Sunday, October 23, 2016

Parenting: Life's Biggest Job

Give Children the Habits of Love, Humanity, Creativity and Spirituality. 

Passing knowledge on to one’s progeny has been an age-old concern. Epictetus, a Greek Stoic philosopher from the 1st Century, wrote, “Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.”
Years later, English philosopher and educator Richard Whately wrote “A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for them better than by giving them a fortune.” 
That was probably a good philosophy for the industrial 19th Century, when industriousness was needed to sustain one’s family. Today, in the globally linked Information Age of the 21st Century, our children need the habits of love, humanity, thinking, creativity, and spirituality. These are the core values that will sustain our children, and our children’s children, into the middle of this century.
In more recent times, David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values, stated, “The most important domestic challenge facing the U.S. at the close of the 20th Century is the re-creation of fatherhood as a vital social role for men.”
The words of famed educator and former President of Columbia University Grayson Kirk certainly ring true in today's rapidly changing world: Our greatest obligation to our children is to prepare them to understand and to deal effectively with the world in which they will live, and not with the world we have known or the world we would prefer to have.”
Of course, parenting is not something we learn in school or at university. While there are many books on parenting, none of us really have a fool-proof parenting book at hand. 
Perhaps one pundit got it right when he said, “If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right.” 
Unfortunately, the cynical comments of clergyman Charles Wadsworth also have a ring of truth to them: “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.”  
If your children look up to you as they enter the early years of adulthood, you have made a success of life’s biggest job.

This article is partially excerpted from our top-ranked personal development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, which is available in Kindle and paperback formats at Amazon. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Your Family Life

Families Build Each Other 

Vic Conant, the President and CEO of Nightingale-Conant, the premier publisher of audio personal development programs in the world, wrote: “If you’ve had wonderful family relationships, you will be able to call yourself a true success in life no matter what else you’ve achieved.” 
Edith Schaeffer, a Christian author and co-founder of L’Abri (an evangelical community that welcomes people who are seeking answers to questions about God and the meaning of life) wrote:
A family is a formation center for human relationships. The family is the place where the deep understanding that people are significant, important, worthwhile, with a purpose in life, should be learned at an early age.
The following concept from the author Gail MacDonald is one that would go a long way in fixing some of the dysfunctionalities found in many families:
Once, when our children were about five and eight, they were caught arguing. I can remember my husband stopping them and saying, “This is home. Now, outside of these four walls people are going to hurt you, they’re going to call you names. But inside these four walls we build each other. Do you understand? We build each other.”
Many people seem to operate their families as some sort of organizational enterprise, where all they do is rush from one sporting event or commitment to another, or try to get by day-to-day without some sort of emotional confrontation.
It is little wonder that, if asked to play the word association game, the first word many people would apply to “family” would be dysfunctional. Not laughter. Not love. Not joyousness. Not even happiness. Simply dysfunctional.
When it comes to our own families, perhaps these words from Jim Rohn can provide guidance: “Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing.” 
For the following week, make your family life your#1 priority. See what a difference this makes in how you think and feel about your family.  

This article is partially excerpted from our top-ranked personal development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, which is available in Kindle and paperback formats at Amazon. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Respect In The Work Place

The Benefits of a Respectful Working Environment 

One cornerstone of Values Based Leadership is respect. Everyone in the organization, but particularly those in leadership positions, should foster respect for everyone (both within and external to the organization).
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A University of Michigan study of 1100 workers reported that 71% experienced incidents of incivility or disrespect in the workplace. In another report, over half of 14,000 workers around the world said they had felt disrespected in the workplace during the prior week. And a British Workplace Behavior Survey estimated that nearly 2 million workers in Britain had experienced some form of violence at work over a two-year period.
Showing respect for everyone you come into contact with, including indirect contact such as phone calls and email, is essential for developing productive relationships and managing conflict in the workplace. There should be no tolerance for especially damaging and degrading forms of disrespect in the work environment such as bullying, harassment, backstabbing, sabotage, harmful comments or denigrating gossip.
Former Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat once said, "There can be hope only for a society which acts as one big family, and not as many separate ones." 
The same can be said for all organizations, whether large or small. One of the best ways to break down the silos found in an organization is by establishing firm ground rules that promote respect amongst all co-workers, and between the organization's employees and its customers, suppliers, vendors, partners, regulators, and all other external parties.
In a respectful work environment the following traits can be found: 
·         Personal differences are put aside to focus on solving problems and creating solutions.
·         Everyone treats all others with respect at all times.
·         Open and honest constructive communication takes place.
·         Differences in opinions and ideas are tolerated and respected.
·         There is no talking behind another person's back.
·         When problems between individuals arise they are handled forthrightly, constructively and openly.
·         It is assumed that everyone is doing the best they can with the resources at hand and that everyone's heart is in the right place for the good of the organization and its workers.
The main benefit of a respectful working environment is that less time and energy is spent handling conflicts (particularly personality conflicts and people issues), resulting in more time available for productive work and getting the right things done. 
A respectful working environment is also less stressful, which results in higher employee motivation, fewer sick days and absenteeism, and overall higher levels of productivity. 

This article is partially excerpted from our top-ranked personal development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, which is available in Kindle and paperback formats at Amazon. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Forgiveness Survey

Global Research Study on Forgiveness

The team at ProjectYou is conducting research into perspectives around the world on forgiveness. 

And we could use your help. Please participate by answering a few questions on forgiveness at:

This brief survey takes no more than 2-3 minutes to complete. 

The questions at the end regarding gender and nationality are strictly for statistical purposes. No individual data or responses will be shared in any way.

If you leave your email address at the end of the survey we will send you a copy of the top-line results when the survey results are published (probably in late November. 

Thank you for your time and contribution to this important research.

Again, the link to access this survey is:

Thanks in advance for your help.

P.S. Please spread the word to friends and family members and ask them to contribute to this research study as well. Thank you. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Importance Of Values In Business

How an Organized is Led and Governed is Critical to its Success 

A report a few years ago titled Reputation Assurance: The Value of A Good Name, from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, stated, "A single-minded focus that seeks only to satisfy shareholders may ultimately lead to crises and erosion of shareholder value."
When business owners and leaders actively demonstrate strong values, they are better able to:
  • create meaningful relationships with diverse stakeholders to drive high performance as they build and develop internal talent, and
  • inspire and energize their employees and peers, by demonstrating what is expected of the team, and then simultaneously building and developing internal talent.
 Dov Seidman, author of HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything…in Business (and in Life) believes there is a link between enlightened corporate behavior and performance. He argues that the most successful businesses of the future will also be the most moral ones, not as a result of formal Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and programs, but from what he labels sustainable values. 
Unlike situational values, sustainable values are ones with sustaining human relationships built into their day-to-day practices and behaviors. In Seidman's view, how an organization is led, governed and operates is equally as important to its future success as the products and services it produces.
In fact, values are such an important item on the leadership agenda that astute leaders are now actively seeking new systems and methodologies for cascading critical values throughout their organizations. This is one area where smaller and medium sized businesses will have an advantage over monolithic, huge enterprises as it is much easier to cultivate consistent values-based behaviors across a workforce of 200 than 20,000.
Values are also very important to employees. In fact, the 2012 PWC Annual Global CEO survey reports that 59% of workers say they will seek employers whose corporate responsibility behavior matches their own values. This was higher than the 52% who said they are attracted to employers offering opportunities for career progression.
Values are important to employees. Values are important to consumers. Values are important to society.
It is little wonder that incisive and wise business owners and leaders are now deliberately and purposely using shared values as one of the best levers for optimal people performance within their organizations. As a result, they are creating great businesses that deliver significantly more than just money. 

This article is partially excerpted from our top-ranked personal development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, which is available in Kindle and paperback formats at Amazon. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Values Set The Context For Behavior

Values Based Leadership Helps Prevent Corporate Disasters 

Values are the catalyst for behavior. Basing collective and individual action on value goals, rather than stated performance objectives, has three important benefits for the organization:
                 1)          It helps to avoid wrong actions that lead to devastating consequences,
                2)          It helps everyone address dilemmas where there is no obvious, clear black and white correct path to take, and
                3)          It helps employees respond to the sentiments of others when strongly held opposing views come into play.
A few years ago, the high-powered leadership team at Enron was known as "the smartest guys in the room." But their lack of values-based performance led to the collapse and destruction of Enron, and carried the corpse of accounting firm Arthur Anderson with them. It also led to prison sentences for several Enron executives. 
Today, many people are questioning what the values were at Volkswagen which led some people in that organization purposefully install illegal software in their vehicles deliberately aimed at cheating laboratory emissions tests. This deliberate corporate malfeasance is going to cost Volkswagen over $15B just in the United States, plus several billions in other countries. 
Values set the context for behavior. By understanding the values your people bring to the table, and then aligning these with the vital values of the organization, you create teams of people more able to collaborate and work together to produce the results desired.
Great leaders know to monitor and measure the processes and behaviors producing results. They also know that when they modify behaviors that have slipped beyond the edges of the organization's agreed and stated values, their people performance and results return to the desired path and destination.
Values-based leadership is about sometimes taking the hardest path. It is about seeing the company's purpose as more than just a profit-producing machine. It also means putting people and values before profits and short-term "shady" tactics designed to meet quarterly or yearly numbers. As the great investor Warren Buffet said, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it." 
Without a values-based leadership approach, your organization's clock is permanently set at five minutes before disaster.  

This article is partially excerpted from our top-ranked personal development book Project You: Living A Determined Life, which is available in Kindle and paperback formats at Amazon.