Step 1 – Save Time and Money By Focusing on Trust Rather than Blame

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Values – Putting words into action


So much is spoken about Values in schools, in the workplace.  However, when it comes to asking people about their own values, often they haven’t given it much thought.  Yet, whether we have thought about it or not, we are driven by our own personal values and the rules we apply to them.

When it comes to values in business, most organisations these days have a list of values that they share with colleagues and customers. These values represent the core principles that the organisation wish to adhere to and they are designed to form a vision, or a framework for the way their customers can expect to be treated by them.

Defining the values and letting everyone know about them is just the beginning of the process.

The next phase is to ensure those words are put into action. Otherwise known as ‘walking the talk’ and this can prove to be more challenging, yet not impossible.

Let’s take a typical example of a company’s core values…

  • We are passionate about what we do
  • We have integrity
  • We are accountable for our actions
  • We respect our customers
  • We ensure quality in all that we do
  • We love to work here

When a potential customer sees these values, they get a feeling for, or a picture of the organisation.  They may feel comforted and inclined to trust the company.  Yet, over time, it is not the value statements that build and maintain the trust, but how the organisation relates to that customer face to face.

Ensuring the values are aligned with the mission statement

It is absolutely vital that the mission statement is supported by the values.  If not, the risk is that either the mission statement is pursued at the expense of the values, or the values are pursued, which puts the business imperatives in jeopardy.

Live them

Before we can expect our followers (employees) to live our company values, we have to embody them ourselves.  This means putting them at the forefront of all that we do.

So let’s explore an imaginary scenario, using the example values I have detailed above.

Let’s assume you are the MD of Conglomerate Biz.  As a leader of this organisation, in stating your company values, you have also made a personal commitment in the following ways:

We are passionate about what we do – this means that as a leader, you must demonstrate your passion every day.   Passion for the products and services you offer, passion for how you operate, passion for the people you employ, including those who are not yet high performers, passion for the challenges you face, passion for the successes you have, passion for the things you could be doing better.  To have passion is to have enthusiasm, love and desire for a subject and as a leader, the best way to demonstrate living this value is to feel passionate about the good, the bad and the ugly too.   It is this passion that has the ability to embrace the bad and the ugly, and to convert them into something great with positive and well planned action.

We have integrity – as a leader of this imaginary organisation, you must demonstrate that you act honestly, honourably and sincerely as far as is possible.  You need to show that you have a good moral compass – treating your employees fairly and supporting them through periods of personal growth and challenge.  You have to show that you personally value integrity.  In other words, to do your best to operate openly without cause for others to be suspicious of your intent.  Any contrast to this raises doubt and confusion, so it is important to always speak respectfully at work and with good regard towards spouses, children, friends, clients, colleagues etc… and to be fully congruent with who you are.  Performance management is much more effective when the person being managed feels accepted, respected and understood at a personal level, which then opens the door to discuss and resolve performance matters.  This approach, together with a strong vision for a positive outcome or objective, paves the way for mountains to be moved.


We are accountable for our actions – this starts with you as a leader first. Even if someone has done something really stupid at work, it is your response that you will be measured by. In being responsible for your actions, you need to recognise when something has triggered an emotional response in you, and when you have behaved in a reactive way.  If you can spot when you have reacted emotionally (eg: shouted, blamed, bemoaned, criticised, ostracised, ignored, humiliated etc…) and recognise that in yourself, it allows you to apologise where appropriate, and move your focus as quickly as possible towards a positive and constructive resolution. Before pointing the finger at an employee for not taking accountability, you must consistently demonstrate it yourself. A blame culture and lack of trust starts with the leaders, so if it exists in your business, you have the power to change it.

We respect our customers – in order to expect your employees to respect their customers, it is important to demonstrate your own respect and high regard for your staff, stakeholders, suppliers and customers, because that sets up a model that they can emulate out to their customers.  Respect doesn’t mean yield or be weak.  It is important to offer clear guidance and to be open about what is and isn’t acceptable and desirable, yet so much more can be effectively achieved through a framework of respect and understanding.

We ensure quality in all that we do – how can you give the best quality work environment to your employees?  What do they need to perform their jobs to the best of their ability?  What will make the difference to them?  How can you best support them so that they can be even more successful?

We love to work here – what reasons do your staff have, above and beyond the obvious pay cheque at the end of the month, for ‘loving’ to work here?  What can you do to give them good reason to love working here?  Why does anybody ‘love’ to do anything?  Most people love to be in a place where they are learning and contributing in a way that makes a difference, but what that looks like depends on the person, so it is important to know them as individuals and to give them what they need in order for them to ‘love to work here’.

As MD at Conglomerate Biz, you now have a really deep understanding of the personal commitment behind the values that allows them to be really embodied across the organisation.  Values are so much more than words on a wall.

Help your employees to align your corporate values with their personal values

Values run pretty deep inside us, even when we haven’t consciously decided on what our values are.  They drive our behaviour, and when we feel our values have been violated in some way, we can have a pretty dramatic reaction.

If you are struggling with an employee who isn’t living up to your company values, who is behaving in a negative fashion, or just not very enthusiastic, then there is something adrift, which is more than likely to be due to a misalignment.  Either they are picking up on incongruences, or they are finding it difficult to align them with their personal values in some way.

When this happens, it is important to act quickly, before it festers and grows.  Get talking.  Find out where the misalignment might be without being judgemental and then work with them, not against them to break through it.

Lucy Windsor is a Dramatic Breakthrough Coach and Head of Roleplay at The Performance Business.

Is your organisation built on Trust?  Call us on 01932 888885 for a free consultation.



Save Time and Money by Focusing on Trust rather than Blame

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magical  loving heart

This is a big issue at work.  When the project is delayed, when the cost is higher than expected, when the customer is unhappy, when the **** has really hit the fan, who is to blame?

Trust in some organisations is a paper thin veneer.  It doesn’t take much at all before people begin to point the finger by way of self-preservation.  When we are working day in day out in this type of culture it feels very unsafe to us.  And what happens when we feel unsafe?  Our need for security becomes our prime focus.  So much so that it can become difficult to maintain clarity and be open to ideas and useful suggestions.  We see everything as a potential threat.

In fact, this issue is not just prevalent in work organisations.  It runs right through society at all levels and manifests in many different ways.

Why does it matter?  It matters because it directly contributes to:

  • workplace stress
  • procrastination
  • limited achievement
  • reduced enjoyment
  • increased cost
  • decreased productivity
  • disaffected staff
  • disaffected customers

Trust within the organisation, or the lack of it, directly affects the bottom line.  So who’s responsible for creating Trust?  Is it the Board?  Or, can we all be empowered to cast our net of trust and create a better working environment?  How do we change the dynamics in the workplace and create the trust?

  1. Values – putting words into action
  2. Needs – understanding needs and how we apply them
  3. They’re wrong! – investigating blame and knowing our triggers
  4. Stress factor – physiology and how to stop resisting reality in order to change it!
  5. Group dynamics – how they work
  6. Empowerment – owning the trust
  7. Magnetism – how to change the environment around you

Over the next 7 weeks, we will explore each of these in more detail here, so lots of great content coming your way!  If you would like to know when there’s new insightful content for you to enjoy, please make sure you let us have your email address before clicking away.

To find out how The Performance Business can help  you and your business, please call us on 00 44 (1) 932 888 885.

Have a great week.

Lucy x

Lucy Windsor is a Partner in The Performance Business.  She is also a Dramatic Breakthrough Coach and heads up our Roleplay division.

From Brand Values To Increased Profit

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Most businesses of any size take time to carefully create their mission and their values, and to promote these to employees and clients.

Employees are expected to live the company values and more and more, key performance indicators tend to incorporate these goals.  Customer Satisfaction Questionnaires and Employee Engagement Surveys also reflect the mission and values in order to develop and enhance the corporate identity.

Values are often found up on the walls as a reminder – in Reception areas, the cafeteria and meeting rooms.  They serve as a quick prompt for clients and staff alike that this is what the organisation is about.

Even with all this activity and investment, only a very few companies actually deliver on their mission and the values they promise at every level of the organisation.

What is it that makes the difference?

  1. Congruence – walking the talk

No matter what our company mission or values are; how we behave towards our clients and our staff day in day out is what really matters.  Corporate values are vital.  They give everyone clarity – what to aim for, what we stand for.   But, they are just words and words alone count for very little unless we embody those words in everything we do.

When we create our mission and our company values, we have to be congruent with them and live them ourselves at a personal level day in day out.

We must also ensure that our values are congruent with our commercial aspirations.

  1. Alignment – what’s in their hearts

It is not always easy for employees to take company values to their hearts, despite all efforts from the business.  Employees often find it difficult to adopt them, not because they are negative people, or wrong or disloyal even.

Often the reason people don’t or can’t live the company values with the conviction we would like, is because they feel that at some level they would be going against or setting aside their own values or needs in some way in order to do so.

When an employee can feel directly and personally aligned to the corporate values, there is trust, understanding, motivation and a real energy to live and breathe them.


The most successful organisations understand these two factors and you will see their mission and their values running through everything and everyone like a word running through a stick of seaside rock.

The litmus test: get someone independent to your organisation to ask a random sample of employees from different functions what your company values are without looking them up!   Enthusiastic responses, encompassing the essence of your values, even if they use different words, confirms that you are indeed building the culture you wish to promote.

For help on converting Values into Profit call us on: 0044 1932 888885 – The Performance Business – building reputations, cultivating loyalty, creating wealth.

Lucy Windsor is a Partner in The Performance Business, a Dramatic Breakthrough Coach and has headed up our Roleplay team since 2001 after a successful career in IT Services Industry. 


Performance Measurement – 9 costly mistakes that leaders make and how to avoid them:

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This is a very hot topic right now, as it seems that everyone is being measured, every day in some way or other – giving organisations the vital statistics they need to inform their business decisions.  There are a wealth of products available that fit most business budgets.   This quest for measurement has snowballed over the last couple of decades to meet the needs of a volatile economy and the more dynamic nature of business today.   Yet it comes at a hefty cost for many companies in the form of collateral damage – workplace stress, disengagement and performance issues.

9 Mistakes and how to avoid them

1.   Messaging – often measurement tools are employed to ‘fix a problem’.  For instance, to encourage more understanding between team members; increase sales wins, improve customer satisfaction stats, or improve communication skills; putting the right people into the right jobs.

When we focus on fixing the problem, we tend to use words that express what is wrong and needs to be changed.  This type of messaging can create anxiety in those who are about to be put through the process.  They can feel judged, doubt their worth and question their own ability.  This affects performance.

To avoid this pitfall, keep working up and away from the problem until you are working towards a vision, then make the vision your message.  What is the real ‘Why’ at a strategic level?  Perhaps you aiming to move your company from 6th position to 3rd in your industry, for instance.  Share the vision together with all the shared benefits of achieving that vision and ensure your Managers and Team Leaders do the same.  Give your staff an opportunity to picture themselves as part of the future and jump on board with a personal desire to contribute.  This keeps communication open and motivation and performance high. 

2.    Panacea – Measurement tools, psychometrics, personality tests.  These are really valuable tools and all have their place.  But it is a mistake to view them as the solution, relying on their data to make your decisions for you.

It is useful to view these tools as an objective friend.  In consulting them, you gain clarity and insight from a perspective other than your own, providing you with information that will help to inform the decisions you will make. 

They are a snapshot of now, like an x-ray.  They show up some information that you did not already know, and they give you some data to support what you may already be thinking or feeling.   These tools give you the opportunity to probe a little deeper.  Bringing to light latent talents that might be useful to your business, hidden weaknesses or anxieties that might be holding someone back from achieving their potential, and from time to time, uncovering precious nuggets of gold. 

3.   Lack of Support – It a mistake to underestimate the amount of support an individual needs when they are asked to undergo measurement at work, particularly behavioural or personality testing.  Any whiff of personal judgement or criticism and like an animal caught in a trap, many individuals will become stressed and defensive.  This impacts performance and makes it harder to gain buy in to future initiatives.

To avoid making this mistake, it is important to consider employees and future employees’ needs and prepare accordingly.  Some individuals will take the process in their stride, but for many, it will be an unnerving experience, unless their concerns are addressed.  The first priority is to give them some sense of security.  What are the likely concerns?  Do they have the opportunity to share their concerns and feel safe to do so?  What will happen?  Is their job at risk?  There may be many questions that individuals will have that they are afraid to ask.  Remember the vision and explain the purpose, the process and the follow-up.  We all need to feel valued and important.  Recognition of an individual’s unique value in the process is really helpful, alongside the benefit of the process to them.

4.   Assumptions – Under pressure and with the need to make quick decisions, it is easy to make assumptions about people.  It is unfair to look at a profile, read a briefing document, or worse believe you can accurately gauge someone’s personality type and their levels of commitment without taking time to really listen to that person’s view of the world.

Once we have formed an opinion of someone, it changes the way we listen to them.  We actually filter what we hear in order to fit our opinion.  This is probably one of the most common causes of arguments and workplace stress and the busier we are, the more likely we are to fall into this trap.

One of the easiest ways to avoid making assumptions is to really believe that everyone is doing the very best they can at all times, with what they know and the resources they have available to them.  This enables us to listen without judgement, and to address performance gaps objectively.

5.   Negative Judgements – When we measure staff performance it can be tempting to make negative judgements about a person and carry that with us, even share our judgements with others and tainting their opinion.  Unfortunately, even if we are really careful to behave ‘normally’ around the person, or when speaking about the person and ‘say the right things’, we cannot sustain our act.  Our incongruence leaks and others see it.

It is difficult for anyone to perform well when we feel that we are being negatively or unfairly judged, it is therefore paramount that we separate the person from the problem in terms of gaps in performance.   We all display desirable and less desirable behaviours, yet we are all human beings and it pays to be mindful of that.

6.   Looking for failings – It is easy to get focussed on the bad stuff.  When we do this, we can become blind to someone’s positive traits, or we simply take them for granted and let them pass unnoticed.  Sometimes it feels simpler and quicker just to point out the problem.   When we do this, we are not taking time to look after the needs of the person, limiting their ability to respond positively and make the necessary changes.

Avoid looking only for what is wrong.  Be passionate and appreciative too of all that is going well.  Present the reality as you see it constructively and offer a right to reply, remembering that today’s performance is just a chapter, not the whole book.  Describe the future goal and be specific about the timescales.  Agree the performance gaps and how to overcome them.  Accept responsibility.  If someone is failing, they either don’t understand the vision; don’t understand the expectations; aren’t motivated for some reason; feel insecure or under-valued; haven’t received the right support; are in the wrong job, or are struggling with personal issues.  This is a time to work together, not a time to blame.

7.   Generalising – Holding too much store in personality types is dangerous.  They are a useful tool and they are a great help in developing awareness of self and of others.  We don’t all think the same and it is useful to understand some of the psychology behind it.  However, they are a guide and we should not draw conclusions about a person based on their personality type and our interpretation of it, because in doing so, we tend to put people in boxes and miss out on discovering some of their greatest qualities.

If you listen out at work, there are also many other generalisations made throughout the day.  “The problem with x is…” “Why are you always xxxx…!”  “He’s such a xxx”  “She’s such a xxx!”

Generalisations are never beneficial, especially when they are negative.   They confuse the person with the situation.  When we generalise, those who hear us either agree, so the myth perpetuates.  Or they disagree and feel uncomfortable for the person being judged.  Or they feel judged themselves – if that kind of comment is being said about a colleague, what is being said about me?!

Avoid generalising.  Create an ‘alarm’ in your head that goes off if you say or hear a generalisation at work.  Don’t simply agree with a negative generalisation for an easy life.  Question it.  Understand what’s behind it.  Find out what the real issue is. Remember to appreciate the person.  Deal with the issue as it presents itself and avoid stacking complaints one on top of the other like dirty dinner plates until the pile topples over creating an even bigger and more unpleasant mess to clear up.

8.   Violating Values – When we are busy and have many demands on our attention, we often forget about values, our own and those of the organisation for which we work.   Consequently, when looking at performance measurement, it is easy, albeit unintentional, to violate the very values that we claim to live by.  This results in a disenfranchised, disengaged and demotivated workforce.

To avoid this mistake, it is important to make ourselves aware of our organisational values, as well as our own and to consistently live up to them in everything we do.

9.   Inappropriate Exposure! – There is an increasing concern about children and teenagers and their use of the internet, with some being encouraged to post up inappropriate pictures of themselves.

Having your behaviour and performance at work assessed can also feel very exposing.  Some feel vulnerable and under threat when they go through any measurement process and can worry about what information will be shared, with whom and for what purpose.  They are also unclear as to what the organisation is looking for and worry that they will be found wanting.  This affects confidence, motivation and performance and adds to the stress in the workplace.

As business leaders, we have a moral and pastoral obligation to ensure staff are not inappropriately exposed.  It is important to be sensitive to the potential fear some individuals will have and to give them some certainty.  Even if you have some very difficult messages to pass on, it is important to stay objective.  Be clear.  Explain the business vision and the importance of their role in making it happen.  Check that they have all the resources/skills/motivation/support they need to meet their objectives.  Decide a plan of action and follow through with any promises you make.

Dramatic performance breakthroughs are created strategically.  For help, call The Performance Business.  00 44 (0)1932 888885



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