The Five Strategies of The Virtues ProjectTM offers simple strategies that integrate character into corporate culture, tap into our natural desire to do well by doing good and live by our highest values.
This personal and professional development helps managers around the world to create a culture of character in the work place. Good leadership is having the ability see the virtues in themselves and others’ behaviour, calling on virtues such as courtesy, diligence and reliability to maintain their team’s cooperation and purposefulness.
Clients such as Hallmark Cards, MacMillian Bloedel, Spelman College, Telecom Fiji and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation have found The Five Strategies to be empowering communication skills that build passionate commitment and loyalty. They bring out the best in every team.
The Virtues ProjectTM was founded in 1991 by Linda Kavelin Popov, Dr. Dan Popov and John Kavelin. It is a global grassroots initiative that inspires the practice of virtues in everyday life.
This project is a catalyst for the renewal of kindness, justice and integrity in more than 85 countries and was honoured by the United Nations during the International Year of the Family as a “model global program for all cultures”.
It has inspired and mobilized thousands of families, educators, leaders and employees to commit acts of service and generosity to heal violence with virtues and to create safe and caring communities.
Gladys Tan, also a mother of three. Before being a mother, I worked with two regional airlines and there I developed the passion to serve those around me.
I’ve known of The Five Strategies since 2007 and became a facilitator in 2018 after experiencing first-hand how virtues and the strategies can be applied in all areas of one’s life. They have helped me through a few life changing events and helped me to be a more confident person and parent!
Since becoming a facilitator, I’ve been conducting workshops for parents and educators. Participants in the corporate world can expect to learn a new language that addresses the inner qualities of each person, empowering and inspiring each other to be at their best, tapping into the potential of the inner qualities rather than just managing behaviours. With trust, openness and mindfully put the strategies into practice, leaders/managers can expect a change in their team members’ character. Leaders also become mentor to their team members, guiding them to find their own clarity and peaceful solutions.
These strategies can be applied as an assessment tool to take the ethical temperature of an organization or as Managers’ toolkit, to build team unity and create a culture of character.
Speak the Language of Virtues
Language has great power to inspire or discourage. Using virtues language way of communication to acknowledge, thank, guide and correct awakens the best within us, and bring out the best in each person. Authentic encouragement and appreciation are definitely great motivators.
What are the strength virtues of our organization that support our successes?
What are the growth virtues we need to develop a more united team/department?
What virtues do we need more from each other?
Recognize Teachable Moments
Recognizing the virtues needed in daily challenges helps us to become life-long learners open to the lessons of character. Avoiding shaming and blaming defuses disunity and backbiting. Calling employees to a high level of accountability motivates them to perform with excellence and to make amends instead of excuses.
What is the teachable moment facing our organization/department now?
Without shame, blame or naming names, what virtues do we need to call on to move forward in alignment with our vision and mission?
Set Clear Boundaries
Boundaries based on respect and restorative justice create a climate of accountability, cooperation, unity and safety in our environment. People give their best both ethically and energetically when guidelines are clear, as opposed to the chaos of constantly shifting priorities and agreements.
How clear are our guidelines and expectations for employees?
What justice and human rights issues need to be addressed?
What corporate/team boundaries need to be clearer?
How well do our personal boundaries protect our time, energy and dignity?
Honor the Spirit
We sustain our vision and purpose by integrating virtues into our activities and celebrations. This strategy is also about nurturing individual dignity at all times. Themes such as Virtues of the Week will highlight your corporate values.
Do all of our stakeholders feel treated with dignity?
How committed are our people to our standards of service and courtesy?
How successfully are we imbedding our values into our environment?
Being deeply present and listening with compassion curiosity guides others to find clarity and to create their own solutions. It supports healing and growth. Asking what and how questions allows others to get to the heart of the matter.
How well do we listen to one another?
How effectively have we created a climate of trust?
How often do we take time to ask the right questions?
What issues in our organization need to be heard?
Questions ethical leaders asks:
1.What is the difference between ethics, values and virtues?
Ethics are agreed upon standards of conduct. Values are whatever people consider of worth, from material success to the importance of ethics. Virtues are simpler and more elemental. They are our inner qualities of character. All cultures and belief teach that the meaning of life springs from the virtues of our character, such as respect, compassion, excellence and honor. They may be practiced differently from one culture to another but they are universally valued.
2. How can we bring the values of our people into synch with our corporate values?
People are multi-sensory learners. To honor the corporate code, they need to have ownership in wither forging it or expressing it. They need to hear it in the way language is used to encourage and appreciate them and in their performance feedback; see it in visuals displayed on walls and screen savers and above all, in the actions of managers. They need to be touched by the passion and compassion expressed in the corporate values. They need to know that ethical excellence is expected of everyone without exception.
3. What leverage do I have to motivate my people to be ethical?
Your two greatest tools are your talk and walk- how you speak to people and how you live by your virtues. The single most motivating factor in dedication to the job, other than love for the work itself, is appreciation. From our earliest years, we crave approval and recognition. We need to be truly valued.
Virtues language is a tool that enhances authentic self-esteem by expressing appreciation specifically:
“I appreciate the initiative you showed in this project.” “That was really helpful.” “Thank you for giving 100% excellence to this as usual.” When correction is needed, ACT with Tact: Appreciation, Correct and Thank You. This “positive sandwich” allows people to save face and accept the Teachable Moment.
To model the virtues in your code of ethics, you don’t need to be a paragon of perfection. You do need to be an example of humility. When you make a mistake, take personal responsibility for it and make amends, not excuses. Share your victories and your challenges with others. Invite their support. Always be fair. Above all, show that you care. Acknowledge birthdays and births. Walk around and look your people in the eye. Be a world class listener.
4. What chance does one organization have against the tide of self-serving opportunism in the wider culture?
A key element that sustain a spirit of commitment is the desire to do something positive for the world. And people want to belong. If you create an island of caring and integrity in a sea of selfishness, people will want to stand with you.
5. How do we use our strengths in the area of ethics to attract good employees?
Good people are attracted to an organization that distinguishes itself by its high standards. This includes commitment to environment sustainability, genuine caring and excellent service to customers or clients and nurturing strong team unity.
Companies that are good corporate citizen and invest employee time in innovative service projects build deep loyalty. People want to be part of something positive, something that inspires hope for the world.
6. In a climate where it is difficult to retain talented employees, how do we build their loyalty?
Ethics plays a vital role here. If your organization values fairness, service, honesty and integrity, your managers must practice impeccable integrity in reflecting those values. When mistakes occur, even at the highest levels, employees need to know they will not be covered up, but rectified. When
integrity is the norm, their idealism will remain intact. If they know they are being compensated fairly and receive additional rewards for exceptional excellence, this builds loyalty as well. People want to enjoy the workplace, where they often spend the majority of their time. Humor, celebrations, pausing for applause when goals are won, and taking time for recreation together forges meaningful bonds.
7. What is an appropriate response to an ethics violation by an employee or manager?
Rather than blaming and finger pointing, treat the action as a Teachable Moment in which everyone involved seeks to discover their own responsibility and fix the problem. Employees will be more likely to feel safe coming forward after an error. Our goal as leaders is not to be tormentors but mentors. Rather than just getting rid of someone who makes a mistake, the goal is restorative justice, with an opportunity to make amends. If someone has a habitual pattern of violating the ethics code, this is a choice not to remain with your organization.