Monthly Archives: August 2012

Communicating Your Core Values in Working Relationships

Understanding your personal values is key to making decisions about your future. Lately as I continue to participate in groups and collaborative projects I have begun to challenge myself to establish a set of core values that will guide me.

  • I value written communication. Although it is important to talk things through, if it cannot be articulated in writing I think the conversation needs to be revisited.
  • I value short pauses in communication. Overtime I have realized that I am not obligated to quickly retort all communications directed to me.
  • I value process. First and second drafts, step one and step two are important elements of my life.
  • I value collaborative consensus. Collaboration allows for diversity but the process of reaching consensus is important for sustainability.

The values that I have listed above are not the standard values for everyone in which I collaborate with. Discussing values is important when beginning to work with someone or a team.

Below are some suggestions for establishing a set of core values in your working relationships:

1- Agree that a set of core values needs to be discussed. So often we begin working relationships with people and do not start of on the right foot. If you wait until there is a conflict or a misunderstanding both parties become frustrated and struggle to find set commonalities that if already set in place, help extinguish the conflict.

2- Each party should list their values and its relevance to the upcoming project. You may have strong values about how to treat your parents or how to reprimand children, but if it is not relevant to the project do not list those values. This exercise is not meant to challenge your collaborator(s) but instead to create common language and focus that will guide the project.

3- Determine how you will revisit the values during conflict. You have the tools in place now it is time for you to use them. When you find yourself in conflict during your collaboration both parties must agree to share and be open. Trust (in the form of creative thinking, open dialogue, and communication) will crumble quickly if the conflict is not addressed. Rely on your values- for example if I were in conflict during a working relationship and I took two or three days to answer an email, when I respond I would relate my break to one of our agreed upon core values. I can reply- “I do apologize that it has taken me a while to return your message. As you know, I value short pauses in communication and in this case I needed time to address…..”

What are some of your values? How and when do you communicate those values in your working relationships?

Below is an article and a clip featuring Steve Jobs as he discusses the importance of knowing your core values.


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How do you know what you NEED to know?


What is it that we really need to know?

Today I decided to read a book. I selected “Black Firsts: Groundbreaking Events in African American History” by Jessie Carney Smith.  I was excited as I began to review the facts, starting with the section of architecture, as the book is arranged in alphabetical order by professional categories. As I was reading, I was trying to determine how I can use these facts in my life or create activities in which my students can become familiar with the names and accomplishments of the African Americans named.

English: African American History

English: African American History (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then I began to doubt…”Why do I need to know this?” kept repeating in my head. I started feeling guilty and trying to keep reading but I continued to have questions, in particular, “what will I do with this information?” Although I hate to admit this is what was going through my head as I was reading about Black firsts, I think the revelation extended far beyond the topic of Black news; I was truly (and still are) trying to figure out how do I determine what I really need to know. Better yet, how do I decipher what news and information will one day be relevant in my life….

I think it is safe the assume that my upbringing has and will continue to guide what information and opportunities for information gathering I value. For example, as I seek entry into the business world, will business news always seem to have its proper place in my “spare” learning time……Will news of famous playwrights and poets be valid because I continue to teeter in the field of arts? How will I know that I need to know what I am exploring?

Is it a feeling that guides what we need to know? For example, how I felt while I was reading Black Firsts. If I begin to doubt or question, does that mean I should ignore the learning opportunity? I was a little sad that I felt some sort of doubt while reading Black Firsts….I wondered did I not find the information relevant because it was about Black people (i.e. I’m too old for the Know Your Heritage Bowl so when will this set of knowledge come out of my back pocket). I kept saying to myself, “it is good to know about the accomplishments of your ancestors.” That argument did not really work because although IT IS good to know, I already KNOW. I KNOW in my heart, I KNOW in my actions, I KNOW in my strength. I will NEVER doubt the achievement of my Black ancestors.

And so….I began to write this piece. Trying to figure out how we decide what we need to know. In school, it was clear-know what you need to know to pass the test. At work it can be clear- know what you need to know to not get fired. In every other aspect of life it is more difficult….you have to determine what you NEED (what words are calling you when your spirit needs to hear something new…..). I think I did want to read something that would inform me about Black people, Black struggle, Black excellence. But this was not the right choice.

I am now off to see what words/ information my soul needs at this time. I hope yours needed those above.


So, how do you know what you NEED to know?



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Nameless Victims

On August 1st I received this picture on my Facebook wall.

This sparked my interest in looking at a variety of headlines and news articles from the Chicago papers. I wanted to know if there was something in particular about this shooting that would lead to what was posted. Here is what I concluded:

Nameless victims in the headlines and news articles

Descriptive cases, shots, bullet holes, stab wounds and more

To tell the tale of victims

Victims often innocent but some more victims of karma than the actual crime

I searched the headlines for a name

But it was so hard to find

I wondered if he was mine

My neighbor, my classmate, my butcher, my heartache

But I would never know because I could not find his name

Yet the pain bled through the paper

Does not publishing his name make the streets safer?

Title after title, hour after hour, a new story emerged on a victim

A new crime

Same time

Places feet apart

The morgue can’t process the bodies quick enough

Stories not told in real time

Information dispensed like that of the U.S. post office,

b\But I need it more like Twitter

Show me the urgency of his life……go hither.

Please print his name and his story

Then print his fame and his glory

I want to know the blood line, show me who else is affected by this

Who was his barber, his mother, his cleaners, his brother

Let’s venn diagram the pain

Create scientific evidence that project our cities going insane

I’m sure there may be a reason for not leaking his name

But often the streets already know what you think they don’t

5400 block of whatever, whisper his name outside, snitches wont

No name, but yet a victim

Possibly a victim of personal decisions or others decisions made personal

Either way, no name in the paper

Just headlines and descriptive but concise tales of lost people with no name.


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