As I continue to work with businesses and their leaders, it’s evident that their goal is to be and do their best. They have a mission and seek to be successful in reaching their goals. But who defines success and how does value get measured? In business, cash ultimately measures value, but how well we deliver that value is also measured by our teams, employees, customers, vendors, etc. It has been said that we evaluate ourselves by our INTENTIONS (intrinsic motivation) but others experience and judge us through our BEHAVIOR (extrinsic value). Bridging that disconnect is key to propelling us and our teams forward.
One of the world's leading business coaches, who has worked with top Fortune 500 executives, will give an assignment for that already successful leader to personally ask their team, colleagues and most importantly, their family at home, “How am I showing up for you?” He tells them they are not allowed to argue, defend or justify, just listen and then say thank you. They can then follow with the question of, “What are some ways I can improve and become better in these areas?” Ikon coach Kirk Wayman uses the simple question, “How are you experiencing me?” No lengthy surveys or anonymous questionnaires, just face to face conversation filled with vulnerability.
So much easier said than done- especially if we expect to receive feedback of our failures, feel misunderstood, or have had past experiences of feedback that was used to reject or disqualify us. Fear and shame can trigger a defensive and self protective wall against such a threat to our identity and good intentions. Unfortunately that same wall used to PROTECT us also PREVENTS us from engaging in the very conversations we need to grow into the best versions of ourselves for the benefit of those around us. And many times it also keeps us from hearing the amazing ways others ARE experiencing us.
It takes a lot of humility, vulnerability, invitation and permission to have these conversations. It takes an understanding that our ‘being’ is intrinsically valuable but our ‘doing’ can sometimes be valuable and other times not so much. We can name and identify our intentions, but the value we bring through our roles gets measured by others. How are we doing?