Friday, November 15, 2013

Engage ASPIRE for SUCCESS - Conversations on the Stairway of Excellence



Conversations on the Stairway of Excellence

We at Valmar International have a VISION of contributing significantly to Human Resource Development and influence people to continuously A-S-P-I-R-E for Success by adopting these tenets of life.
Accountability for Results       
strength & Stability of Values
passion & Purpose in Performance
integrity of Intent
reliability in Relationships
excellence as a Way of Life

Engaging ASPIRE Conversations

Valmar International has a VISION of contributing significantly to Human Resource Development and influence people to continuously A-S-P-I-R-E for Success.
More and more people are beginning to realize that all is not well with the way in which we relate to each other.  They are experiencing difficulties in their family relationships, in their closest friendships, and with their wider circle of acquaintances, both in their private and working lives.
What prevents us adopting these tenets of life and putting this knowledge into practice?
Accountability for Results 

Accountability is answer-ability, blameworthinessliability, and the expectation of account-giving. Within an organization, the principles and practices of ethical accountability aim to improve both the internal standard of individual and group conduct as well as external factors, such as sustainable economic and ecologic strategies.

Accountability is honestly.   It is one of those factors that one would expect to be a necessary part of an organization not only because it is expected but because it is a necessary evil.  It has become a new fact of life and affects an organization like no other factor. 
To start the ASPIRE conversation, we would like to engage you in the following questions, and we would really value your views:

Ø  to have your views on what you think is Accountability and how important it is in today’s work life;
Ø  how do you / your organisation advocate Accountability;
Ø  are there any measures to manage Accountability;
Ø  what needs to be done to demonstrate Accountability;
Ø  what competences do you look for in people that would add up to Accountability.

“The battle cry for any business is performance, productivity and accountability.”

strength & Stability of Values
Values have been a central concept in the social sciences since their inception.  Values have played an important role not only in sociology, but in psychology, anthropology, and related disciplines as well. Values are used to characterize societies and individuals, to trace change over time, and to explain the motivational bases of attitudes and behavior.
The Nature of Values
When we think of our values we think of what is important to us in life. Each of us holds numerous values (e.g., achievement, security, benevolence) with varying degrees of importance. A particular value may be very important to one person but unimportant to another. What distinguishes one value from another is the type of goal or motivation that the value expresses.
Strength is the ability to withstand stresses and pressures on an everyday basis and especially at crucial moments in life. When it comes to choosing a partner, making ethical choices, taking a stand for what one believes in, standing up for someone, deciding to make uncomfortable but necessary decisions, strength and stability have never been more important. 
Stability is what one experiences when practicing our strengths regularly and continuously. It is an outcome that reassures oneself and others and provides for long term plans, decisions and relationships.
We would like to engage you in the following questions, and we would really value your views:
Ø   on What Values do you consider important in today’s Work Life & the need for Strength and Stability of these Values 
Ø  how do you / your organization provide a framework to stimulate Strength and Stability of your Organisation's Values
Ø  what competences do you look for in people that would help you assess or make apparent, their ability to demonstrate  Strength and Stability of Values.

“The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.”

Passion & Purpose in Performance
Passion is the energy that comes from bringing more of YOU into what you do.

Simply put, it's being who you are and doing what comes naturally. When what you do is in alignment with who you are, you get energy from doing it. It's like water flowing along its natural riverbed. It actually gains energy from the path it's taking . Compare that to what most people experience in their work, which is more like trying to force it up and over a mountain !

One simple approach that is at the heart of living your passion is to go beyond what you love and ask why you love it. Do some reverse engineering to identify the underlying characteristics that tend to be in place when you're on fire.

In a sense, purpose goes beyond physical and emotional needs. When we look at purpose, we don't look at it so much as a need but as a higher extension of our reason for being. When we look at purpose, we look at it as something more elevated than the basic physical needs for which we may set goals we want to achieve.

Purpose is freeing, needs are restricting. Your purpose will be found within your passion. Talent may play a role but people can always build up any skill requirement. Without passion, talent can be ineffective.

Performance is simply the production of valid results.

We would like to engage you with the following questions, and we would really value your views on the following :
·        How do you describe Passion & Purpose in Performance
·        How possible is it in today’s high stress and demanding work life;
·        How do you / your organization create a sense of passion and purpose in your teams?
·        What difference does this make to the business deliverables and results?

 “The loyal relationships will be earned through the passionate commitment of enthusiastic and energetic teams.”

integrity of Intent
Integrity is to act according to what is right and wrong.

The single most important quality you can ever develop that will enhance every part of your life, is the value of integrity. Integrity is the core quality of a successful and happy life. Having integrity means being totally honest and truthful in every part of your life. By making the commitment to become a totally honest person, you will be doing more to ensure your success and happiness in life than anything else you can ever do.

Integrity is a value, like persistence, courage, and intelligence. It is your choice of values and resolution to live by those values that form your character and personality. And it is integrity that enhances all your other values. The quality of person you are is determined by how well you live up to the values that are most important to you. Integrity is the quality that locks in your values and causes you to live consistent with them.

Integrity is the foundation of character. A person who has integrity also has an unblemished character in every area of his or her life. One of the most important activities you can engage in, is developing your character. And one of the best ways to develop your character is by consistently doing the same things that a thoroughly honest person would do in every area of his or her life.

To be totally honest with others, you first have to be totally honest with yourself. You have to be true to yourself. You have to be true to the very best that is in you. Only a person who is consistently living a life with the highest values and virtues is a person truly living a life of integrity. If you are always honest and true to yourself you cannot be false to anyone else.

The mark of people who have high integrity is, they always do the highest quality of work in everything they do. They are the people who are always totally honest with themselves in everything they do, and strive to excellent work on every occasion. People with high integrity realize that everything they do is a statement about who they are as a person.

Your integrity is manifested in your willingness to adhere to the values that are most important to you. It’s easy to make promises but often very hard to keep them. But every time you keep a promise that you’ve made, it is an act of integrity, which in turn strengthens your character. As you act with integrity in everything you do, you will find that every part of your life will improve. You will begin to attract the best people and situations into your life. You will become an outstanding person as well as a success in everything you do.

We would like to engage you in the following questions, and we would really value your views:

Ø  Is Integrity really a central focus of most people’s work ethic ?
Ø  How do you / your organization promote or measure Integrity ?
Ø  What values do you feel need to be associated with Integrity to make it work especially under difficult circumstances ?

Integrity is what we say, what we do, and what we say we do.

reliability in Relationships

The Five Floors of Relationships
An extract from the acclaimed book
“It’s Not Just Who You Know” by Tommy Spaulding

Tommy Spaulding is President, Spaulding Leadership Institute
Website : 

I know thousands of people, and many of them wield tremendous influence. If life and business were all about “who you know”, then I’d be set. But none of those relationships took an extraordinary value unless I approached them with the idea that they mattered for something above and beyond the transaction. I didn’t set out to make the bartender a lifelong friend, for instance, and that type of friendship never materialized. But I also didn’t settle for what I call a First Floor relationship.

I think of relationships in terms of a five-floor building. The deeper and more meaningful a relationship, the higher the floor it resides on. My closest, deepest relationships are Fifth Floor, or Penthouse, relationships.

Let me be clear – relationships seldom fit neatly into a box (or a building). They’re far too dynamic. Some overlap on different floors, and others seem to move up and down floors like an elevator. But the FIVE FLOOR plan helps give me a reference point and allows me to think about the boundaries that define my relationships, so that I can continually work to make them stronger and more rewarding. I try to develop strong relationships at every level. And because my relationships with others matter so much to me, and because I come to them intending to help others, many of these relationships develop into something more meaningful than anything I had imagined.

Most relationships start on the FIRST FLOOR. We meet and we greet. We exchange business cards. It typically involves a transactional exchange.  We need something specific from the other person – an airline ticket, or lunch, or help with a question. After we get what we want, we move on. We engage in dozens of First Floor relationships each day – with clients, colleagues, the postal clerk, the receptionist at the dentist’s office, the waitress at the restaurant, the flight attendant on the airplane.

This is where most relationships start. But all too often we allow our relationships to stay there.

The next level of relationships – SECOND FLOOR relationships – is where we begin sharing more information. But it’s very basic information, the type we dispense out of social obligation or because it’s a job requirement, not because we’re offering some insight into who we are.

At work, “positional authority” often guides these kinds of relationships. We interact because the other person’s position, or our position, requires it. But Second Floor relationships also result from casual friendships with people whom we know to degree, but not particularly well. Perhaps you catch a foot-ball game together for a holiday gathering. These are people with whom we hold polite conversations, but the level of intimacy seldom moves beyond NSW – news, sports, and weather. They never talk about the things in life that challenge or really define them. And as a result, they never rise about the Second Floor.

In THIRD FLOOR relationships, people develop an emotional comfort level that goes beyond facts and information. Instead of resting on NSW conversations, we begin sharing opinions and feelings. It’s not uncommon to feel safe enough to exchange competing viewpoints, and just on trivial matters. In business, positional authority remains the primary guiding force in Third Floor relationships. Our position at work requires us to say what we think, rather than just present data, because our opinions can help shape decisions. The higher we move up the organizational chart, the more our opinions and concerns about issues matter.

In Third Floor relationships, we learn about the lives of our co-workers, vendors, clients, and other professional associates, and we begin to understand something about who they are as people, even if we don’t necessarily agree with all of their opinions. And we’re sharing personal information about ourselves our ideas and feelings.

But it’s also in Third Floor relationships that we discover what I call a “wall a conflict.” Relationships often stall here because the inevitable conflict acts as a locked door to the staircase leading up. But it also resents opportunities to foster the type of interactions that can lead to much deeper relationships.

Genuine relationships aren’t based on your position or on a hierarchy. Darlyne Bailey, in The Leader of the Future 2 (Jossey – Bass, 2006), defines characteristic of genuine, authentic leadership: “Positions of power are just that – positions. True leaders know that who they are is much more than what they do.”

In a FOURTH FLOOR relationship, the relationship takes on deeper, more significant meaning. We share common interests, goals, beliefs, and causes. We’ve also learned to work through conflicts, and we’re responding in ways that show that we value the relationship for its own sake.

The increased trust and respect we share in such relationships also leads to greater vulnerability and openness. We might confide that our marriage is failing, or discuss private, sensitive details about our finances with such a friend, both in an effort to share our dreams and fear, as well as to ask for their advice and support.

We still may not share all of our flaws and insecurities with Fourth friends, and they don’t yet share all of theirs with us. But we don’t judge each other the way we did in the early stages of the relationship.

FIFTH FLOOR relationships – the Penthouse of relationships –vulnerability, authenticity, trust, and loyalty are off the charts. They are relationships based on a shared empathy – an intuitive understanding of each other’s needs, even those that aren't necessarily expressed. We literally “feel” another person’s state of mind. It’s a relationship based more on giving than on getting. But that kind of giving gives us more that we could possibly imaging.

In Fifth Floor relationships, we become confidants, advisers, and partners in helping the other person achieve their greatest potential.

Yes, Fifth Floor relationships are uncommon, if for no other reason that the amount of time and energy required to develop and maintain such relationships. But our tendency is to put unnecessary limits on our Fifth Floor relationships. We may think we only have room for two or three such relationships, when in fact we can easily embrace a dozen or more. Or we think only certain types of people can relate to use on a Fifth Floor level. We think we can’t have a Penthouse relationship with, say, a homeless man we met at a soup kitchen, or with our spouse’s ex-spouse. But that’s simply not true. There is no limit to our ability to reach out to others.

 Before we can get to the Penthouse, we first have to learn how to get off the First Floor.

All relationships require hard work, patience, understanding, and, yes, tactics and strategies designed to make them blossom. But don’t confuse that with manipulation. We can have tactics and strategies for building relationships, just as we have tactics and strategies for marketing, selling, advertising, production, distribution, and customer service.

The key to creating a rich network of relationships, however, is understanding this deep and basic truth: motives matter.  By building meaningful relationships, without sacrificing our integrity or treating other people as a means to an end, I’m convinced we not only can achieve our goals but move beyond them, personally and professionally. Here are the nine key traits that I’ve found help us to achieve real relationships:

Authenticity                             confidentiality                          generosity
Humility                                   vulnerability                             humor
Empathy                                  curiosity                                   gratitude

These traits relate more to “who you are” then to “what you do.” They are deeply personal. That’s because who you are is far more important in building relationships than what you do. The things we “do” in reaching out to others typically flow out of our inner character. Our actions reflect our character. All relationships fall somewhere within the five-floor structure. The goal is to develop the ability to build relationships at all five levels. That means developing the traits that define “who we are,” as well as identifying and practicing the actions we need to take.

We would like to engage you in the following questions, and we would really value your views:
Ø   How much do you feel business success is based on systems & processes or relationships inside and outside the organization?
Ø   How do you / your organization encourage relationship management especially in difficult times where results seem to be all that matters?
Ø   How do performance appraisals really need to measure or factor in the quality of the relationships the employee is building?

excellence as a Way of Life

THIRTY Ways to live a life of excellence:

1.     Discover your purpose. – Our physical life started when we were born.  Our real life starts when we discover our purpose.  What is your purpose?  What is your mission statement for your life? 

2.     Follow your passion. – To do what you love is truly the only way to live.  Don’t just pursue as a hobby; turn it into your career. 

3.     Set your goals. – If you can have whatever you want, what would you like?  What are your biggest goals and dreams?  Set them. 

4.     Create a life handbook. – A life handbook is a concept where you have a book to write your life purpose, goals, dreams, plans, values, mottos, and other things that are important to you as you pursue your best life. 

5.     Have the right mindset. – The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts.  If you think life sucks, life will indeed suck.  On the other hand, if you are set to live your best life, the paths will open up in front of you.  No one can stop you if you have the right mindset.

6.     Create your bucket list. – A bucket list is a list of things to do before you die.  All of us are going to die one day.  What are all the things you want to do/see/say/experience before you die?  It can be seeing the world, living your dreams, going skydiving, falling in love, among countless others. 

7.     Get mentors. – You have dreams and big visions, and there are people who have likely been there and done that.  Get them to mentor you.  It’ll definitely cut down the learning curve and ease your journey.  With a mentor, you can unlock your potential and achieve so much more.

8.     Stop worrying so much– The majority of our fears exist only in our head.  Get rid of them and spend the energy on something productive.

9.     Get closer with your parents– Many of us only have functional relationships with our family.  Some of us might even have estranged family relationships. 

10.  Let go of negative friendships. – If you have friends who discourage you and pull you down, it’s time to get rid of them.  Getting rid might be too harsh for some, so distancing is a good alternative.  Instead of wasting time and energy resisting them, focus your energy on people and things that make you happy.

11.  Surround yourself with positive people– Do you know you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with?  Your attitudes, beliefs, accomplishments and success are a function of the people you spend time around.  Think about the people who inspire you and spend more time with them.  You’ll be amazed at the effects they’ll have on you.
12.  Release your limits– They say the sky is the limit.  Disagree.  We are our own limits. It’s then about releasing our limits so we can live our best lives.  What are you limiting yourself from doing?  Stop holding yourself back.  Go out and get what you want.

13.  Believe in yourself. – The majority of the times we have been able to achieve something is because we started out believing we could do it, rather than acquiring that belief after we achieved it. 

14.  Wake up early– Switching to waking early at days is incredible.  You feel more productive, get more done and more eager to work to keep the momentum going.  It’s something you have to try yourself to know the difference.

15.  Eat a healthy diet. – A healthy diet just - starts a life of excellence.  What’s in your daily diet?  Junk?  Fast food?  Fried food?  Or healthy, nutritious food?  Fruits?  Vegetables?

16.  Exercise regularly– Aside from a regular gym routine, try other sports to spice it up your workouts.  Frisbee, badminton and swimming are some of my favorite sports.  These make exercising a lot more fun.

17.  Plan your days. – Do you plan your days?  Did you wake up today knowing what you are supposed to do today?  If not, maybe it’s time you do.  Planning doesn’t have to be long and tedious; it can just be a 30 second process.  Every night, think about a few small things that you want to accomplish tomorrow and write them down.  When you wake up the next morning, review this list before you do anything else.

18.  Nurture those whom you love– The magical feeling of love.  The fluttering of your heart.  The internal smile you get when you think of those who you care for most.  It’s impossible to live a life of excellence without sharing quality time with those whom you love.

19.  Try something new. – Routines stagnate us.  New experiences help us grow and they make life interesting.  Make an effort to try something new every week.  It can be a whole new activity or just a small experience, such as talking to a stranger.

20.  Stop watching TV– Why stop watching TV?  The bulk of content on TV is consciousness lowering.  TV has been proven by research to be linked with lower life satisfaction.  TV ads motivate you spend more money frivolously.  TV wastes lots and lots of time.  Try it out for 21-days and see how you feel.  Be sure to read: 

21.  Stop obsessing over the news– A lot of news today resonates with fear, guilt, shame and hate.  Depending on your news source, many are largely sensationalized and biased as well.  You don’t need to watch the news every day for an hour to know that there are car accidents, murders and wars out there.  Focus your energy on how you can address those problems instead.

22.  Don’t be trapped by dogma– Don’t feel compelled to follow others all the time.  Pave your own path.  Follow your heart.  Don’t fall into the trap of operating on everyone’s whim.  Listening is okay, but doing what everyone wants is simply unhealthy.  Execute the good feedback and follow your vision.

23.  Be compassionate– Show love and kindness to all the people around you.  Respect everyone.  They may not react in a kind way immediately, but they will notice and appreciate your kindness. To love is to be human.

24.  Smile more. – It takes more muscles to frown than to smile.  So let’s smile more often.  :)

25.  Criticize less, appreciate more– Do you like overly critical people?  They are a dread to be around.  So let’s be less critical.  Don’t stare so hard at what’s missing.  Learn to see and appreciate what’s there instead.

26.  Keep a journal to self-reflect–  By having a place to freely let out our thoughts and ponder over them, we get a lot more clarity about ourselves.  If you are not sure where to start with, try 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind, 20 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Sunday.

27.  Forgive those who hurt you– To forgive is to let go of a prisoner and to realize that the prisoner all along was you.  Don’t hold on to past hatred.  Let it go.  You’ll find new, wonderful things entering your life once you do.

28.  Enrich your mind reading great books– Books contain concentrated volumes of wisdom.  It’s not surprising then that most knowledgeable people are also very well-read. 

29.  Coach someone. – There’s no better way to learn than to teach others.  Is there someone who can benefit from your help?  Offer to coach them for free.  It’ll be an enlightening experience for both of you.

30.  Meet new people– Most humans have a habit of stagnating in a small circle of friends.  But it doesn’t help us grow.  Get out there and meet new people.  You’ll be surprised at the lessons they will teach you and the new opportunities they will inject into your life.

Act now.  We only live once.  Let’s live our lives in excellence.

 “Excellence is the Result of Caring more than others think is Wise, Risking more than others think is Safe, Dreaming more than others think is Practical, and Expecting more than others think is Possible.”