What Does it Take to Cultivate The Best?

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You can’t change anyone else but people do change in relationship to your change. All relationships are a system, and when any one part of a system changes, it affects the other parts.”

Jack Canfield, Author Chicken Soup for the Soul

Trustworthiness. We want people to be good citizens in life and work and this only happens when trustworthiness is the #1 priority. When it is, the best is assured because resolving all unresolved issues between people is foundational. Here’s a story to illustrate: A friend went a year without a job. When she finally landed a new one, she was relieved and grateful because in general, the new organization treated her well. She had been there about a year when another company began to woo her away. I asked her, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you at your current company?” She scored it an 8. I asked her, “What would make it a 10?” She said, “Well, my boss said he’d meet with me a few months ago to discuss my performance and offer me a raise but he did not. Also, I am not being given enough work and the work I have is not challenging, so I’m bored.” She ended up taking the new job, feeling guilt over leaving the first company because she put them in a lurch after they’d prepared her for months to lead an important, upcoming project.

If she was personally responsible for her relationships, and had social interest (was thoughtful about what she was causing others), she would have noticed the score of 8 and taken steps to resolve the issues. If the company was personally responsible for the same, they would have a structure in place to check in with her (we promote monthly in mentoring) and also would have averted this situation. Because trustworthiness between people was not a priority, what was minor (an 8) turned into a major challenge. The organization unexpectedly lost a key player they needed, and my friend failed to manage relationships with her authority figure, which has cost her in being an effective authority figure in the new job she accepted. Trust with self and others are both required for success.

Resolving Challenges. Here’s another story. Two high paid consultants were working in a multi-national company. They were brilliant in their field but so hostile the client called the consulting company to say, “You have to do something about your two consultants. They are bright but so hostile to each other that it’s keeping them from being their best for our teams. The consulting company called me in. I told the consultants we were going to begin by assessing their trustworthiness. They immediately balked and indicated they thought this was a waste of time. I asked them to write down the number they would give the relationship between them. One scored it a 1 and the other a 2. I said, “You guys are like a car driving down the street on fire and you’d just like to pretend it’s not happening.” What was even more interesting (and common) is that one of them looked at the 8 values that build (or break) trust and said, “I’m only breaking 2 of these and he’s breaking 7.” He said, “I’m only breaking 1 and she’s breaking 6.” This is what happens when things get this bad. We puff up our virtues and inflate the faults of others.

Healthy Systems. To maintain and build upon a foundation of trustworthiness, an organization must have a healthy system that includes development of leadership in all their people simultaneously. Then each becomes responsible for managing their social and emotional wellbeing, their relationships, productivity, engagement, purpose, values, visions, goals, procedures, roles, and their overall progress plan. A healthy system is purpose and values-based, and promotes high freedom WITH high responsibility. People learn to lead AND follow as needs dictate and they share power in mutually respectful and supportive ways.  Such a system fosters critical thinking, caring, collaboration, psychological safety, emotional and social intelligence, and personal responsibility. This is only possible when everyone adopts a common set of concepts, terms, tools, and processes to manage the above.

Consistent, Effective Support. In addition to prioritizing trustworthiness, and putting in place a robust, immersive, healthy system, it is also vital to understand the kind of support needed within this system. People are usually open to learning new information. The real challenge is in getting them to set intentions to manage themselves and their relationships. Changed behavior requires not only knowledge and courage, it requires practice and support. When the organization keeps the new practices alive through integration into the operations, and supports mentoring every month, people learn how to keep the new concepts, terms, tools, and processes front-and-center, which makes all the difference to their mastery. If you want the best from yourself and those you lead, we help you to create all of this. Call us today!

As published in the column The Extraordinary Workplace, in the St. Louis Small Business Monthly, November 2023

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Business owners and executives, community leaders, parents, educators and individuals hire LifeWork Systems because they know that effective conditions and conversations make all the difference in building trusting relationships, achieving dreams, and creating solutions and innovations for our evolving world. When people are happy and responsible, emotionally and socially intelligent, confident, and appropriately seen, heard, and supported, they always exceed expectations. We help instill into every person common concepts, terms, tools, and processes that result in healthy, happy, caring and contributing individuals, teams and organizations. Our mission is to create a world in which all people love their lives!

We appreciate you being here on our website and encourage you to reach out to us directly at info@lifeworksystems.com or  314.239.4727. May something we offered in this article and website help you love YOUR life ~ because YOU matter!

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