Q&A: How do your values guide your professional life?
Tiffany: I'm your host, Tiffany Sauder, and this is Scared Confident.
We're picking up in the middle of a four-week series talking about values. Going through questions about how my personal values just impact different areas of my life. Quick recap, what are my personal values?
Because we're going to talk about a couple of them today and, in particular, how they affect my decision making in a professional setting. Be vulnerable, pursue family, demand excellence, stay scared, serve others. Love God. Those are our values. So I'm going to pull a couple of those and talk through how do they show up in my professional life?
And is it the same or different than what we talked about last week with how it shows up in my personal life. I'm actually going to start with pursue family and in the way that this has shown up in my work, I kind of feel like what you're expecting me to say is like, I see all my employees as family. Like I actually don't.
I think they're awesome. I love working beside them, but they're not my family and I'm not theirs. And I think that that's important that we actually be clear about that. What I will say, as it relates to the value of pursue family, I have been really candid with the people who work at Element Three, my team, about some of my own, like, I would say mistakes as it relates to not always having pursued family as authentically as I really wanted to, and that created some issues. I think early in building Element Three, whenever you're starting something new, it just takes a ton of time. I can't change that for you.
It is going to take a lot of time and it's not going to come without sacrifice. But where I went wrong, when it came to pursuing family, early in Element Three is that I would make false promises basically to my husband and to my family about when I was going to be home, what that was going to look like and it created just a ton of tension. And so me not living this value of pursuing family authentically created problems which was probably part of my process of picking up this value of something that was really important to me. Also, I think, playing it out in my professional life of saying, you have to create boundaries, you have to be clear about what is and is not okay for your family and their expectations that they have of you and vice versa, because if you're not, this is going to fall down for you and there's going to be a domino effect that creates a lot of problems in your professional life. Why our professional life? Because it's distracting. When you have people mad at you at home, it takes energy. When your family is not there to be able to support you and be alongside you when you're dealing with challenges at work, like that takes emotional bandwidth. When we can really set those relationships up in our family with good expectations on both sides, I think our professional place is served in really positive ways when we do that. I don't come out and tell my employees, you need to pursue family, but I do be really candid with them about my own mistakes and I want them to learn from it. I have this saying that I say, or about this is that the people who are getting your excuses are the relationships you are sacrificing. The people who are getting your excuses are the relationships you are sacrificing. So how that practically plays out is... True or false. This would happen. Hey babe, I'm sorry. I'm an hour late. I had some really important things come up at work. I had to finish up an email. Somebody called me on my way home. You know, I was in the garage for 40 minutes, finishing up a call, whatever this looks like in that scenario, who's getting my excuses? My husband, who's getting my priority?
You know, employee, client, whoever at home. So what relationship am I sacrificing? The one with my husband. Like, did this ever happen? You know, like I could roll into work on a Thursday morning and I say, like, Oh my word, I'm so sorry. I didn't get that presentation done for you. I got into a really deep discussion with my husband about just something really important about the future of our life, and so I didn't get this PowerPoint deck done. Like, I'm not saying you shouldn't keep your commitments. That's not what I'm saying. But always I was sacrificing my relationships with my family at the expense of, you know, showing up well for these other commitments that I had instead of creating really crisp boundaries so that I could show up well for both of those people in my life.
So the other one I'll look to is serve others. You know, there's a lot of platitudes around servant leadership and what it looks like that, you know, org charts are flips upside down and you really work for your people. All of that I think is true. Good leaders do serve their people. But how I think this really explicitly has showed up for me in serving others is having a wide angle lens on every person who works at Element Three, in particular. I think those who report directly to me that most people are not going to live their entire professional careers inside the walls of Element Three. So how do I take a wide-angle lens on who they are, and who they're becoming, and what they want to be, and how they want to develop and really first look at them as the person they are and then secondarily as the performer I need them to be for Element Three, like their contribution, their performance to the overall goal scorecard, et cetera of what we're doing. I think, for me, it's created just much richer relationships and connections because you really do stop and understand, like where do you come from and what's informed the way that you view the world? And, how did you stumble upon the things that you dream of, and what are the things that cause and create fear for you, and how do I be bold and confident in the way that I help them develop as a person and then secondarily help them, sort of, be great at their role.
The last one I'll touch on is, Serve God. I think any of us who are in a position of leadership influence culture development, that come from a place of faith, and I am a Christian and that sort of my faith orientation, but it doesn't descend to specific to being a Christian. When, you know, if you have a faith orientation, you have a decision to make. Like how acutely or like sort of head on do you bring that into your company, into your culture? You've certainly see companies that are more forward of being Christian-owned or Christian businesses, or really specific, I would say Christian orientations in their value choice. That's not the decision that I've made to bring that, that acutely into Element Three and I think it might be interesting for me to share some of the decisions are on that. The first one I heard somebody say, What is a company? Like, what do you point to you pointed a building? Well, that's a building, that's not really a company. It's like, will you point to like the place that, you know, the spots people work?
It's like, well, those are desks. Those aren't really a company. It's like, well, maybe you point to the thing that you filed with the Secretary of State. It's like, well, that's a government filing. Like what really is a company? It's actually an idea. And a company does not have a soul. It has a culture that the people create, but the company itself does not have a soul that can be saved.
The idea of it being Christian or not, or Jewish or not, I was sort of like, I dunno, I don't think that's a thing for me. I can choose to be a Christian. I can choose to sort of own those values and those principles and play those out, but I don't know that my company is necessarily a Christian. It doesn't have a soul.
So that was some of my own thinking around how that did or did not come forward, like really acutely into the creation of Element Three and our culture and our values. The other thing is that I think we're mostly judged by the way we are and not the words, the things we intend to be. I hope that my life and my decisions and my choices and the things that people close to me, watch me behave, shines a light on those things I want to perpetuate – love and mercy and grace and forgiveness and unity and those types of things. So I have really challenged myself by saying, how does my behavior tell the story and not using kind of the crutch of religion to do that for me. Those are maybe not a good choice of words around that, but that's what comes to mind right now as I'm sort of speaking through this answer.
So I think it's important when you are creating a family, you have this sort of personal space that you're defining. It's important to get really crisp about what your values are. And then you have to get really clear about what you let into that space, the leader you work for, the company you give your time to, the organizations, the religious institutions, the things that you connect to, are they aligned with the thing you're seeking to become more of? I hope so.
So what else is on your mind? Text me 317-350-8921. 317-350-8921 – and be sure to follow along on your favorite podcast app. Thanks for listening today.