It is apparent to me that leaders are often looking for that new process or procedure or tool guaranteed to create engagement and improve their results. My experience has been that, while access to the latest technology often acts as an effective catalyst, the fundamental attitudes and behaviors that make or break a team are timeless and universal. While their particular manifestations can and should change depending on each unique situation, the fundamental beliefs that undergird them invariably cultivate the sense of personal accountability that directly impacts the results that the team produces, no matter when and where they are implemented.
In last week’s post, I mentioned The Other Side Academy (TOSA) and how their relentless commitment to operating by 12 beliefs has produced breakthrough results in the lives of their students. This week, I’d like to take a deeper look at those 12 beliefs and how they apply to any team that has a desire to take their performance and fulfillment to the next level. I should say upfront that these concepts are nothing new; indeed, most transformative ideas are so commonplace that we don’t even notice them and they hide in plain sight until someone brings them to our attention.
Many of us have different versions of these beliefs in our mission statements and values, on posters on the walls, and so on. Merely subscribing these beliefs doesn’t do the trick, however, unless we consistently act according to them. I assure you, if you are a leader who is serious about creating a transformation within your organization, you will be rewarded by making a concerted effort into figuring out what the critical behaviors are that would bring these beliefs to life in your organization and then relentlessly reinforcing them and not tolerating the opposite. It is important for this to start with oneself. That is why I have written much of my explanations about the beliefs in first person.
Once again, I must issue a disclaimer about the 12 beliefs being explained below. While I am a huge fan of TOSA, this post is neither endorsed by them, nor is it meant to be an official explanation of their 12 beliefs. This is just my perspective on their 12 fundamental beliefs within the context of Transformative Leadership. With that said, let’s get right into it.
1. You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone. It all starts with me declaring myself “The One” instead of waiting for other conditions to be met. If it’s to be, it’s up to me! But I realize that I live in an interdependent world and every worthwhile transformation requires the support of others. I understand simultaneously that “it is not about me.” I lend a hand to others to achieve the causes they are championing and I accept their offer of support without worrying about who gets the credit.
2. Make and keep promises. Making big promises expands our view of ourselves. It stretches our perception of what we are capable of accomplishing and causes us to get in action to tap into resources we weren’t aware of. Keeping promises solidifies our integrity in our own eyes, as well as in the eyes of others. If we all focused on operating by this belief, we wouldn’t have to worry too much about “holding others accountable!” When it looks like I may not be able to keep my promise, I don’t take that as a sign that I should just shrink and not make promises. Instead, I communicate the situation to the person who is counting on me to deliver and make a new agreement.
3. Self-reliance. There is no free lunch. I let go of my entitlement mentality and recognize that I need to pull my own weight and do the best that I can to make it all work for the team. If I mess up, I accept the consequences and by doing so, I not only restore my credibility with others but I free myself from dragging guilt and shame around. I start everyday new with no baggage from the past and with the full intention that I will do more than what is expected of me.
4. Impeccable honesty. Most of us consider ourselves honest, and most of us can also very quickly identify when others are not. In a world where a little white lie here and there is common practice, and where it is easier to ask forgiveness than seek permission, it doesn’t take much to rise above the rest and be above average. Impeccable honesty is not about that. It is about raising the standard to 100% honesty, all the time, because anything less is unacceptable.
5. Act as if. It is commonplace to take the easy way out because I don’t consider myself as disciplined or committed or excited about a cause. In those moments when those thoughts are holding me back and tempting me to take the easy way out, I will act as if I were honest, committed, excited, etc. enough. I behave myself into a new way of thinking and a new mindset, instead of letting my current mindset determine my behavior and create more of the same circumstances I say I don’t want.
6. Embrace Humility. It is not about me! I have given myself to a greater cause that is all about others and accomplishing the team’s mission. I recognize that the default force in my life is the desire to look good and I let that go when it shows up and focus on the difference I can make for others. When I stop being the center of my own attention, all the trivial things I used to be concerned about disappear and I am left with a commitment to contribution.
7. Each one teach one. As Stephen Covey teaches us in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, there is power in three-person teaching. When I learn something from someone and then I teach it to another, we all grow. Everyone has something they can teach someone else and when I make it my business to look out for others and share my knowledge and expertise for their benefit, I give them license to do the same. We thereby create a teaching and coaching culture that makes learning and growing an on-going experience.
8. 200% accountability. I am accountable for myself and I am accountable for others. Part of my accountability is to have enough respect for others to not allow them to settle for less than 100% accountability. I have the courage to raise the issues as I see them and resolving them for the other person’s benefit. I also have the courage to receive feedback from others and correct my behavior.
9. Forgiveness. When I confront someone or they confront me on lack of accountability or deviations from the agreed-upon standards, we resolve it and move on. We don’t hold it against each other. We say what we need to say and clean up the mess and once again treat each other as if we are impeccable. We don’t hold grudges and talk behind each other’s back.
10. Boundaries. We define the playing field and we stay on it. We identify behaviors that are clearly outside of the boundaries that are acceptable to our team and we do not tolerate them being violated by anyone. Each of us take responsibility to internalize the boundaries and figure out what guardrails we need to put in place for ourselves that will warn us if we are about to get close to violating a boundary that we have struggled with in the past.
11. Faith Friendly. We respect everyone’s source of faith and spirituality. We don’t force our religious beliefs on others or look down on them because of theirs. We recognize that we only deserve as much respect for our right to our beliefs as we offer to others for the same right. Realizing that none of us has exclusive access to the whole and complete truth, we do not become complacent in the knowledge we have and always seek to learn more and support others in doing the same.
12. Pride in Work. Whether someone is watching or not, we take care to do what it takes to exceed expectations. We don’t only do a good job to impress others, and we don’t slack off when we think others won’t notice. We are internally driven to take pride in the smallest, most mundane tasks that we are assigned to or volunteer for.
I hope reading about these fundamental beliefs and principles that the TOSA community lives by will inspire you to adopt some for yourself, and to examine what principles your community or organization operates under. If none come to mind or you can’t figure them out, then perhaps it is time to make a list like the one above and be intentional about aligning your behavior with it every day. So, what transformative principles do you live by, or do you intend to live by after reading this post? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author: Amir Ghannad is an international keynote speaker, author of The Transformative Leader, leadership consultant, culture transformation champion, and founder of The Ghannad Group. He has made it his life's work to guide leaders and equip them with the tools, skills, and the mindset necessary to create extraordinary workplace cultures that deliver breakthrough results. Download his free e-book, titled 5 Practical Steps to Make Your Culture Transformation Stick by clicking here.
As always, have a great week! May you Boldly Declare, Courageously Pursue, and Abundantly Achieve the Extraordinary!
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