Each Friday, I send a “Follow Up Friday” reminder. It allows me to reflect on the actions I’ve seen leaders taking during the week.
This week, I’ve been thinking about values.
Stress Allows Us To Discover Values
As we continue to be disrupted in this global pandemic, our systems are being stressed. Our relationships are being upended. Our emotions are often unpredictable.
It’s easy to get distracted with that. Just trying to survive. Like a long-term game of Whack-a-Mole, we try dealing with whatever pops up.
In that distraction, we risk missing something that is staring us in the face: what our daily choices say about our values.
What Do Your Actions Reveal About Your Values?
Talking with leaders this week, I’ve heard some say that despite working from home, they’re feeling further from the people in their house.
I’ve heard others say that during this pandemic, they’re making the connections with clients and donors they should have been making all along. The connections they were hired to make. One even said, “I feel like I’m doing my job for the first time in years.”
Others say they are not able to let themselves slow down. It’s as though they are passengers on the bus of their business, helplessly watching it careen down the highway. Still others say they feel like they aren’t able to make any progress at all.
Take a moment and reflect on your week. Nonjudgmentally observe:
- your schedule
- your feelings
- and your talk – both about others and your self-talk.
What are they revealing about you?
Do your actions and thoughts line up with what you say you value?
If you can, do this without judgement. Try not to berate yourself for being at home working nonstop and not seeing your family. Nor for feeling like every day is a hard slog of lack of ability to care.
What are your actions, emotions, and words revealing about your values? And about how your systems line up with your values?
Values Alignment Can Be Tweaked
Some leaders are realizing that, for the first time, they are taking time to learn about their team. They always said they valued their team, but their actions really showed they valued their team’s output. Not the members themselves. This time is helping them press into their original value – valuing their team.
There’s nothing wrong with valuing the work a person produces. But if you say you value your people, how are you showing it right now?
The leader working at home but feeling distanced realized she might not need to be on all the Zoom calls with colleagues. One lunch this week, she chose to play cards with her spouse. That small, 15 minute investment of time was like pouring water on the dehydrated plant of her picture of herself. She now had certainty that she was spending time with her family too.
The leaders saying they’re finally doing the jobs they were hired to do are now asking, “Why couldn’t we do this at work?” They’re on a journey of figuring out what was filling up their time. And what they might be able to stop doing in the future so they can continue to build the relationships with customers and donors that they’re now developing.
And the leaders that are struggling with going too fast or not going at all are listening for what “success” or “a good day” means for them. Once they know that, they’ll be able to, possibly, slow down or speed up in ways they need.
And leaders everywhere are being challenged to be clear on what is core to their mission…and what might need to be pruned.
Not Pretty – Just Pretty Messy
Times of stress aren’t pretty. They bring all sorts of things to the forefront – good things and ugly things.
But in the midst of the stress, keys to their personal or organizational growth are being unearthed. Keys that have been buried under the leaves and dirt of day-to-day normal life.
These keys can be easy to walk by. If you can, this week, try to look around you. Look to see if one of those keys is right out there in the open. If it is, pick it up. Find out what it unlocks.