Thursday, 3 May 2012

Respect - what does it look like to you?

Yesterday I blogged about our relationship to time. As a result of tweeting about the blog I asked did someone being late show a lack of respect. It was a trick question really because as I explained in the blog - those with a preference for In-Time won't believe so and those with Thru-time preferences will.

And they're both right - from their worldview anyway. I suggest it's up to both parties to understand the other's worldview. Those In-time should understand that their colleagues with Thru-time preferences may judge their behaviour to be disrespectful and understand the repercussions if someone holds that belief about them. Those Thru-time should understand that those In-Time would believe that their undivided attention in meetings is more respectful.

Which had me thinking about our values - of which respect might be one.

Our values are what inspires and motivates our daily actions. They're what determine what we will do and what we won't do. They also determine what we do and don't admire in others and therefore how we judge them - and ourselves for that matter.

Even at it's simplest level what values are in our top five can and will lead to disputes between individuals about what to do and what doing it means. As another blog in Supply Management suggested when I chunked our values into Achievement, Affiliation & Power. Someone valuing Achievement and Success may very well want to manage a project differently than someone valuing Affiliation.

Every action is motivated by a need to achieve a value - yes even actions that a majority of us would deem to be unacceptable. Which brings me to the added complexity that our values are nominalisations and we each have our own definitions for what achieving them means.

If I take respect for a moment then it might mean any, or none, of the following to someone:
  • Being on time for meetings
  • Giving our undivided attention in meetings
  • Listening to what others are saying
  • Acknowledging you have heard what others have said 
  • Saying thank you
  • Doing what you say you're going to do (see blog on being faithless and therefore trustworthy)
  • Being honest
  • Doing what they want you to do
  • Respect for yourself
  • Respect for others
  • Respect for the planet
  • Fairness (which I'd suggest is in fact another value)
The key is understanding that your definition of respect is just that - yours and that others are likely to have a different understanding of what respect is or may not even value respect as highly as you.

Alison Smith
Helping Procurement understand their and their stakeholders' values.   

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