A million dollar question

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Compromise can be the dove of peace or a deadly viper - Mike Clark

What would you do for a million dollars? 
Lie? Cheat? Steal?  How about sell company secrets? Murder someone? 
Many people would tell a lie for a million dollars, some waver on the cheating and stealing and many stop at murder. 

It is nice and clean when presented like that. What about if we throw in some extra details and consequences. Would you steal to feed your kids or murder save a loved one's’ life? These scenarios are the potion for books, movies and plays. For some they are the real drama of life, for others the series they follow on a weeknight. Heinz's dilemma is a classic work to test ethical and moral stance, that I enjoy using in training sessions. 

How does this affect you at work?  The reality is that the question, at its base, is about options, choice and priorities. We make decisions constantly. It is estimated that an adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day and this brings on decision fatigue. Ever got home at night and being asked what you want for dinner and the decision just seems too much to think about? (Marketers know this well and focus on training your brain to pick the ‘easy’ option.) 

Consider how this impacts you and your team at work? How clear are your team on what is important at work - I mean really important - non-negotiable important. Important to the point of turning down work, reducing productivity, letting someone go? 

Is it ok to compromise basic health and safety regulations and long as I use ‘common sense’? If I was caught driving a company car without a seat belt, or over the speed limit, or overtaking on double yellow lines, or over the drink limit what would happen if I worked for you? Does that rule apply to everyone? Is it ok to lie? Just little ‘white ones’ - “Tell them I am not here”,  “I am sure we can get that to you tomorrow”,  “The taxman will never know if we just ….”?

These all reflect a team culture. A team culture is based on team values. Do you know yours? Does your team? Do you hire people based on a value alignment? Do you make all key decisions based on your core values? 

Values matter. In my experience I have seen that clear core values that organisations live by is probably one of the single biggest factors that determine successful businesses. This month I have been privileged to work with a number of businesses as they reassess their values, vision, mission and build on these to determine key strategic priorities. During one session I was recommended  the book “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business” by Patrick Lencioni

Kiri and I took a couple of days out and used the playbook from this book to test our core reason for existence, our core values and key strategic focus areas. It was challenging and clarifying while also being very affirming. When you make decisions from a solid base it is easy to know what and why. 

When it comes to the crunch, “what matters and how much it matters” is a values based question. Do yourself a favour and make sure you and your team are clear on yours.