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The 7 Pillars of Visionary Leadership, Pillar VII: Valuing

By Michael E. Rock, Ed.D. |


"Return-on-Integrity-in-Relationships (ROI-R)"
(Part 7 of 7)


"When you have a great culture
where you care for employees,
then employees care for you
and it releases
that deeper level of creativity and productivity,
which comes from the heart."

–Richard Barrett, former "Values-Coordinator," World Bank1

"Patients who walk into the Mayo Clinic in Rochester enter an environment of comfort and tradition that is worlds apart from the institutional atmosphere of many modern hospitals. Fine art hangs on walls throughout the clinic. In the waiting areas of each medical department, professional greeters ease new patients through the admission process, reassuring them in homey upper-midwestern accents. They greet returning patients by name. Doctors see patients in private offices -- cozy spaces decorated with personal items -- rather than in sterile white-and-chrome exam rooms. The overall effect is one of orderliness, function, and, above all, vigour."2

"Integrity is the pursuit of values consistent with our highest insights about life. It goes beyond expediency. To fail in integrity is to violate one's inner soul or personhood."

Michael E. Rock, Ethics: To Live By, To Work By3

"The human moment, then, is a regulator: when you take it away, people's primitive instincts can get the better of them. Just as in the anonymity of an automobile, where stable people can behave like crazed maniacs, so too on a keyboard: courteous people can become rude and abrupt."

– Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., Harvard psychiatrist4

We are trapped in an untenable position in our conceptual cosmology, according to Wade Rowland, in his recent book Ockham's Razor.5 We have sought, as the bible has recommended, to go forth, multiply, and subdue the earth: "And God blessed Adam and Eve and said, €˜Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; you are the masters of the fish and the birds and all the animals" (Genesis 2:28). The only problem with that biblical encouragement is that we built a dominator model of the world. Today we need a partnership model, personally and professionally. We don't need "value added"; we need "added valuing."

Carol Hymowitz of The Wall Street Journal says it bluntly: "Note to Managers: Dish Out Praise."6 As she points out in her article, it is the subtle things that matter -- the EQ, or emotional quotient -- of the managers that develops the caché for a corporate culture that values people, delivers pride, and is rewarded with profit. For instance, you notice in the morning that an employee has sent you an e-mail at 2:00 a.m. Do you say to yourself, "Why is she up so late?" or "Is he trying to impress me?" Dr. Dan Conti, a psychologist and head of employee assistance at Banc One Corp. in Columbus, Ohio, says that perhaps the employee is trying to tell you something: VALUE ME ! Hymowitz continues:

While managers are routinely warned by their bosses about the difficulty of weeding out underperformers, few are advised about the more demanding challenge of consistently encouraging employees who are "good enough," as well as the ones considered stars.

Praising and giving direction to employees can't be left to the goodness of the managers' hearts. And it can't be a sometimes thing saved for the annual performance review. It has to be made part of the corporate culture.

QUESTION: "Does Your Organization Reward ROIR (Return-on-Investment/Integrity in Relationships)?"

Let's do an organizational check. Think of the organization you work in. Estimate fairly and honestly your answer to the following seven (7) questions. Use the scale below to make your choice:

1 = To a very little extent
2 = To a little extent
3 = To some extent
4 = To a great extent
5 = To a very great extent

The organization I work for ...

Item No. Item My Score
Nourishes and values winners.  
Honours employees and their contributions.  
Practices what it preaches.  
Values risk-taking and innovative ideas.  
Nurtures commitment through motivation and community.  
Believes in what it is doing.  
"Walks the talk."  


If you scored 32-35:  You value ROIR in your organization.
If you scored 28-31:  You're doing all right, but need to improve.
If you scored 25-27:  You definitely need to take stock right now.
If you scored 0-24:  You are, or will be, in trouble.

The 20/20 Leadership Value Path

Below is a renewed leadership value path, a path that gets us over the hurdles of despair, of not seeing a future worth going to. Think of what kind of workplace yours would be if all the 20/20 Pillars were in place for you at work.

Spirit of enthusiasm
How do you value
enduring success?
Spirit of direction
How do you value
a higher vision?
Spirit of discovery
How do you value
true north?
Spirit of transformation
How do you value
a temple of learning?
Spirit of sharing
How do you value
learning to change?
Spirit of service
How do you value the
transformational journey?
Spirit of community
How do you value
enthusiasm at work?

No matter what happens, we must never lose sight of valuing. Even if the outward temple -- call it a job, a house, loss of parents, etc. -- occurs, we still have that inner temple with us always.

The Dalai Lama lost his physical temple, but he still has great influence. His inner temple has pillars founded on an integral vision. In this time of insecurity he offers us some very insightful advice: We have a good brain ... allowing us to judge what is right and what is wrong, not only in terms of today's concerns, but considering ten, twenty, or even a hundred years in the future. Without any precognition, we can use our normal common sense to determine if something is a right or wrong method; we can decide that if we do such and such, it will lead to such and such an effect. ... We must safeguard our mental capacity for judgement. For that, we cannot take out insurance; the insurance company is within: self-discipline, self-awareness. ... But first we must change within ourselves.7


We have looked at 7 pillars of visionary leadership throughout these articles. While we can apply the thinking to many areas of our lives, one area that seriously needs addressing is that of work. I contrast "work" v. "job." The concept "job" has been with us really only since the time of the industrial revolution. Job was the term that could visually summarize, if you will, the "things" that went into what a worker did. It was a package. Later, over the next 100 years, if a person through education or training had the "qualifications" for the "job" or "package," then that person stood a good chance of "getting the job."

Work is a very different reality. Work is an expression of who we are. Work expresses personhood. If we believe there is "no work left out there," then we are in a terrible situation because we are, in effect, saying that we are beginning to die in a very real way. The Middle Ages theologian and founder of the Dominican Order, Thomas Aquinas, said, "To live well is to work well, or display a good activity."8

In society today, there is enough work for everyone -- as there always has been. There may not be enough jobs, but that's a very limited way of seeing what needs to be in our world today. That kind of thinking is not vision, it's myopia. Vision is seeing abundance all around us and offering our talents to bring that abundance to fruition. If nothing else - - as indicated by my references to emotional intelligence -- we can "grow ourselves up" emotionally and spiritually. The noted late economist, E.F. Schumacher, writes:

Everywhere people ask: "What can I actually do?" The answer is as simple as it is disconcerting: We can, each of us, work to put our own inner house in order. The guidance we need for this work cannot be found in science or technology, the value of which utterly depends on the ends they serve; but it can still be found in the traditional wisdom of [humankind]."9We define ourselves in the final analysis by the answer we give to the reality of death. No one on his or her deathbed ever said they wished they could have spent more time in the office. The reality of death and dying can only be answered through a process of valuing. It's a Pillar VII existential exercise, if you will. Again, the measurement of our worth is in how we became that which we loved. It is no different organizationally. The famed Mayo clinic demonstrates that every day with its genuine approach to medical care.10 Hospitals across Canada were in an uproar because nurses were feeling not valued.11 When there is emphasis on systems over service, investor frustration escalates.12 Bruce Bodaken, president and chief operating officer of insurer Blue Shield of California, rightly says in renforcing Pillar VII, Valuing: "I believe that you get greater effectiveness in your work when you tie people's personal mission with the corporate mission."13

For a summary of The 7 Pillars, go to Harcourt Brace & Company Canada's Website: or call 1-800 387-7278.

The 7 Pillars of Visionary Leadership: Introduction

PILLAR I: Visioning

PILLAR II: Mapping

PILLAR III: Journeying

PILLAR IV: Learning

PILLAR V: Mentoring

PILLAR VI: Leading


Other articles by Michael Rock:

The 90% Factor: EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and the New Workplace
The Right Stuff (Part 1 of 5)
Take Charge -- of Yourself! (Part 2 of 5)
I Count -- I Count You! (Part 3 of 5)
Stress EQ and Unstress You! (Part 4 of 5)
It's All in How You See It! (Part 5 of 5)



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