Articulate Values to Guide Behavior versus Assuming Values and Regretting Behavior


“Take care of it!”

“Get it handled!”

“Make it happen!”

“Sure, I can do that – the end justifies the means,  right?”  Or does it?

At some point in our careers we have been the recipient of some sort of ill-defined directive.  And we’ve probably all felt uncomfortable not knowing exactly how to go about “taking care of it.”   The person issuing directive may think they are empowering us.  But unless these directives are embedded in a culture of specifically articulated values the consequences may carry a high price.  I’ve seen this happen in good companies, with good people trying hard to do a good day’s work.  They came up against a challenge and sought out guidance from the leadership and the leadership said, “Just take care of it.”

So what does that mean, “Just take care of it” Does it mean that I can do whatever I want as long as I don’t bother YOU with it?  Does it mean that I can do whatever is easiest for ME?  Does it mean I can do whatever I need to do to “make it happen” even if what is required is illegal or unethical?

Assumptions are made on the part of leadership that when they issue an open directive like that the receiver will operate in a way that is consistent with the corporate values and the known rules.  Well, you know what they say about assuming – don’t do it.  Don’t assume they will do what you ask in the way that you would do it.  Don’t assume that they share your values and concerns.  Don’t assume they have the full context of any given situation.  Don’t assume.

Rather than assuming, leadership should be leading in such a way that the corporate values, intentions and their priorities are known and understood.  Not assuming requires an up-front investment but the pay-off is tremendous.  Because if you take the time to inform your team of your values, your intentions and your priorities AND ask them to come along side you and share those same values, intentions and priorities, only then have you empowered them to act on your behalf.  If you don’t do that you may well end up with a big mess on your hands; the kind of mess that may have legal ramifications, cost you a lot of money or perhaps adversely impact your reputation and business.

Make the investment in your business.  Empower your team to work with intention and purpose and in alignment with your shared values and vision.  Need some help getting that done?  Contact me, I can help.

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