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Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #100: Values that Drive a Diverse and Inclusive Culture

August 20, 2020
Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #100: Values that Drive a Diverse and Inclusive Culture

As we teach in The 5 Levels of Leadership, your values drive your behavior. And, since people are watching you all the time as they decide whether to allow you to influence them, your values become very important in your ability to lead. Today we want to look at how your values determine your approach when it comes to having a diverse and inclusive culture.

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Read the Transcript:

Perry Holley: Welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a John Maxwell Facilitator and Coach.

Chris Goede: And I’m Chris Goede, Vice President of the John Maxwell Company. Thank you for joining. Hey, just as a quick reminder, we have a learning guide if you want to download, follow along on the notes for this podcast, please visit, and you can also leave us a note, a comment, a question, whatever you’d like to do there, maybe it’s even bring a 5 Levels virtual training to your organization, please feel free to leave that information there and we’ll get back with you. Well, today’s topic as we kind of continue this series, and I’m going to encourage you, we’re doing a four-part, kind of, series this month, and if you want to go back and listen to the first two, if you haven’t heard them, you need to do that. But today’s topic is called “Values That Drive a Diverse and Inclusive Culture”, and we talk a lot about The 5 Levels of Leadership and that values drive your behavior, and you need to understand that not only about you, but also about your team, and that people are watching you all the time. Me and Perry say that all the time, people are watching you, when?

Perry: All the time.

Chris: All the time. Right? And so, they decide whether or not they’re going to allow you to influence them, because your values come out, and that will be very important with your ability to lead them. So, we have, as I mentioned, we’ve been talking about this topic, and today we’re going to talk just from a behavioral standpoint, and we want to look over kind of the values that determine your approach when it comes to having a diverse and inclusive culture.

Perry: It all comes from you, comes from the top, you set that tone for your culture, and you’re right, people are watching you all the time. The question I usually follow that up with is, what are they watching for? And generally, get deer in the headlight kind of a look from people when they think about that. But it comes down to basically your behaviors, your actions, your reactions, how you lead yourself, among many other things. But these are driven by your values. And so, I thought we’d do a little exercise here where we look at some of the specific values that we talk about in leadership and share how those show up in the 5 Levels. You game for that?

Chris: Oh, man, I love it! You know, the values part of our 5 Levels, kind of, guardrail curriculum model is really kind of the foundation. So, absolutely! So, the first value for our stack of Value Cards is diversity.

Perry: That’s a value!

Chris: That’s a value, it is absolutely a value there which really, we kind of defined as respecting a variety of cultures and lifestyles. And so, what this looks like is that, you know, your beliefs, you respect other cultures and lifestyles, and you take an interest in learning about them. When you have the value of diversity, that is what this is going to look like, and you become kind of aware of cultural differences, how it affects the behaviors and you strive to be curious, you strive to learn more about that. And so, let’s talk about this value and then how it shows up in The 5 Levels of Leadership.

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Perry: Yeah, how does diversity show up—well, let’s talk about level 1, and by the way, jump in if you—I’m going to go through all four levels there and you can jump in if you want. But Level 1 we call Position: People followed because they have to; you have the title. Diversity shows up as really appreciation of others means that you probably won’t misuse your authority. You won’t use that title against someone. At Level 2, Permission Level which says: People follow you now because they want to. The diversity value shows up that you desire to learn about others, and it will make it easier to connect. Level 2 is about connecting with people and if you have that diversity value, you’re probably going to connect easier. Level 3: Productions – People follow you because what you’ve done for the organization. You know, producing results becomes easier, I think because people will respond well to a leader who appreciates individual differences, which is what diversity is all about. And then finally, at Level 4: People Development – People follow you because of what you’re doing for them personally. Diversity shows up because you appreciate those differences, you’re probably going to naturally want to develop leadership and the people on your team.

Chris: Yeah, let me jump in right here and interrupt you, because what I love about what we’re doing is we’re showing and walking through the power of this model of influence, and how everything flows to it. Whether it’s your organizational values, competency model, whatever it might be, you can have a common language, you can have guardrails at every one of these levels of what it looks like, then to go and apply it. It’s not a philosophical model. And so, I love that we’re kind of going through this and showing that power of this model.

Perry: Yeah, I think for a lot of leaders, if you were sitting there thinking, “Well, I think I need to have a more diverse and inclusive environment, a culture, how would that, if I buy into The 5 Levels, what does it look like in each of these levels?” Another value from our value deck that would really drive a diverse and inclusive culture is fairness, which reads that treating people and being treated fairly, how does that show up in The 5 Levels?

Chris: Well, you know, this coming from a youth sports coach, let’s just start by saying life’s not fair. Not everybody gets a trophy, right? We’re not doing the participation trophies. But yeah, listen, even though life is not fair, and it’s not, right? And the reason I say that, and I kind of giggle about it, but it’s real because when we get into real life, it is not fair. But I don’t ever want either my children, other children that have a coach or even you that’s listening, don’t ever use that as an excuse to treat others unfairly. There’s a big difference there, right? And so, we want to thrive, you know, to have openness, honesty, transparency, we want to believe in others on the team. Make sure that you’re extremely approachable. But here’s what this looks like going back to this model, and I love that we’re doing this. Here’s what this looks like at Level 1, the Position Influence, you may underutilize your authority to make decisions by including others, right? At times, you have the ability to do that. Level 2, the Permission Level, we wrote down here, your trustworthiness makes you approachable, and it makes it easier to connect with people. And that’s the key to be able to connect. Level 3, the Production Level, you will be productive, but overemphasizing fairness might slow things down a little bit, not everyone will produce at the same level, and so, you need to understand that as a leader. And then finally here at Level 4, and I’ll kind of throw it back if you have any comments, Perry, but at Level 4, People Development, you really need to focus on those with potential, right? Fairness does not mean that everyone is developed the same way. We want you to add value to everyone on your team, but not everyone may be developed on your team.Perry: That’s what really jumped out at me here is—the way you started this, life’s not fair. I want to treat people fairly, but at these higher levels of influence, Levels 3 and 4 is where you’re really going to notice that when we’re doing that crucial conversation, that straight talk, that accountability, that setting expectations, all those things that drive great production for a leader, you’re going to want to treat people fairly, but not everybody’s going to get the same treatment. So, that really is where it starts to show up for me.

Chris: Well, another value that we just kind of pulled out of The 5 Levels deck of cards that we use to have these conversations is that we really believe can help drive diverse and inclusive cultures is teamwork. And so, talk to us a little bit about how this shows up in The 5 Levels.

Perry: When you value teamwork, you really are valuing when you’re saying, “I value cooperation and collaboration.” You value everyone working together toward a common goal. So, the definition of teamwork. You will more than likely value unique talents of people on the team and really bring that unique talent to the table. A diverse set of people with diverse points of view make for better decisions I found, so it’s really leveraging that diverse and inclusive culture to grow the business and grow people. So, we’re going to show up in The 5 Levels, Level 1, you won’t lean on your authority as much because you respect the team, you don’t have to be, “I don’t have to be the boss we’re a team together.” You’re still the boss. Level 2, Permission, at Level 2 we want to connect, you’ll probably connect more easily because you prefer, we over me. You’re always bringing people to the conversation, I love that. Production, Level 3 you leveraging your level of productivity across the team is a strong capability here because that’s really what Level 3 is about, but I think you’d really need to be careful because thinking that you need team consensus, we have a team, you know, we have consensus on every decision that can really slow momentum. So, while I want to embrace the team and teamwork, Level 3, producing results, need to be careful there. And then Level 4, when you’re developing other leaders, you will naturally develop others as you cooperate and collaborate that just becomes a natural part of Level 4.

Chris: One of the word pictures that, kind of, comes to mind as we talk about, kind of, diversity and inclusion is value of teamwork. For me, just growing up playing football, coaching football, for me, it’s really the huddle, and I think if you can look at your sphere of influence, your team as a huddle, and the need that everybody in that huddle needs to play, if I can say that twice like that, the role they need to play, the skills that they bring to—the thought that they bring to that team, to that huddle, all of that is so important. And so, I absolutely love the mindset of teamwork. So, as we begin to wrap up, let’s get one more value. And let’s talk about this, and one of the other ones we have in this stack is courage. And when it comes to building this type of culture that we’re talking about, I feel that courage to embrace what’s different, courage to be open to maybe tough conversations, and to embrace the differences that other people have on their values is so important.

Perry: I do too. It’s really been true for me is, especially in these times in the United States, what we’re going through is just the courage to be self-aware, to call yourself on stuff. Be aware of who you really are. Courage to receive new ideas from people that aren’t like me that think differently from me, to be open to do that. Courage to see difference and welcome differences and other people has really been big for me. But we’re generally more comfortable with things like us. So, this courage required to step outside of my lens of how I see things, out of my comfort zone, and just be honest, where I am in the journey and have the courage to change and include others. I think it’s a big call if you want to have this type of culture in your organization.

Chris: Well, as we close, you know, one when driving for this diverse and inclusive culture that we’ve been talking about today, two thoughts came to mind, obviously, as leaders we want to make sure that our team members engagement is at the highest level that we can possibly get it at. And I think leading effectively is impossible without employee engagement, and it goes back to a statement that we talk about because we talked a lot about three buckets, right? How individuals are wired, their learned behaviors, and what they value and as a leader, you need to understand that, accept it, learn about it, because here’s the key, we need to lead people the way they need to be led, not the way you want to be led.

Perry: Right, very good. Great way to end that, Chris. Thank you! And as a reminder, if you’d like to learn more about these 5 Levels, or maybe even bring a workshop to your location, you can find that at You can also leave a question or a comment for us there, we always enjoy hearing from you! We’re grateful that you would join us on this journey. That’s all today from The John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast.

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