Why It’s Important to State Who We Are

Who are we?
What do we stand for?
How do we act?

Every year about this time, I take time off to recharge, renew, refresh, think about the past 12 months, and prepare for the coming year.

It’s my time. A time for gratitude and for a lot of quiet, and thoughtful reflection.

I finished up work on Friday, December 21st, and started my annual exercise a few days later. And as I reflected on what has been a tough and at the same time, rewarding year, a question came crashing into my head.

As Leaders why do we take for granted that our Teams know answers to questions we haven’t taken time time to specifically and directly ask?

These questions are so much more important than other basic questions we do ask. They deserve direct, definitive and declarative answers. The answers should most definitely not be assumed. Not if we desire to have successful outcomes, and healthy self sufficient and well functioning teams.

I realized that if I asked our team to answer these questions, I would most likely get answers that were all over the map. So after giving the questions some thought, I created a list of 20 declarations that in my mind clearly and definitively stated the answers to these 3 important questions:

Who are we?
What do we stand for?
How do we act?

A bit about my team. Most of us have been together for a long time. Some 8 years, some 5 or more, and a few at least 2 years. We know each other really well. Like old gloves you slip on easily and comfortably. We complement each other well. Have been through a lot. And we have been successful.

So I was fairly certain that these twenty declarations of who we were, what we stood for and how we acted would serve as a primer for discussion and debate. And that in the end, we would end up with a manifesto that most clearly defined and communicated our intent.

And that this end product would serve us well for 2019 and beyond in 3 ways:

  1. As a set of guiding principles to live by
  2. As a communication method to make it clear to anyone we interacted with and served, what we were about and what they could expect from us
  3. As an orientation message for any newcomers to our team

So I share these twenty with you. Perhaps as food for thought. Maybe even influence you to do the same with your team. Or perhaps to cause you to tell me I’m doing too much reflecting and ruminating, and it’d be better to just enjoy the holidays!

Well, the latter ain’t gonna happen! Oh, I’ll enjoy the holidays all right. But I will finish up my reflections on 2018 and prepare for 2019. It’s just my practice and nature. Like putting on an old glove!

So here are the twenty declarations…

1) We are a Global Team — we work globally, understanding, appreciating and embracing multicultural and geographical differences and diversity.

2) We understand and clearly communicate our Vision and Mission. We totally understand our Purpose and reason for being. as a result, our behavior, our walk, will always be aligned with this talk -

“To Continuously Deliver a Functionally Rich, Cost Effective, Easy to Use, Stable, Integrated, and Supportable Technology “Ecosystem” that drives Value for our Stakeholders”.

3) Our shared Core Values are important and drive the way we act and behave. Those values are the platform we stand on every day. They are:

a) Integrity

b) Honesty

c) Accountability

d) Transparency

e) Creativity and Affordable Elegance

f) Consistent and Timely Delivery

g) World Class Excellence

h) Agility and Flexibility

i) Loyalty — to each other, our leadership, and our stakeholders

j) Personal and Team Competence and Mastery

This document espouses and supports these values.

4) We welcome the opportunity to participate in establishing the organization’s mission, strategy, goals and priorities. We listen to and take direction from Leadership and the business once our direction has been established and communicated. We act in a purposeful and empowered way in order to move ahead and make progress towards our joint goals.

5) We value all people as individuals and show them civility and respect. We actively encourage and engage in excellent relationships. People matter to us.

6) We are grateful for what we have been given — our families, health, heritage, the organization we belong to, our Team, our economic well being, our rich and rewarding roles, and the skills to have accomplished so much throughout our careers. We are thankful and show this gratitude every day.

7) We listen empathetically, so we may thoroughly understand and appreciate the other person’s point of view, their problems, issues, ideas, thoughts, difficulties, challenges and opportunities. We never talk over people, jump to conclusions, or shoot from the hip. And we never divert the conversation with our own story, dialog or success stories.

8) We are members of a great Team. We are great colleagues. We behave collegially. We coach, mentor, support and assist each other. Our belief is that Team success is more important than individual success. It is only when the Team wins that the individual wins. We use words like Our, Us, We instead of I, Me and My, and Mine. We take collective credit as well as responsibility.

9) Our maniacal focus is on our constituents and their success through effective and efficient solutions and answers to problems. Specifically, for our Stakeholders we look for solutions that increase guest traffic and profitability, improve the guest experience and help them to be more efficient and effective operators. For our other partners, including Company Staff, we look for solutions and answers so they may do the same and become more effective and efficient.

10) The Guest is our ultimate reason to exist. A World Class Guest Experience of excellent service, and satisfaction, to the complete delight of our Guests is what will keep people coming back to do business with us. We never forget about helping our stakeholders delight and focus on the Guest.

11) We act with the utmost integrity. We are always honest, straightforward, and forthright in our communications, transactions and discussions. Our word is our bond.

12) We communicate succinctly and clearly. There is never any intent to hide, obfuscate, spin the message, or bend the truth. Honesty is a non-negotiable trait for us. We do not hide bad news.

13) We follow up and follow through. We do not drop the ball. We return phone calls, messages and emails promptly. We can be counted on. When there is a need to be unavailable due to other commitments, we make alternative arrangements so that we make good on this promise.

14) Our mantra is Under Promise and Over Deliver. We never mislead or act in an overly optimistic manner. We set appropriate expectations, we commit to delivery of answers and solutions, and then we meet our commitments. When circumstances arise that may cause us to miss a commitment, we communicate the circumstances quickly and clearly and establish a revised and mutually agreeable commitment.

15) We are problem solvers not problem makers. We never state a problem without bringing to the table proposed solutions and potential answers.

16) We are owners of what we should own. We are accountable. Accountability is also non-negotiable for us. When we get a problem from someone, we continue to own it and follow through until it is resolved. We do not place blame on others, or on the universe.

17) We are Continuous Improvement oriented. We get to Root Cause on problems. Our goal is to prevent recurrence of problems and difficulties, which is costly and wasteful.

18) We continuously learn about our industry, technology and our business. We seek mastery of our craft. We strive to become Subject Matter Experts that can be relied on to deliver creative and workable solutions.

19) We seek to simplify the complex. To make the complicated understandable and operational. To enable our partners with easy to understand and use ideas, solutions and technology.

20) We stand for Operational Excellence. We believe in delivering reliable, available, responsive, scalable, and functionally rich solutions that drive value for our stakeholders.

It’s important to ask the right questions first. And don’t assume the whole team knows the answers. I’ll expect their reaction to these declarations over the next week or so.

Right after the first of the year, we will finalize this manifesto, officially declaring our intent. Communicate it to all of our stakeholders and constituents, and then operationalize it.

How about you? How will you start 2019?

This is a Simple Leadership Lesson. Visit my publication Simple and Practical Leadership and follow me for more short, useful, and practical Leadership Wisdom.

I help Leaders bring some order to a complicated and chaotic world.

Visit my website at www.fiallo.com.

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