#003 - Navigating the Seven Cs is about your values and you. Seven core values, Credibility, Clarity, Confidence, Creativity, Courage, Calling, and Commitment, are explored with you to encourage you to live in sync with your values.
Hello again! Welcome to Keys for New Leaders. OR, Welcome BACK if you’ve joined us for other episodes. This is your host, Dr. Charles Boyer, but my friends call me Charlie, and that’s YOU, my friend. If you’ve already subscribed, thank you very much! If you haven’t, I invite you to click on the “subscribe” link so you will get announcements of future episodes and special events. And, as before, I’ll include three coaching questions for you , as well as a SPECIAL KEY at the end of this episode.
I’m so glad you’re here! In this episode (number 3), we’re going to talk about Navigating the Seven Cs, not the water variety, but seven essential values for leaders who serve, all words beginning with the letter “C”, that help describe the core values that you live by and show to the world. Bear with me – if these are not YOUR values, you must create your own set, but these Seven Cs are, in my opinion, essential for ALL leaders who serve others.
Those Seven Cs are: Credibility, Clarity, Confidence, Creativity, Courage, plus two that often get overlooked but are so important: Calling, and Commitment. You’ll soon discover that these Cs often intermingle with one another, and their importance to one another is all the stronger because of their inter-relationships. You’ll see what I mean as we visit each one.
Think of those you would describe as great leaders in any field – and think about what qualities they have, what methods they use, what distinguishes them from everyone else. What comes to mind when someone mentions the name of a great leader? You may picture that person’s face in your mind, but I’ll bet that you begin to think of the characteristics and qualities of that person, the values that person lives by and demonstrates consistently.
The VALUES that great leaders live by show us who they really are and what they truly stand for. What distinguishes great leaders from everyone else is HOW TRUE they are to their OWN CORE VALUES.
Why are these VALUES so essential? When you are aligned with your VALUES, when you LIVE BY YOUR VALUES, you are in a very powerful place. YOU are a servant leader. Let’s take a brief look at each of those Seven Cs:
First on the list is CREDIBILITY. We talked about the importance of building Trust and Credibility in Podcasts 1 and 2, and here it comes again. It’s that important. Gaining the trust and credibility of others is a MUST. It’s a process that you must repeat over and over again, demonstrating your credibility, your competence, your confidence, your commitment. YOU as servant leader gain trust and credibility when you do what is right, support and give credit to others for their gifts and talents, follow through on commitments, admit your mistakes, listen especially well, and realize that who you are is more important than what you do.
The next C is CLARITY. Well, the simple truth is that people on your team need to understand clearly what you’re telling them or asking of them. How clear is your message to others? People don’t need fancy phrases or professorial pomposity. Say or write it in clear, plain everyday English. If you find yourself saying “…in other words…” – you’ve missed the mark entirely!
Clarity can be as simple as this: If you are scheduling an event, are the DAY, the DATE, the TIME and the PLACE all correct? Proofread before you send anything. If your email announcement reads “Tuesday the 6th” and Tuesday is actually the 7th, which are we supposed to believe – the DAY or the DATE?
AND – be careful what you say and how you say it. A well-intentioned announcement can have hilarious consequences – at your expense. Here’s an example of UN-CLEAR from a collection of church bulletin bloopers, titled “Church Ladies with Typewriters”:
“Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands!”
Remember, also, that CLEARER does not mean LOUDER. Have you noticed that when the TV program breaks for a commercial, the volume GETS LOUDER? Does this get your attention in a good way, or do you do as I do and reach for the “mute” button? Take a look at my blog article, “Clearer or Louder” for a little more about this topic.
Another good CLARITY rule to follow is – the KISS principle: it stands for Keep It Short and Simple. We don’t need any more of those “but-wait-there’s-more” messages. More is not Better, and it certainly isn’t clearer. I once saw a government instruction manual with two paragraphs of gobbledegook that had a lot of words but didn’t say much of anything. Two paragraphs of detailed gibberish just to say – “Turn on the computer.”
We all want and need more CLARITY from our leaders. YOUR clear message will help you avoid those blank stares and “I don’t get its.” CLARITY also helps establish two others of those Seven Cs: CONFIDENCE and CREDIBILITY – in YOU as servant leader.
The next C stands for CONFIDENCE. What does that word say to you – CONFIDENCE? The Latin root of the word means “with faith.” Having CONFIDENCE in a leader or an organization means giving your “full trust or reliability.”
Confident leaders not only exhibit confidence in themselves, they inspire confidence in others. Confident leaders help others set goals and work to achieve them. They do what they believe to be right, even if others criticize them. Positive thoughts help build self-confidence. Positive thoughts plus positive action is even better! Confidence comes from within you. Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi said “Confidence is contagious.” And I would add, Let others catch it from YOU!
What examples of confidence can you think of as you listen to this podcast? I remember the old Walt Disney movie, “Dumbo” – the story of the little elephant with big ears. The little mouse convinced Dumbo he could fly by holding onto a magic feather. There was nothing magic about that feather, but it gave Dumbo the confidence to believe that he could fly. Positive thoughts plus positive action – and it brought about positive results! Think how many copies of Norman Vincent Peale’s inspiring book, The Power of Positive Thinking, continue to be read worldwide.
Now, how do you gain confidence for yourself and your team? Well, you can’t go to the store and buy a pound or two of confidence. It takes Courage and Commitment, two more of those “C” words. Here are some things you can do:
· Focus on Your Wins. What HAVE you done? What are you most proud of accomplishing? What goals have you reached? Celebrate those wins! It’s important.
· Focus on Your Strengths. Focus on what YOU do best. There is always someone out there who has the strengths YOU don’t have. Use those strengths to build a BETTER team.
· Focus on What Is Most Important. We could save an enormous amount of time if we would only ask ourselves – What’s Most Important? – then concentrate on that and let the rest GO.
· Focus on Managing Your Mind. The old brain has a way of believing what you tell it. When you tell yourself you can’t, your brain gets that message and begins to do just what you told it to do. Fill your mind and your team with positive thoughts and watch what begins to happen!
· Focus on Success. Consider what you CAN do, then decide what you WILL do. Then GO FOR IT! Author Brian Tracy wrote “Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy.”
The next “C” is for CREATIVITY. We all are creative beings as children. When do we lose the ability to imagine, to dream, to create? Creative approaches to problem solving is a much-needed commodity these days. Try some creativity on for size. When you are facing a brick wall, do you see a barrier, or do you begin to think of ways to go around it, under it, over it, through it? Or is that brick wall just a painted canvas on the stage? Or is it an optical illusion? How many different ways can YOU think of to deal with that brick wall?
Creative approaches to problem solving begin with getting really curious and asking the simple yet difficult questions that children ask so innocently: “Why?” or “Why Not?” or “What if…?” Creative approaches challenge our assumptions of how something can be done or how something can be used. I read about some art students who used old computer parts – old CDs, hard drives, monitors and keyboards – to make artistic creations such as lamps, flower boxes, and figurines. Clearly, they learned to “think outside the box” by asking themselves, “What ELSE can we do with this thing?” and “Who needs a box to think outside of, anyway?”
One of my favorite examples of creative thinking comes from a sci-fi novel, later made into a movie titled “Ender’s Game.” Young space cadets were put in a huge zero-gravity chamber and had to learn to re-orient their sense of direction. “Up” and “Down” no longer had meaning in zero-gravity. Think about it – how would you define “up” to someone floating in space beside you if that person’s head pointed toward your feet? To that person, YOU are the one who is “upside-down.”
How can you help your team become more creative thinkers? One way is to let go of limitations – or to experience a VIOLATION of how things are supposed to happen. I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: when your team gets stuck on solving a problem, ask them “What’s the most OUTRAGEOUS way you can think of to do this?” or “What’s a fun way we can do this?” A question like that asks “Why not?” and tricks the brain into thinking of possibilities rather than bricks in the wall. There’s no reason to stay stuck.
The next “C” is COURAGE. As the Cowardly Lion said, “What have they got that I ain’t got? COURAGE.” It takes COURAGE to serve as a leader. It takes courage to envision, to let go and let it happen. It takes courage to try again if it doesn’t work the first time. An army officer has to give the command to “Fire!” A conductor has to break the silence and give the downbeat to start the concert. After the countdown, somebody has to have the courage to push the “launch” button to send the rocket off into space. But there’s another side of courage: Winston Churchill said that “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” The courage to take a stand, to take action, or to try again tomorrow must be a part of you as servant leader.
The next “C” is for CALLING. This may sound like a quality reserved for church leaders, but I believe it applies to ALL leaders. Your CALLING is often overlooked, but it’s very important to consider. As a servant leader, you must listen to how and to what and to whom you are being called to serve. It’s not just filling slots on a flow chart. The right person in the wrong place or being asked to do the wrong job for them can be disastrous. A servant leader helps other people serve in ways that they are called to serve. Ask yourself where YOU feel nudged – or pulled – or pushed – or encouraged to lead? What is that force that is encouraging you to serve others as a leader? Give it some careful attention. And - how about the people you lead?
And the last “C” is COMMITMENT. Effective leaders hold dearly to their commitments. It’s a part of building Confidence, of Credibility, of Courage. Think of your Commitment as a strong, positive obligation or promise you have made to yourself, to your team, to your goals. Demonstrating that commitment is hard work. The opposite – a wavering commitment – is usually seen as no commitment at all. I think of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, trying to control the light saber with his mind. Yoda’s no-nonsense reply to Luke’s wavering “I’ll try” was simple and to the point: “DO or DO NOT. There is no TRY.” Make a Commitment, and then follow through until it’s done. The payoff for your Commitment adds to your Credibility – and to the commitment of your team in return.
Now, let’s review those Seven “C” values. Where do these show up in your life? How well are YOU navigating these Seven Cs? CREDIBILITY – CLARITY – CONFIDENCE – CREATIVITY – COURAGE – CALLING – COMMITMENT. If these values don’t seem to fit YOU, what are YOUR values, and how well do you live by them?
If you haven’t already done so, I strongly encourage you to complete a Values Assessment. There are LOTS of them available. Try an Internet search, and you’ll find many to choose from. From long lists of “values” words or short phrases, you’ll be asked to choose those that you identify with the most. Then, keep whittling down your list until you have picked your top 10. Think about them, and then whittle some more until you’re down to your top five or three. Those are the ones you most strongly resonate with, and those values should be the ones you live by. Good luck – it takes time to do this exercise, but it’s well worth it.
I have some Coaching Questions for you to think about and answer. As I said before, this is NOT a test, and there are NO wrong answers, only YOUR answers. Here they are:
1. A two-part question: What are your top three Core Values? And … Where do they show up in your life?
2. How do YOUR core values affect the people around you?
3. What would others tell you is your greatest strength?
And now, here’s that SPECIAL KEY for you: it’s another “B”, following along with B Natural and B Real. This one is: B in sync with your Values. It’s a great place to B!
It’s so good to have you here! If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, you’re invited to Subscribe so you’ll get notices of future episodes and events. If you’ve already subscribed, thank you so much!
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The next episode … you won’t want to miss this one … is all about LISTENING. LISTEN! It’s what I do, and what YOU must do if you are to be a leader who serves others.
Take care, my friend, and stay safe and well.