By Doug Lessing, Founder at Phin
Have you heard of the Intentional Morning? It’s the simple act of starting your day with intention – a routine that sets the tone for the day the way YOU like it to unfold. Perhaps your morning routine starts with meditation, or coffee and newspaper. Maybe it starts with yoga or exercise. Mine starts with an early run or paddleboard on the bay, followed by tea and a few precious minutes with my family before we blast off into the world. The idea is simply to have some say in the direction of the day ahead, heading out with the right mindset and ready to live your values.
If you don’t set that intention, then it may very well be set for you by the world, and you likely won’t like the outcome.
We work with companies often and say the same thing. If you are not working everyday to set your company culture, then it will be created for you. If you are not deliberately living your values through daily actions, you likely won’t like the result. We are often surprised by company leaders who think their culture is one thing, but find that, in fact, it is something very different amongst the team. This is further exacerbated by remote/hybrid work environments where opportunities for personal interactions are diminished.
Recently, we had the opportunity to create a live, interactive Shared Values Cloud experience for 500 attendees at the Engage for Good conference in Atlanta. We deliberately scheduled the session early on day 1 of the conference while everyone was together in the main ballroom. This was our way of having an ‘Intentional Morning’. This collective experience, sharing what we value at our tables then building a live Shared Values Cloud, allowed us to set the tone for Engage For Good. It only took a few moments to set our intentions, collectively sharing what we care about as we launched into the 2 day conference.
It was inspiring to watch our shared values fly across the screen and coalesce into a word cloud that simply and visually set our intentions for the day, providing us guidance on the actions and behaviors we could model that helped us live those shared values. By tying our participation in the live poll to a real sponsored charitable donation of $5 to CARE.org for Ukraine Relief, we organically put into practice much of what we were ready to explore and celebrate together at EFG2022. With 275 responses in just a few minutes, we were able to unlock $1,350 in sponsored donations to CARE.org.
As the live poll was underway and the words danced on the screen, Empathy emerged as the most shared value crowd sourced from our EFG community. Perhaps, collectively we are reacting as a community to the scars caused by the trauma of local and world events, knowing that there is power in leading with Empathy, knowing that we want to give to others that which we ourselves need the most during times of crisis – understanding and kindness.
As seen here from the audience, shared by our friends at WeSpire, many of our shared values are rooted in simply trying to be good human beings.
In an article in Forbes magazine, Empathy Is The Most Important Leadership Skill According To Research, Tracy Brower points out that Empathy is more important in leadership today due to the multiple stressors we are living with everyday from pandemics, to wars and mass shootings. In addition, it is also easy to connect why it is the right thing to do for people AND the right thing to do for business. Outcomes like Innovation, engagement and retention all improve with leading with empathy. Perhaps most relevant to our intentional approach to living our shared community values is to demonstrate through actions, or as said in the article “You’re behaving so loudly, I can hardly hear what you’re saying.”
At Engage for Good, living our values was best served in small acts. As witnessed, Empathy was modeled in simple acts – as simple as a group of people at a coffee break proactively inviting a person into their conversation. A person who was clearly alone.
Empathy, Authenticity, Transparency, Honesty, Equity, Integrity. These are the values we hold dear, set intentionally and collectively. These are the values that we lived through small acts of understanding and kindness, bringing the best of ourselves to our Engage For Good community.