Good Things Happen When You Lead From Your Values

I recently had the opportunity to interview Stan Slap, CEO and author of The New York Times best selling book: Bury My Heart in Conference Room B.

He asks: Did you ever imagine that when you were 15, or 18, or 22 and swore that you were going to live your life your way, to the fullest, that you would ever be in a discussion where someone was encouraging you to do that and you were hesitant, fearful and unsure about whether you should?

Stan challenges all of us to lead from our own deepest values. He talked about allowing yourself to live those values at work. You only get one life, and the clock is ticking. So why wouldn’t you?

Personal values drive corporate performance: There is nothing like emotional commitment in managers and employees to fuel corporate performance. You’ve seen it. You’ve felt it. When someone is emotionally committed to a cause nothing can get in their way.

So why is it so hard for companies to get emotional commitment?

Emotional commitment is what companies want most from their managers but the very concept of being a manager often means having to serve your company over your own values.

So what companies want most from their managers (emotional commitment and increased performance), they most stop their managers from giving. Stan explains that it’s not “the company”, that is the reason for this. It is the managers themselves.

Why do managers stand in the way of their own emotional fulfillment?

Because it’s uncomfortable initially to expose who you really are and what you really care about at work, or you may not think your company deserves your emotional commitment. But Stan challenged us to consider that the cost of emotional detachment (lack of fulfillment and poor performance) is even bigger.

He shared some fascinating insights from his research with tens of thousands of managers:

When asked, “What are your core values?” the two things that came up more often than anything else, were family and integrity. When asked, “What core values do you find work most compromises?” the top two answers were family and integrity.  Yikes!

Stan gave us the roadmap:

  1. Understand your core values;
  2. Share them with your team;
  3. Show your team why bringing them into work makes life better for them;
  4. Encourage them to bring their core values to work;
  5. The emotional commitment will greatly increase your team’s performance;
  6. Your company responds well to increased performance.

This fuels corporate performance. Leading from your own deepest core values is going to increase your performance, and the performance of the company.

Don’t wait for permission or sanction for this to come from above.

Many people are angry and frustrated and resentful about how badly their companies are treating them.  So why would you want to give your emotional commitment to your company?

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You don’t do this for company. You do this for yourself.

Make a commitment to yourself to be more fulfilled by leading from your values. Do it for yourself and your team. Good things will happen.

We talked about how this approach engenders remarkable levels of emotional commitment support from your team. I can personally vouch for this. It works.

Stories of loyalty

Stan told a fascinating story about a woman who drew her core value of loyalty from a horrific experience in her past going to a segregated school in the South. There are many remarkable stories in his book about how people discover their core values.

What are your core values? What are your moments of truth? Who are you really? What do you care about at the deepest level? How would it feel if that person was welcome at work?

Download the podcast with Stan Slap to learn more. And, get Stan’s book for more.

Thanks Stan, it was great!

This article was originally published on Patty Azzarello’s Business Leadership blog.

Patty Azzarello is the founder and CEO of Azzarello Group. She's also an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/business advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35, and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk). You can find her at patty@azzarellogroup.com .

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