31 Days to Becoming a Better Leader


Day #4: Guiding Principles

It’s important to define our core values as we begin to plan for our future and the future of the enterprise we lead, however these values are static. They might be single words or short phrases that are open to interpretation in different ways by different people. For example: Integrity is one. It’s a word. What do we do with it now? How do we apply that word to decision making? Does the word mean different things to different people?

Therefore it’s important to define how we’re going to utilize our core values. We put those values into statements of application, in other words how will we apply the value of integrity. One example is we treat all people with integrity. Another example would be all decisions are based on the integrity of our core values and the integrity of our organization.

Penn Mutual’s guiding principles: Penn Mutual is committed to maintaining a culture which produces a legacy based on respect, trust, and doing the right thing.

Penn Mutual’s guiding principleslead with “Acting With Integrity, we have the conscious intention to do the right thing.” They stated, “each of us has personal responsibility to conduct our business honestly, ethically and with respect.”

The full guiding principles are outlined below:

Acting With Integrity
We have the conscious intention to do the right thing.

Respecting One Another
We see each other’s distinctiveness as a valued asset.

Focusing on Relationships
We foster meaningful connections with others.

Sustaining Our Legacy
We are trusted guardians for what we promise.

A Shared Sense of Belonging
We evoke our place as part of a larger world that we influence and that influences us.

It is no coincidence that doing the right thing is at the core of Penn Mutual’s culture, the cornerstone on which they conduct each of their interactions.

In my work of Orchestrating Success in my coaching work for business or nonprofit leaders, I use these three fundamental principles for coaching:

My Guiding Principles as Leadership Coach

  • Coaching is 90% listening
  • Coaching is responding with thoughtful questions
  • Communication is based on relationship and not merely on information, so I’m always working on relationship.

I have other personal and organizational guiding principles as well. It’s important that each person representing the organization is in alignment with values and principles. We all represent the brand identity.

Guiding Principles are the core of a high functioning culture. Without them leaders are setting up unnecessary conflict.

Next Day #5: Being clear on what we do and how we do it: Organizational Vision and Mission Statements.


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