To Succeed, Keep Your Organization Honest


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Honest organizations are more successful. At least that’s the conclusion reached by Halley Bock, CEO and President of Fierce, Inc. In a recent article, she cites a 2010 Corporate Executive study that found companies encouraging honest feedback among their staff delivered 270 percent more on 10-year total shareholder returns than other companies. An astonishing difference, but why would honest companies be more profitable?

Fierce conducted its own investigation into the issue, and uncovered some interesting findings. After surveying more than 1,400 executives and employees, Fierce found that an overwhelming 99 percent of professionals preferred a workplace where employees were able to discuss issues truthfully. But more surprising, the survey found that 70 percent of the respondents believed a lack of honesty negatively impacted their company’s ability to perform, supporting the Corporate Executive Board’s findings.

So how can companies become more truthful? Surely, all leaders want their staff to feel as if they can tell the truth, but open and honest workplaces don’t happen organically.

Keep a Running Dialogue

One way to encourage honesty, Bock says, is through social networks. While most organizations try to be transparent, they often get caught in the trap of “terminal niceness,” or attempting to be politically correct at all times so as not to offend employees. While this is a well-intentioned approach toward maintaining a civil work environment, it is actually counterproductive. Bock argues that employees desire communication that more closely resembles social networking. What employees want, it seems, is a candid, running dialogue between managers, employees and coworkers.

Don’t Sugarcoat Issues

Another method Bock suggests to increase openness in the workplace is direct communication. In other words, don’t sugarcoat the issue. Some employers may think that cushioning a difficult conversation with compliments or small talk will alleviate tension, when in fact, it can complicate a delicate situation.

For instance, rather than telling an employee “We’re concerned about your attendance rate. Please try to see what you can do to remedy it,” Bock recommends being more direct, saying something like, “Our records show that you’ve been absent five times in the last two months. This exceeds the allotted three personal days we allow our employees, and any additional days you take off will be docked from your salary. If you are absent in excess of eight days, we’ll have to let you go. Please inform us if there is a personal or medical issue and we can try to determine the best way to address the situation.

If organizations want to avoid the communication stalemate that often results from politically correct communications, they should develop mechanisms to support clear communication with employees. Set aside a time once a month where staff can discuss their questions and concerns with supervisors. Encourage open communication. Accept even negative commentary as a way to improve your organization. After all, no organization ever improved without some constructive criticism and an open mind.

This guest post was contributed by Erin Osterhaus of Software Advice, a website that presents buyer’s guides, product profiles and customer reviews of talent management systems. To read the original article and others on talent management strategies, visit The New Talent Times.

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Accountability: Raising the Bar of Personal #Integrity


Business woman with a group

Accountability is first and foremost one’s responsibility to measure personal standards of living by evaluating behaviors through a Biblical filter, then realigning oneself to expected standards of righteousness. This is accomplished in many ways. Too many people would rather forego accountability and live independent lives; this was not God’s intention from the beginning (Genesis 3:7-11 & 4:5-13). We are to live in community with God and others, affecting and challenging each other’s lives. The purpose of Christian accountability is to walk before God in holiness. There are many methods available to secure credibility and restore integrity, the following five cornerstones of Christian accountability do just that.

1. Conscience (Self-Awareness)

A speaker once asked the audience in a seminar I attended, “Where did you get your conscience?” Silence filled the room. When no brave soul responded, the speaker answered his own question, “You acquire your conscience from your parents?” He then explained himself, “Parents are the primary source of moral teaching.” Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition, or judgment of the intellect that distinguishes right from wrong.[i] Do you remember being corrected for certain things you said or did as a child? You bet you can. We carry these moral bearings introduced first by our parents throughout life; they are very much part of what shapes our conscience. When we attempt something outside these moral teachings an internal code embedded within brings awareness to our poor decision-making.

2. Conviction (Spirit Awareness)

Another method of Christian accountability is the “conviction” of the Holy Spirit. Conviction is the quickening of your mind and spirit that something you are about to undertake is inappropriate. An interesting aspect of conviction is that you feel a strong impression within to do the right thing. The Spirit presents or reveals an exit sign directing you to do the right thing. Sometime ago I purchased one of my favorite High School albums (this is 30 years after High School). I just wanted to hear some music from the good ‘ol days. At the time of purchase I didn’t think much of it. When I heard a certain song lyric I felt a strong conviction override me. I was stricken and grieved within my spirit. As soon as I arrived to my house I threw the c.d. away, and asked God to forgive me. I came to understand this album represented my old life; the one I walked away from to follow Christ. The Holy Spirit was not pleased with a certain lyric, and made me aware of His sentiments.

3. Community (Saintly Love)

We cannot avoid a conversation about accountability without discussing community. You and I belong to many communities; family, ethnic group, the workplace, neighborhood, and other associations. The most important community, in my opinion, is the faith community; the house of worship you and I attend on a weekly basis. The loving and caring relationships within this community bring accountability to our lives.

One day as I shared this insight with a friend at church. At mid-stream he stopped me and shared a story with me. On the previous Sunday, for some reason, he decided to attend an earlier service, missing his usual service time at 11 a.m. The people he would usually connect with on a Sunday morning noticed his absence. So later on that afternoon he received a few phone calls from those church members asking about his whereabouts. The people he had come to know and love where simply concerned about him. Community is crucial for your wellbeing. In a community you have people who love and care about you and are willing to ask about your life, most importantly to align your life.

4. Communion (Sacramental Grace)

The Sacrament of communion is a personal confrontation of one’s life in the presence of Christ Himself; a sacred act of introspection, evaluation and confession. No one else is involved in this spiritual practice but you and God. According to Scripture, prior to receiving communion:

A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.”

This is a powerful and dreadful statement. The writer goes on to say,

That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep [a metaphor for passing away]. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.”[ii]

Communion, therefore, starts by confronting self, by going into the private recesses of our mind and inner spirit, inviting Christ to probe deep inside for the purpose of revealing shortcomings in my personal walk with Him. Also in this process, we take a look back to remind ourselves of His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection; the price he paid for our sins to remind ourselves that we now belong to Him. We are also reminded of His return, which means that between His death and His second coming you and I must live holy lives, pleasing to Him.

5. Correction (Sages and Seers)

Correction is the final component of Christian accountability. This is where your pastors, the sages and seers, in your faith community come into play. The writer of Hebrews notes,

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account,” [iii]

Pastors, mentors and ministry leaders are “sages and seers” who are part of your spiritual development. You must allow them access to your pesonal life from time to time, because they impart wisdom and insights into your life bringing you to another level of spiritual order and operation. After all, faithful are the wounds of a friend, right?

These five tools to bring accountability to our lives are meant to realign us to right living. One thing is for sure, we will have no excuse when we stand before our Maker. He has provided you and I with at least five accountability mechanisms so we can walk uprightly before Him each and every day.

Is there another form of Christian accountability? Are any of these five new to you?

Endnotes:

[i] Wikipedia: Conscience, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscience, accessed 1.11.11.
[ii] 1 Corinthians 11:28-31 (NIV).
[iii] Hebrews 13:17 (NIV)
[iv] Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

Latino Townhall’s Top 25 #LatinoQuotes for #2013 – Part I


I’m currently writing a book on Leadership… and these are some thoughts that have surfaced during the first part of 2013:

Joined in business

“Leaders develop foresight by fostering skills in perception and knowledge.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 1st 2013)

“A leader is the first one to show up and the last one to leave; the one who inspires as well as perspires.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 2nd 2013)

“Passion is possessing an extreme focus and dedication towards achieving a goal.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 3rd 2013)

“A masterful leader exerts influence for the purpose of transformation through collaborative effort.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 5th 2013)

“Eternity is just not a place reserved for us; it lives in our hearts and expresses itself through deeds done to others.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 5th 2013)

“You were created as a mystery; an unfolding story revealed through time.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 10th 2013)

“Vision is an invitation to live a stimulating life.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 10th 2013)

“Passion is evident when optimum energy is released, and dynamic synergy is increased.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 11th 2013)

“Leaders enlarge the Kingdom within to influence the world throughout.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 12th 2013)

“The wise shut up long enough for all the stupid people to stop talking.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 12th 2013)

“Leaders create unrestrained atmospheres where followers feel engaged to rise above their limitations.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 26th 2013)

“Influence is a gift and a study; it is acquired through learning and nurtured by growing.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 27th 2013)

“Leaders dwell in the realm called “above and beyond”, making the extraordinary look common.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 27th 2013)

“Leadership is reflecting the values others want in themselves, then communicating a vision commensurate with those values.” –Joel Garcia (Jan. 29th 2013)

“The leader who offers help gives hope.” –Joel Garcia (Feb. 1st 2013)

“Significance means, ‘I matter, and have value.’ Purpose is when my journey matters and adds value to others.” –Joel Garcia (Feb. 6th 2013)

“A promise is an intangible, until you connect it to a source who can fulfill that promise.” –Joel Garcia (Feb. 8th 2013)

“The critical factor in personal development is not what a leader learns but what he or she unlearns in the process of learning.” –Joel Garcia (Feb. 10th 2013)

“Chaos is the absence of wisdom.” –Joel Garcia (Feb. 12th 2013)

“Influence is the transfer of trust, and with that trust comes power.” –Joel Garcia (Feb. 14th 2013)

“If it’s not yours in the first place, you’ve got nothing to lose.” –Joel Garcia (Feb. 17th 2013)

“Transition is the ability to perceive change coming, to pause and understand its significance and adapt to it.” –Joel Garcia (Feb. 22 2013)

“Leaders who walk in integrity live in controversy.” –Joel Garcia (Feb. 25th 2013)

“A leader’s quest is to turn challenges into solutions.” –Joel Garcia (March 16, 2013)

“Competent leaders create stable and secure working environments.” –Joel Garcia (March 16, 2013)

___________

Please feel free to copy and paste wherever you like… note, I’ve added the date only to remember the date I came up with these original quotes. I google all my quotes to ensure I am not infringing on anyone’s thoughts, ideas or quotes.

Are You Having An Emotional Affair?


“A touch creates heat, heat creates a spark, and a spark turns into a fire.”
-Rev. Paul Goulet, Senior Leader ~ International Church of Las Vegas

It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to tell you that you’re having an emotional affair at work. Those who are having one should know better yet they continue in their risky behavior, thinking they can get by undetected and unscathed. According to Gail Saltz:

Emotional cheating (with an “office husband or wife”) steers clear of physical intimacy, but it does involve secrecy, deception, and therefore betrayal. People enmeshed in nonsexual affairs preserve their “deniability,” convincing themselves they don’t have to change anything. That’s where they’re wrong.”[i]

It’s this “deniability” that blinds them, and sooner or later, their clandestine affair is exposed. Emotional affairs are more prevalent in the workplace than you may think. In a study looking at infidelity statistics in the United States, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy revealed 15 percent of wives and 25 percent of husbands engage in sexual relationships outside of marriage. That’s quite alarming by itself, but when emotional affairs are thrown into the equation, the numbers jump by more than 20 percent. In this day and age, it seems no relationship is safe from an affair. Emotional affairs at work tend to make up a large percentage of these numbers, and some research shows over 50 percent of opposite sex, work friendships end up turning into something more. [ii]

I remember sitting in a meeting with a high profile public leader, discussing his embarrassing exposure. The affair started subtly until they were alone and the rest is history. Once exposed it was a BIG disappointment to all involved. An emotional affair starts with a simple wink, then a compliment, an accidental bump in the hallway, and an innuendo here and there. Then all the sudden strong “feelings” take over and an uncontrollable urge and curiosity sets in to experiment further. Boundaries are then tested until it’s too late, you’ve gone over a boundary line. So what actually is an “emotional affair”? An emotional affair is an affair of the heart and mind, where a person sends subtle messages to another conveying a playful purpose yet keeping the relationship secretive in nature. If you want to know you are having an emotional affair at work, take the following assessment:

An Emotional Affair Assessment:

Is it your custom to…

  1. ask a particular person of the opposite sex out to lunch or coffee?

  2. purposefully go “out of your way” to talk to someone of the opposite sex each day?

  3. have closed door meetings with a person of the opposite sex?

  4. share marital problems or details about your marriage to the opposite sex that your spouse would not want others to know?

  5. look forward to seeing a particular person of the opposite sex at work each day?

  6. playfully text or email a particular person of the opposite sex on a regular basis?

  7. use innuendo language with a person of the opposite sex?

  8. be consumed in thought about a particular person of the opposite sex during or after work hours?

  9. inappropriately touch someone of the opposite sex at work by rubbing up against them or hip bumping in the hallway?

  10. write a private message to someone of the opposite sex, whom you happen to work with, on Facebook, Twitter, etc., without your spouse’s knowledge 

– If you answered 2 in the affirmative, you maybe a little misguided or just a big flirt, be careful!

– If you answered between 3 to 4 questions in the affirmative you’re in serious danger or on the boderline of having an emotional affair, and need to reconsider your boundaries before something more serious happens.

– If you answered 5 or more questions in the affirmative, then you are having an emotional affair at work, and need to reassess your behavior; seek counseling or speak with a mentor.

What boundaries can you design (personally or in policy form) to curtail an emotional affair in your workplace? Does your workplace have a code of ethicis in place addressing this type of behavior?

Footnotes:
[i] Could you be having an emotional affair? By Gail Saltz, May 21st, 2009.
[ii] Emotional Cheating Signs – Could These Be Signs Of An Affair? Monday, February 21st, 2011.