Uniquely the same

On 16personalities.com they use a Meyers-Briggs personality type hybrid that uses 5 traits. Each of the 5 traits is a spectrum with a percentage value for the spot where you land. That means that there are 100 possible options for each of the 5 traits. The result is 10 billion unique personality types that are possible. There are around 7 billion people in the world. Each trait is measured more simply as being dominant in one direction or the other which results in the need for fewer explanations of the results that you get. This is an example of the common ground that we can find while still being unique.

Even if people are more same than different, each of us is unique. As such, we each have something different to offer the other members of humanity. Furthermore, that which we have to offer is also of value. The degree of sameness that we all share is simply the means by which we can connect to other humans for the opportunity to share our unique offering with them and they with us.

One thing that I have seen happen time and again is for society to emphasize the importance of one thing at the expense of another. We seem to be an “OR” society instead of an “AND” society. If I talk about uniqueness and fitting in, most will look at those two things as diametrically opposed. If you are one of those, let me challenge you with this. Can you be unique while still fitting in? Can you fit in while still being unique? I say yes. You see, the fitting in is where you connect with people on common ground. We all seek the joy of community. The uniqueness is where you have the opportunity to something of value to those people with whom you have connected. We all seek to understand our sense of self.

If you live with an “OR” mentality, you either achieve clarity of self at the expense of being able to connect with others OR you achieve a connection with others at the expense of adding value. In essence, you can only mature one side of each of your dichotomies at a time because OR always favors one at the expense of another.

If you live with an “AND” mentality, you have the opportunity to develop both sides because they no longer have a dichotomous relationship. Instead, they have a symbiotic relationship. Each builds up the other. The success of one is vital to the success of the other.

Now you see how you can be unique AND the same and that each can make the other better. Now it’s time to start really digging in to what makes you unique. What is that one-of-a-kind piece of who you are that can leverage your sameness to add value to your community?

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The Two ‘M’s of Improving Attitude and Culture

Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets improved.” I agree with Mr. Drucker and I think there’s more. I have studied a school of thought called Organization Ontologics (O2) in which I learned the Principle of Progress. It goes like this:

“What you monitor, people do. What you measure, people improve. What you celebrate, people become. You can’t celebrate what you haven’t measured and you can’t measure what you haven’t monitored so be careful what you monitor because that’s what people will become.”


What does this have to do with attitudes or culture? The first “M” of improving attitude and culture is ‘Monitor’. The best way to monitor behavior is to model it. From a culture perspective, if you monitor that which you do not model, you build a culture of hypocrisy and resentment. There does not need to be perfection in modeling a desired behavior or attitude. Perhaps you would like to grow your culture and add something new. As long as leaders model the process of learning the new thing, they can maintain that positive growth. Just like parenting, if we had to be perfect at everything we expect our kids to do, not a single person would be qualified to be a parent. But, modeling a learning attitude and a growth mindset gives the leader the opportunity to build a camaraderie with those they lead because they are sharing the journey.

Now, I’ve kind of beaten around the bush a little so that I didn’t get to Morale too soon. The second “M” is ‘Morale’. The inconsistency in what is monitored vs what is modeled will damage morale. There is another principle from O2 that I have learned called the Principle of Morale. It goes like this:

“There are 3 reasons to evaluate someone’s performance. The first is to celebrate their success. The second is to improve the system in which they operate. And the third is to hold them accountable for their commitments. If you break this order, you damage morale.”

If you haven’t asked someone to commit, the first way to improve the system in which they operate is to ask for the appropriate commitments.

Morale is the confidence, enthusiasm, or discipline of a group at a given time. It is the attitude of your organization. Attitude determines behavior.

I have put all of this in the context of an organization. Let’s make it personal. From a personal perspective, you improve attitude with the same tools; Modeling and Morale. When improving your own attitude, you need to find a model and follow the principle of morale. When teaching someone else to improve their attitude, you become the model and follow the principle of morale.

Welcome to Training Tuesday

Since this is my first post in the “Training Tuesday” series, I am going to share my thoughts on the concept of training and why I determined that it was important enough to dedicate a weekly post to the subject. So without further ado… WELCOME TO TRAINING TUESDAY!!

What is training and why is it important?

The definition of training is to teach a particular skill or behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.

I think the most common understanding of training in our society today is the teaching of a particular skill. We rarely focus on the behavior  aspect of it. There is a subtle, yet important, difference that should be highlighted between the two facets of this definition. Skill reflects one’s capability. It is measurable through the evaluation of the quality of execution of the skill in question. There are many studies that exist which evaluate the usefulness and importance of this type of training. There are tens of billions of dollars spent on this aspect of training by businesses every year. Our entire school system from preschool to college is dedicated to this kind of training.

But what about the behavior side of the equation? This area of training is a bit more tricky. If skill reflects capability, behavior reflects attitude. A person’s attitude is usually pretty deeply ingrained. This is great if the attitude is a desirable one. Not so much if it is otherwise. I can’t stress the importance of this area enough. Hiring and firing decisions are made all the time based on attitude and behavior. Movies are made that share inspiring stories on little more than the premise of the power of a positive attitude.

Let’s look at the movie “Rudy” for example. It is the story of Rudy Ruttiger, a small kid who grew up with dreams of playing football for Notre Dame. A good portion of the movie is about his seemingly tireless effort and determination to even get accepted to Notre Dame, let alone play football for them. Once he finally makes the team, he is relegated to playing defense during practice only to help condition the offensive line that would actually see play time. In one scene, it is the last practice of the year. The season is basically over, yet Rudy is running every play as though it truly mattered. The quarterback gets upset when Rudy sacks him. You can see the juxtaposition of a player with great skill and a poor attitude and an unremarkable player with a great attitude. The coach calls out the quarterback saying, “If you had a tenth of the heart of Ruttiger’s you’d have made All-American!” It takes a lot of skill to play at the All-American level. This line says a lot. Check out the scene below.

The most skilled worker offers little to no value if they have a poor attitude. The good news is that this can be addressed with a bit of time and intention. Training for desired behavior is very relational. It’s not like Pavlov where you can ring a bell, hand out a treat, and they improve their attitude. It will require leaders to spend time with each other and their teams identifying behaviors that they want to promote and coaching to grow those behaviors.

When you combine a group of people into a team or organization, the collective attitude of the group is the culture. So the importance of this kind of training is that it allows you to purposefully perpetuate the desired culture of your organization. Here are several articles that explain the importance and value of culture in your business.

The fact the business culture and personal attitude play such large roles in achieving success is why I have chosen to devote one day every week to exploring, sharing, and teaching about training.

Thanks for joining me in this first installment of “Training Tuesday”. In a future installment, I will talk about the 2 M’s of improving attitudes and culture; Modeling and Morale.