By ANN ELLIOTT
We all experience fear. The hallmarks of fear include turf protection, creating chaos, micromanaging, blaming, and reacting to the crisis de jour. When the culture absorbs and reflects these patterns, at least in part, the culture is based on fear.
The remedy is courage. The French word, Coeur, means heart. It is the root word of courage. Let’s look at how John Kotter, professor at Harvard Business School, sees courage.
John Kotter says in Fast Company (September 2004) “What we label as courage is a strong emotional commitment—and the key word is emotional—to some ideas.” He goes on to say that these ideas can be expressed as the vision where you intend to take your enterprise, important values in life, or principles of what is right and wrong.
The ideals to which you have an emotional commitment give a solid place to stand. Expect barriers that impede your progress to arise. The stronger your commitment to these ideals, the more likely are you to take action consistently aligned with those ideals according to Kotter.
Use these guidelines to strengthen your company:
1. Define the values for your company. Operate based on these values. Use them for making decisions at all levels in the company.
2. Ask your team what their non-negotiable personal values are. When your employees can live their values in the work place, you create a stronger company. Hiring and retaining good employees is easier because they have an emotional connection to the work they do everyday.
3. Examine honestly how your business operates. If your words and your deeds do not align, take steps to change it. For example, if you claim that you value a family friendly workplace but you expect your employees to work 60-hour weeks regardless of family priorities, what you say and what you do are not aligned.
4. Act for the love of something. Engage your company in working FOR something you collectively value. When employees are passionate and committed to something, they are inspired more easily to work to achieve the result.
Remember the power of small, consistent decisions and actions aligned with your personal and corporate values – the things to which you have an emotional connection. Despite inevitable roadblocks, small intentional actions move you closer to the vision that you intend to create together. With the courage to persevere, finding your way around roadblocks is easier.