you bring to work each day.
“Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good and bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.”
– Irving Berlin
Friends and Family - I always wanted to work with people that I could think of the same as my “friends and family.” Perhaps it’s a dream, but why not?
“One person is being open, friendly, caring, helpful, considerate, cheerful, confident, even joyful in her work, while the other is being closed, distant, uncaring, inconsiderate, grumpy even resentful of what she is doing.”
Conversations with God
By Neale Donald Walsch