Updated: Jan 30, 2019
I was having coffee with a friend last week. His daughter has just turned 18, and is having quite a few suitors chasing after her. Out of curiosity, I half-jokingly asked him if he is going to “vet” through and interview all her dates and boyfriends. He looked at me seriously and asked what if he is out of town. I persisted with a “brilliant” follow-up question: “Precisely! If you are out of town, would you let her go out without vetting and interviewing the date?”
He thought about it for a while, and then replied that he would absolutely interview each and every one of those guys, and make sure they are OK, even if he is out of town. Now I was getting a bit confused. “Skype” or “facetime” came to my ignorant mind. What he said next surprised me.
He followed on by explaining that the relationship his whole family has built up together is so close such that the family values have been internalized inside them. Every guy will be evaluated by her daughter’s own thinking about whether he is OK or not. He said she needs to make those values her own, so that they will be guiding and protecting her, whether or not he has interviewed them, or whether or not he is out of town. But if he happens to be in town, then hell yes, he still wants to meet the guy :))
My friend wanted to trust his daughter, not control her, by allowing their family values to be the guiding compass for her. This has been a great lesson about trust, and about values.
Values, when internalized, set the bar for how leaders and our team members are going to work together. They guide our decisions, words, and actions. Are our team members clear about our company values? Have we internalized them into our daily thoughts and actions? Are our leaders great role models for these values?
Once the company values are clarified, fortified and well lived out in our daily experiences, leaders can let go more easily, and trust more deeply. In return, team members can have more confidence, initiative and pride to move forward. They don’t just represent the company. They represent the values they stand for.