Can We Be Honest? Why Character Counts

Today I am reminded of what it feels like to be honest, or rather, to be on the receiving end of dishonest behavior.  Why is it that people have a hard time being honest?  What keeps people from being honest with themselves and others?

I had an experience yesterday that bummed me out.  Frankly, it had to do with another person’s dishonesty.  As I took some time to think it all through and learn from this experience, I began to call to mind one of Michael Josephson’s “Character Counts” radio programs I used to listen to during my dark-in-the-morning commutes (well, it didn’t really matter what I was doing, I always had time for Character Counts!) While his messages on the program tended to focus on the character building of youth, they were just as applicable for adults … if not more so. They provided reinforcement of timeless truths of a life of moral character through inspiring, captivating stories. You can read more into his work here.

As I went back and reflected on my own truths and those spoken in those radio programs, I began to do a little research on the topic of honesty. Spurred by my curiosity of wanting to understand people better, here is what I found.

What it takes to be honest and what it means if you’re not:

Honesty sometimes requires risk.  Honesty sometimes means you have to put your ego in check.   Revealing yourself and making yourself vulnerable can be challenging and can come at the most inopportune times.  Honesty takes personal growth and the more honest we are the more we grow for ourselves and in our relationships.

Maybe you made a promise and suddenly find you can’t keep it.  When do you come forward?  What happens the longer you wait?  It can really become a burden and a reality that if left without taking quick action creates an even bigger problem for you.  It weighs heavy on your mind, starts to distract you from your work, your relationships, your short or even long term goals.  Some people can even find you out before you have a chance to be honest, and that leaves you with other challenges like the question of your integrity, or your trustworthiness. And can I be honest? Dishonesty downright hurts!

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.  Growth in life, relationships, work and your community takes honesty.  Among other things, an honest look at who you are, where you are, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there.  Sometimes honesty takes forethought for how you want to share a message – I put that under the heading of emotional intelligence – and honesty can take assertiveness with yourself and others.  Honesty can be scary, but more often, honesty feels good. It can really lighten your load and take pounds off of you in a second.

I am following my own advice today to see where I can be more honest.  What is sitting on your plate that requires honest communication?  Resolve to take care of that one thing today and see how you feel.  Check in with yourself tomorrow and take another step toward your personal growth.

Enjoy the journey, it’s worth it!!


PS: If you want more inspiration here is an excerpt pulled from the Michael Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics:


Be honest. Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal . Be reliable, do what you say you’ll do. Have the courage to do the right thing. Build a good reputation. Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country.

See more at:



Team-Building: Outings and Projects to Encourage Harmony Among the Team

Team-building exercises allow you to get everyone in the team involved in light-hearted activities that build rapport and the members’ abilities to work together. They also allow for a little good-natured competition in many cases, keeping the competitive spirit alive. Team-building exercises also allow for a light-hearted way to overcome struggles within your team.

When team-building exercises cross your mind, you may have a lot of questions. Don’t think about it too much; team-building exercises can be just about any type of game or activity where small groups “battle” each other to win.

Quite frankly, almost any game can be turned into a team-building exercise. A game of charades can get people laughing and talking, and let’s be honest: sometimes a little laughing and hilarity can really lighten the mood around the office! Other ideas include bingo, Pictionary, and hangman. While they may seem like children’s games, they are simple ways to bring smiles and cooperation among team members.

If games strike your fancy, small rewards make it all the better for the participants. Prizes don’t have to be huge, nor are they always necessary (let’s face it, winning is a prize in itself!). Lunch on the house for the winning team or an early departure on a Friday are two examples of prizes that may boost the competition a bit more.

Outings can also prove effective. Many companies offer team-building retreats or activities, ranging from obstacle courses to planned events. A golf scramble may suit the interests of most of your team, or a visit to an arcade-style venue may pique the curiosity of your workers.

Team-building exercises bring a fun way to boost creativity and cooperation, while giving a “non-work” feel to a definitely work-related project.

Aligning Culture with Values in the Employment Process

Company culture is one of the most important aspects that should be assessed during the hiring process.

When navigating through the hiring process, hiring managers should not only review applicants based upon their skill set and expertise, but for the individuality and unique personalities that they will bring to the group.

Group dynamics within corporations are often the tipping point of great culture over disgruntled employees.

Those individuals who fit within the values of the company culture have a greater sense of loyalty, responsibility and ownership for their stake in the success that takes place within the environment. Employees that are haphazardly thrown together don’t have that same cohesiveness. And, as we’ve all seen in various organizations, one disgruntled employee can easily take down many co-workers on their way out.

Let’s take a look at what can you do to ensure you’ve got the right people with the right fit for your culture.

When hiring, assess these points:

  • Listen to the language the person uses. What things are they passionate about? What gets them excited? What are their hot buttons?
  • What’s their personality? Calm, relaxed, ambitious, competitive? What style will best fit with the other members on your team?
  • What’s their problem solving style? Individualistic, collaborative?
  • Are they adaptable, flexible and feel a sense of empowerment to take ownership of tasks?
  • Does the individual have a passion or an interest in the type of product or service you are delivering? Can they understand their role in the bigger picture of the company?

Aligning company culture with a new hire increases the likelihood that your new hire will be there for the long-term. Don’t overlook this important aspect of the hiring process.

3 Types of Mentoring You Should Offer

Companies with abundant mentoring opportunities are more likely to retain their people. To achieve this, offer a range of mentors for people at different career stages. Here are three types of mentoring you should consider:

  • Buddy or peer mentors. In the early stages of a person’s career, a “buddy” can help speed up the learning curve. This relationship helps the protégé understand how things work at the organization.
  • Career mentors. After the initial period at a workplace, employees need to have a senior manager serve as a career advisor and advocate.
  • Life mentors. A life mentor serves as a periodic sounding board when one is faced with a career challenge. Organizations can’t necessarily offer a life mentor but they can encourage seeking one.

This article was originally posted on Harvard Business Review’s  Management Tip of the Day and was adapted from “Keeping Great People with Three Kinds of Mentors” by Anthony Tjan.

Inspiring Creativity in the Corporate World

Creative thinking at work, Corporate creativityIt’s likely your company is employed with many creative thinkers, perhaps with one who could ultimately provide the company’s next million-dollar idea. But is your company inspiring creativity in the corporate world?

If you take a look at a few of the companies who foster creativity in the workplace, you can gain valuable insight into what it takes to make an incredible company, brand, and product.

Some of the companies, who really understand this concept like Pixar and Apple, think outside of the corporate-culture box. Water coolers are strategically placed for conversation and collaboration. Basketball courts are open to the employees all day. Workspaces aren’t drab and dreary, and education and advancement opportunities are encouraged.

Don’t worry, if you can’t redecorate your office or add a gym, you can always implement these strategies to kickoff creativity in the workplace:

  1. Give everyone a chance to lead and be heard. When you only allow management to make decisions and come up with strategy you lose a lot of creative thought in the process. Enlist the entire team (that is involved) for feedback, brainstorming, and ideas – that means you must also listen. Team meetings can’t be used as a façade that employee’s are being heard. If they aren’t, they’ll quickly catch on and you’ll do more harm than good.
  2. Provide free time for thinking and contemplation. It’s rare that you hear of someone’s most brilliant idea coming while sitting at their computer desk, swamped with weeks worth of work. Free time – whether sitting on a couch and day dreaming, taking a walk in the park, or working in the community garden is where most people get their greatest ideas.
  3. Encourage risk-taking. Be sure that you encourage and reward risk-taking in the workplace and outside of it. When people get out of their comfort zones alternative ways of thinking begin.
  4. Reward great ideas. When your staff brings a great idea – make sure they get rewarded for it. Even public acknowledgment goes along way in fostering creativity.
  5. Hold contests. Create a challenge or a contest to get everyone involved, and make the stakes high enough that people are interested and really do want to WIN!

    Take the time to foster creativity in your workplace and you just might a solution you never thought possible.