Competence is one of the keys to career and life success that I discuss in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success; Your Success GPS; and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success. If you want to succeed you need to develop four basic, but important competencies: 1) creating positive personal impact; 2) becoming a consistently high performer; 3) dynamic communication skills; and 4) becoming interpersonally competent.
Relationship building is an important key to interpersonal competence. Relationships are all about WE, not me. Recently, I had an opportunity to contribute a few chapters to a book called 42 Rules for Creating WE. This book was a joint effort of my colleagues at the Creating WE Institute.
Here is a quick look at one of the rules I contributed:
Act in a Manner That Honors Yourself and You Associates
This rule was originally entitled “Never do anything to embarrass yourself or your associates.” Nancy Ring, a colleague in the Creating WE Institute pointed out that as it was originally stated, this rule was negative; it told you what not to do. Nancy suggested that I change it to a positive statement that tells you what you should do to be a responsible member of an organization or community.
Nancy is right. It’s much better to provide others with positive, affirmative actions they can use as guides for action than with negative actions to avoid. Thanks to Nancy for this bonus advice.
WE-centric thinking holds that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves. This being the case, your actions reflect not only on you personally, they are a reflection of the various groups with which you are associated. When I was in junior high school I was caught shoplifting an item that cost less than a dollar from a local discount store. I did it on a dare. My parents were very upset with me. They raised me not to lie, cheat and steal. This little shoplifting escapade dishonored our family. It didn’t matter that it was on a childhood dare or that “everyone else was doing it.” What mattered was that my actions had implications that went beyond me and reflected negatively on my family.
This is the essence of this rule. You represent all of the groups with whom you are associated. You represent your family, your school, your company and any number of groups with which you are affiliated. Your behavior, positive and negative, reflects on these groups and their members as much as it does you. Act honorably, and people will associate honor with the groups with which you are associated. Act dishonorably and people will form negative opinions of these groups.
I felt honored when I was asked to contribute a few rules to 42 Rules for Creating WE. As a member of the Creating WE Institute, I know that my writing reflects on all of my co-authors in this book as well as every member of the institute. I feel a little extra responsibility to do the best job I can because of my responsibility to represent my friends and colleagues well. I want them to be proud of this book and those of us who contributed to it.
Sometimes things work out the other way. Several years ago the city of New York honored a group of policemen and firemen for acts of valor. After the ceremony, a few policeman and fireman over indulged a bit. What began as good natured bantering and taunting between New York’s Finest (the police) and New York’s Bravest (the firefighters) turned into a fist fight in front of a restaurant and bar that bordered one of the city’s more popular parks. The incident was widely reported in the local papers and TV newscasts. Even though less than 20 cops and firemen were involved, none of whom were the honorees, both the Police Department and Fire Department suffered a big black eye. This negative public perception lingered until the bravery members of both departments displayed on 9/11.
If you want to behave in a WE-centric manner, you need to accept the fact that your actions are a reflection on you and all of the people and organizations with which you are associated. Act in a manner that will reflect well on you and the others in your life.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are competent in four main areas: 1) creating positive personal impact; 2) consistently high performance; 3) dynamic communication; and 4) interpersonal competence. Relationship building is an important key to interpersonal competence. If you want to become interpersonally competent, you need to build strong relationships with the important people in your life. Creating a sense of WE is a great way to build strong relationships. One way to create a sense of WE is to act in a manner that reflects well on you and the people with whom you associate. When you do this, others will want to work with you because they can be sure that your actions will reflect well on them.
That’s my take on how your actions are a reflection of the people with whom you associate and the organizations to which you belong. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts on this subject with us. As always, thanks for reading.
PS – If you liked this rule, you’ll really like the entire book. My colleagues and I are trying to make 42 Rules for Creating WE a best seller. We are asking for your help to do so. Please log on to Amazon.com on Thursday September 17 and buy a copy.