Live your values: Know my values, know me.
Courageous people don’t just profess values; they practice their values, even when it’s inconvenient and uncomfortable. Courageous people are not silent, and they do not willfully turn a blind eye to issues that challenge their values. If there is a disconnect between values espoused and values practiced, integrity suffers and hypocrisy surges.
From a corporate perspective, most companies have a list of some very similar and often lofty values. Yet only about 10 percent of companies have operationalized their values into teachable and measurable behaviors. The only way to practice and live professed values is to define and operationalize each value into two or three behaviors that serve as accountability measures.
Values operationalized create boundaries for actions, choices and decisions. Values help determine where people dedicate passions, platforms, privilege, voice and time. Values define what is acceptable and what is not; there is no compromising.
Growing trust: Trust is a must.
For many, trust-building is a soft or secondary competency. But in reality, trust is the one thing that changes and impacts everything, from connection, collaboration, contribution and performance to psychological safety and engagement. To create engaged, high performing teams, trust is not a nice to have; trust is a must. When trust is high, people are more willing to embrace dangerous work, step into the arena, go the extra mile and speak up and do whatever it takes to create sustainable, measurable improvements.
A common flaw that happens during times of change and crisis is to demand trust from your people. “Trust me on this!” But trust cannot be summoned with a command. Trust is built incrementally, over time, and often by small and consistent gestures of interest and care.
On The Dare to Lead™ team, we use the Marble Jar as a trust metaphor, suggesting that every small gesture of care and interest earns you a marble of trust in the relationship. But beware, if someone undercuts, bullies betrays or dismisses a colleague, friend or family member, it will bruise, even blow trust. In those cases, it’s not just one marble lost – it’s a handful.
The very best workplaces are grounded and guided by common values, a shared vision and a solid foundation of trust.
3. Build a culture that promotes unbiased opportunity, inclusion and fairness for all
Double down on offering mentorships, sponsorships and systems for revealing intentional and unintentional bias.
Here are a couple of examples to borrow from:
JPMorgan Chase & Co launched a “30-5-1” campaign that encourages employees to set aside 30 minutes a week to have coffee with a talented woman colleague, five minutes a week to recognize a woman colleague’s success and one minute a week to share that success with others at the firm.
Sodexo launched “mentoring circles” – small groups that offered multiple perspectives, collaborative learning and advanced supportive and engaging networks. Mentoring circles are a progressive deviation from the more traditional approach of one-on-one mentoring. Small groups of women from entry-level to mid-level managers meet monthly to identify high-potential women in operational roles and work with them on advancing. The high potential women can then take part in a year-long one-on-one mentorship program.
Sodexo also uses scorecards to hold their managers accountable for efforts in diversity and inclusion. At Sodexo, 10% of a manager’s bonus is tied to their scorecard. Managers can score up to 600 points for hiring, promoting and retaining more women and under-represented groups. Managers can also earn an extra 400 points when they demonstrate inclusive leadership by advancing any one of their programs designed to improve bias and inclusion.
In 2016, Nordstrom set a bold goal of increasing representation in their leadership to better reflect the company’s consumer base, which is 70% women. To kick-start the initiative and get senior buy-in, executives took part in a “conscious inclusion” program to better understand how bias plays out in the workplace. Executives lead initiatives designed to drive progress related to hiring and bias in four critical business pillars: talent, culture, marketplace and leadership.
Nordstrom deserves applause; from 2016 to 2019, women in the C-suite grew from 7% to 40%, in SVP roles from 49% to 63% and on the board from 17% to 46%.
SunTrust hosts “Day of Understanding” workshops to grow understanding, awareness and appreciation for differences and diversity in the workplace. The workshops are also helpful in exposing possible microaggressions. Microaggressions are everyday slights rooted in bias (unintentional and intentional) ranging from:
- Having your judgment questioned
- Being overlooked for promotion
- Being talked over in a meeting or a conference call
- Being overlooked for a career opportunity of any kind
- Being mistaken for a more junior worker
- Being compensated less than a male colleague in an equivalent role
- Not being invited or included in a meeting, function, conference or event
Microaggressions are rooted in bias, both intentional and unintentional. When microaggressions are left unexposed or tolerated, culture suffers. Disrespect, exclusion, harassment and incivility grow while trust, engagement, performance and loyalty tank.