What to Expect Further, or Not

While I was mulling over the 14 “Management (or Influencing) Behaviors” from my earlier post, I was pleased to come across an interview with Jim Harter from Gallup (the poll people) in Businessweek.  Gallup’s research affirms most of the same behaviors I discussed as being necessary to be successful in the new economy.

At the same time, the more I mulled over the post the more I was nagged by the lingering question, ‘Is managing people in an organization the only arena where these Influencing Behaviors can be usefully practiced?’

So I did what any “Occasional Type a” person would do (not “Type A,” though) and made up a list with various ‘relationship’ categories and tried to fill in all the entries.  I had to change the ground rules, however, because asking the more detailed question,

“Would I behave this way in this type of relationship?”

would only be useful to me.  So the Guiding Question, certainly to justify posting this exercise, thus became,

“Would this Influencing Behavior be important in this type of relationship to benefit all parties involved?”

This seemed to fit a more generic bill.  So please consider the following relationship categories and see if your responses align with my thoughts. I opted to start big and work my way down to the smallest realistic relationship we could encounter daily, and finish with a summary in table form.

Organizations

I won’t rehash my earlier post, but in taking the broader Guiding Question above, it certainly seems that all 14 Behaviors are of significant importance both to employee and management in achieving the organization’s mission and goals, providing desirable products and services, and developing a sustainable relationship for all stakeholders, all of which are +∑ outcomes.

Friends

This is a different type of category for two reasons: first, it extends beyond the organization in which we have some form of contractual (or volunteer) work arrangement, and second, unlike family, we make a concerted and conscious effort to choose our friends (or not).  So the question becomes, “Would my friends benefit by my behaving this way toward them?”

Picking friends was probably everyone’s learning experience up through high school, and after that we probably had been either knocked down and/or thrilled enough times to have a reasonably good personal Decision Making System in hand.  So, here are my thoughts on the importance of the 14 Influencing Behaviors, modified to apply to developing Friendship relationships (in the past tense, because they pertain to my own learning experience):

1)   Learn what motivates each other; establish trust.  Reasonably important.  What interested and/or motivated me also tended to interest and/or motivate them, and vice versa.  If they were selfish (-∑ behavior), we quickly parted ways.

2)   Observe each other, provide feedback.  Not actively important.  Friendship isn’t “observing,” it’s experiencing.  If we had fun together in areas of common interest, that was feedback enough.  If not, we parted ways.

3)   Treat each other fairly.  Very important.  This is a good place to practice the Golden Rule: Do unto others (your action) what you would want them to do to you (their reaction).

4)   Make each other’s life (job) easier.  Reasonably important.  It wasn’t a job, it was experiencing life, and it should be easy to relax and trust in each other’s company.  If not, say goodbye.

5)   Understand and value the rules, the Why’s and the Guidelines, both for each other’s friendship and how as friends we would interact toward others.  Reasonably important.  Friends tended to think the same way about rules and guidelines, especially when the occasion arose to ask, “Do you think we’d get caught if…?” (sigh), or other questions friends later in life might ask.

6)   Think outside the box (or better, don’t see a box).  Reasonably important, but this depends.  One doesn’t have to be creative or imaginative to be friends.  Or conniving or devious, although sometimes that’s what happens…  If you happen to “think outside the box,” who better to share it with?

7)   Taking mutual ownership, being self-motivated, taking action.  Reasonably important.  Good friends often think alike so ownership was often “ours.”  We were mutually self-motivated, and taking action (“doing something”) was part of the objective.

8)   Being transparent and communicating.  Very important.  Part of the criteria of becoming true friends was the opportunity to be open and transparent, perhaps to the point where one didn’t “need” to communicate because you already “knew” what the other was thinking.  Impressive, but sometimes dangerous…

9)   Lead from the back or alongside, and from the front if necessary.  Reasonably important.  We were in “it” together so often, that at times it was difficult to tell where was the front, side, or back.

10)  Learn “And/And,” not “Either/Or.”  Reasonably important.  Friendships usually feel like “And/And” so one rarely thinks of it.  “Either/Or” happens only during discussions, which typically get resolved, or rare disagreements which don’t.  At least right away.

11)  Provide meaningful “work” (or for friends, “time together”).  Very important.  It really is one of the main objectives.

12)  Give recognition.  Very important.  Being friends means affirming one another.  And affirmation is one of our basic human needs.

13)  Avoiding mediocrity and micromanaging.  Reasonably important.  Friends tended to bond in order to avoid what they defined as “mediocrity” (boredom, etc.).  Micromanaging was probably unknown, because drawing into it meant drawing closer to those rare disagreements.

14)  Avoid Hire’s (or Friendship’s) Remorse.  Reasonably important.  Sometimes this remorse arose when we discovered that we compromised our values and picked a friend for the wrong reasons, such as helping us look like we were in the “in crowd.”  Best to discover this sooner rather than later.

Parenting

By now you will probably begin to guess where this post is leading.  The categories are getting narrower.  But for now let’s stick with your relationship as parent to your children (preferably along with your spouse, but we’ll come to that later).  So the question now becomes, “Would my children benefit by my behaving this way toward them?”

I’ll leave to you to look back at the previous post or review the 14 Influencing Behaviors above and not go into a detailed blah blah blah again here.  Suffice it to say that I looked carefully at each of the 14 Behaviors and asked myself the Guiding Question as applied to my children and my (our) parenting, and also asked, “Could I have done better?” (Yes), and “Are we happy with how the kids turned out?” (Absolutely).

The only behavior that I thought was Reasonably Important rather than Very Important was Thinking outside the box.

For Thinking Outside the Box (applied both to the kids as well as to your spouse), it seems better to have this in your repertoire for occasional use rather than making it a daily habit.  Kids (and spouses) don’t need to be confused. At least not often.

(As for Avoiding Hire’s Remorse, or in this case Parent’s Remorse, don’t go there.)

Spouse

Now we’re down to probably the most important of the obvious relationships, where it’s ‘one-on-one’ (sic).  And yes, that’s probably not the best way to start this, so perhaps it is better described as ‘face-to-face,’ or as the Three Musketeers would say, “All for one and one for all” (even though those three were not married).   So the question is now, “Would my spouse benefit by my behaving this way toward him or her?”

Once again, all of the 14 Behaviors are important to practice well in order to have any chance at a successful long-term relationship.

As with Parenting, the only Influencing Behavior I thought was Reasonably Important rather than Very Important was Thinking Outside the Box, for the same reasons as above.

Self

Now the very interesting question becomes, “Would I benefit by my treating myself this way?”

Why, you ask, does this belong here?  For a couple of very important reasons.

First, appropriately modifying and applying these Behaviors to Knowing Yourself and becoming comfortable with Who You (honestly) Are is the foundational key for success in all your other relationships.

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”  William Shakespeare

And second, these Behaviors are the keys to identifying and developing those gifts, talents, and skills through which you are able to add value in all that you do in life, whether it be self-fulfillment, raising a family, or embarking on a successful career (see the previous guest post by John Michel).

So, you have a choice:

You can take just the first part of Shakespeare’s quote and use it as a justification to make sure you are taken care of, and slide left down the slippery slope of the Behavior curve (the last curve here) into unproductive -∑ territory, or

You can take the whole of Shakespeare’s perceptive observation and use it as the motivation to ascend the curve into the builder’s +∑ territory, and leave a legacy.

Oh yes, when I spent enough time thinking about it, about the only Influencing Behavior I thought was only Reasonably Important here was once again, Thinking Outside the Box.

Not all of us can be “creative” according to someone else’s definition, but there are areas where we most certainly can be.  Discover those.

Finale

So here’s the summary table.  I’ve added two rows, one at the top to indicate the relative size of the relationships (Tribe, Clan, Self) as these descriptors have appeared in earlier posts and will return again in the future, and the other row at the bottom to indicate how these relationships fit with the earlier Behavior Framework.

I’d be glad to hear your thoughts on these ideas.

Broader Applications of the 14 Influencing Behaviors

Relative importance of the Influencing Behavior in achieving success in Adding Value (+∑) in each (interpersonal, organizational) relationship.

– : Minorly;     x : Reasonably;     : Very

 

Tribe

Clan

Self

Influencing Behavior

Organizations

Friends

Parenting

Spouse

Self

1-Learn Motivation;
Establish Trust

×

×

X

X

X

2-Observe, Provide
Honest Feedback

X

×

X

X

X

3-Treat Everyone Fairly

X

X

X

X

X

4-Make Job (Life) Easier

X

×

X

X

X

5-Understand the Rules
(Why; Guidelines)

X

×

X

X

X

6-Think Outside the Box
(†Don’t see a Box)

X

×

×

×

×

7-Ownership, Self-
Motivation, Action

X

×

X

X

X

8-Transparency, &
Communication

X

X

X

X

X

9-Lead from the Back or
Alongside, then Front

X

×

X

X

X

10-Learn “And/And”
not “Either/Or”

X

×

X

X

X

11-Provide Meaningful
Work (or Life)

X

X

X

X

X

12-Give Recognition

X

X

X

X

X

13-Avoid Mediocrity
& Micromanaging

X

×

X

X

X

14-Avoid Hire’s Remorse

X

×

X

X

X

Behavior Framework

       <Do>

<Are 

 

†

Are>

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About Jim Edmonds

I am a husband, father, mentor, who once was a chemist turned physicist turned marketer turned executive turned missionary turned professor. And survived it all.
This entry was posted in 09: Doing, 13: Values & Self, Career and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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