When it comes to business performance, character matters. When you cultivate character and virtue in yourself, you flourish as a human and as a leader. When you cultivate character and virtue in teams, engagement increases. There is no question that good character drives good business. There is no question that a company’s organizational culture represents its reputation to internal and external stakeholders. Today, perhaps more than ever, leaders must be intentional about preserving this most valuable asset.
The good news for each of us that character is a skill that can be learned, and this uniquely insightful guide walks you through the process.
Better Humans, Better Performance explains how to develop an organizational culture where the practice of virtue is the norm. The authors present practical ways to apply the seven classical virtues to amplify performance. These virtues, created by the world’s greatest thinkers thousands of years ago, have stood the test of time. When we get better at who we are, we get better at what we do—a universal truth that is roundly overlooked in business schools, training classes, and leadership guides.
Whether you run a small local business, lead teams and departments across global entities, or operate a nonprofit or a health care organization, these virtues cross social, religious, and cultural divides and, when built into your organization’s DNA, will improve performance outcomes.
During a major acquisition and integration, our Group President was extremely respectful to me and the whole team. As a new employee to Parker, the Group President went out of his way to spend time with me. I was lucky enough to be located near his office. This gave me the ability to go to his office in person and do division reviews and other meetings typically held over the phone. He always took time after these meetings to talk to me and get to know me. Best of all he would mentor me and try and pass on his years of experience as a GM. I will always be grateful for this experience.
He showed a neverending love for Parker and what it stood for. During his subsequent illness, he never complained and came to work every day no matter how bad he felt. The way he handled himself throughout this period inspired others to work harder and fight harder for what they wanted and believed in. He had extreme respect for his senior leadership. Even when he did not agree with their direction, once it was decided, he was 100% supportive of the decision and never looked back.
Early in my career I worked for the General Manager at a non-U.S division. His leadership style was not always easy. He pushed the team through constructive confrontation, by challenging your opinion, yet also provided recognition and rewards. As I began attending staff meetings he took the time to meet with me afterwards and coach me on how I could learn to participate more actively and deal with opposing viewpoints.
At the time he was very focused on technology needs for the division. Whether it was implementing new software to run in the office, introducing new technology to the sales team or building a stronger growth plan based on data mining and reporting, he encouraged all of the staff to get involved and empowered us to take on new challenges that required new skill sets. I had the opportunity to lead a team in the development of what would be our Data Warehouse on a SQL server. The access to all of our division data electronically revolutionized our ability to understand the business and start doing strong data based marketing growth plans. His vision and support made that happen.
I remember working on one of the biggest projects this division had ever embarked on. There were multiple challenges relating to design and manufacturing and to make things really interesting; the competition said it couldn’t be done. But we had this vision and were passionate about the product and were not to be discouraged. After long hours at the office and the encouragement and support of my supervisor, we were able design, patent and produce a high-volume component that was very lucrative for the division. Management was very appreciative of the work performed and gave plaques and other forms of recognition.
The safety engineering team has been consistently voicing proper protection equipment when on the shop floor. As I had witnessed on one occasion, vendors would be out of uniform while servicing our plant, yet the safety team would still be there to ensure safety. A big plus that they have not become complacent.
The Strength-Based Leadership Survey is designed to improve your performance. There is clear evidence that as your character (who you are) strengthens, you get better at what you do.
By providing input on your own character and assessing the feedback given to you by your colleagues, family, and friends, you will begin a journey of self-discovery and practice, which will build character and amplify performance in all areas of your life.
People you know, like, and trust will be referred to as “Raters.” These are people who have your best interests at heart. This can include family, friends, teammates, bosses, colleagues, etc. These are the people who can confirm or help you confirm or gain new insights on how your strengths can enhance your performance. We all have blind spots, and asking for feedback from a trusted group of colleagues, family, and friends can lead to powerful insights and positive actions.
In the survey you and your raters will be asked to share stories about your greatest character strengths organized by virtue.
Stories are an entry point to understand how others see us and how we see ourselves. Stories have the power to transform us because they give us insights to see the world in a different way. Stories are also an effective learning tool. They can strengthen our relationships with others, forge new insights, and motivate us to change and grow.
This Strength-Based Culture Profile is designed to identify your culture’s character strengths defined by seven classical virtues (Trust, Compassion, Courage, Justice, Wisdom, Temperance, and Hope). It will also help assess engagement levels and discover and understand the culture as experienced by members of the team. There is clear evidence that virtue increases engagement, teamwork, and collaboration.
This Strength-Based Culture Profile will help you answer the following questions about the team culture:
In the survey you and your team will be asked to share stories about the team’s greatest character strengths organized by virtue.
Stories are an entry point to understand how we see ourselves. Stories have the power to transform us because they give us insights to see the world in a different way. Stories are also an effective learning tool. They can strengthen our relationships with others, forge new insights, and motivate us to change and grow.