FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Durelle Price | 7 Habits of Successful Families
How does trust in an organization, a company, or a school go awry? While there are many reasons, frequently it is the unintended result of unsuccessfully managing an unforeseen crisis. In such a situation, the unknown looms like a virus descending on an innocent village infecting all in its path and whispering in a sinister voice, “Change is coming.” The thought of change can begat fear, and fear often begets distrust. Whether the change is associated with an economic downturn, a stringent, government mandate, or a change in leadership, the resulting symptoms of distrust can debilitate and stifle progress in any organization.
Some seek remedies in the usual places; however the wise will go back to school to find a cure. Not just any school, but a Leader in Me elementary school. Leader in Me schools employ The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People® and promote internalization of the timeless leadership principles upon which the habits are based. As a result, teachers, parents, and students working together develop and sustain an environment wherein trust is implicit and mastery of 21st century skills enabled. Herein lies a powerful prescription for struggling organizations, companies, or educational institutions plagued by distrust.
Sean Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Happy Kids® suggests a visual of a serum and a syringe to understand the strategy of the initiative. The serum represents the principles and the composite of leadership behaviors, and the syringe is the system through which to introduce and administer the solution. When brought together in The Leader in Me school, distrust is healed by the speed of leadership.
Iconic educator, Dr. Stephen R. Covey, believed with all his heart, “Leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” The Leader in Me is an innovative, schoolwide initiative based on this philosophy. Driven from the bottom-up and focused on the organization’s biggest asset—the children—this model encourages a paradigm-shift that promotes a culture of personal and student empowerment naturally unleashing each child’s full potential.
Such schools developing a leadership culture and achieving extraordinary results are evaluated and may be awarded FranklinCovey Leader in Me Lighthouse status. Recently as part of a Lighthouse School Review Team, I visited Stone Oak Elementary, a Leader in Me school in San Antonio, Texas. We were greeted by smiles and eager, out-stretched hands. Not the hands of administrators, but those of student greeters aged 6 through 10. After a firm handshake and an uninhibited introduction that speaks of self-confidence, the students led our group on a schoolwide tour. Along the way, we passed other students holding signs directing parents to a 7 Habits overview workshop. Peeking through the workshop door, I saw about twenty parents and grandparents engaged in a fun, group activity. Apparently to accommodate busy schedules, similar workshops are available on evenings and weekends.
As the tour continued, the student tour guides took turns highlighting school- and grade-level goals posted in the halls and pointed out accompanying scoreboards designed to measure progress. When asked about the use of scoreboards, without hesitation one of the student guides explained, “When you have a goal, or an end in mind, you know where you’re going.” Scoreboards help us know where we are today, so we know what needs to be done tomorrow.” Another student chimed in, “Posting our goals and scoreboards helps us synergize and support each other.” Such transparency, abundance, and collaboration does indeed sponsor trust and promote progress.
While I was marveling at the student’s comprehension of leadership and business tools, one of the student guides shouted a greeting to his approaching father. The proud student turned to me and said, “My dad’s a Watch DOG,” which stands for Dad’s of Great Students. This national initiative engages men, inspires children, reduces bullying and enhances the educational environment. These “hallway heroes” foster a sense of safety, which everyone knows is a catalyst of trust.
One of the highlights of the tour was attending a student-led conference. Unlike the traditional teacher-led review of the child’s progress, two lovely young ladies—one in kindergarten and the other in fourth grade—shared their leadership notebooks with me in delightful detail. Each walked me through their goals and progress and shared victories including celebrations for reaching personal, class, and schoolwide goals. The enthusiasm for their educational experience was refreshing and contagious.
In retrospect, one could conclude the prescription for building or restoring trust in any organization, company, or school is clearly in emulating the practices of a Leader in Me school:
- Learn and practice The 7 Habits
- Internalize the effective, foundational principles of The 7 Habits
- Allow leaders to emerge based on strengths
- Identify and track goals
- Share your goals and account for your progress willingly
- Listen to your elders and those who have your best interest at heart
- Synergize not only in teams and interdepartmentally, but also with your stakeholders
- Celebrate personal, team, and organizational victories
You can learn more about the approximately 1200 Leader in Me schools around the world at leaderinme.org. Be a community leadership hero and sponsor a school. Arrange a visit at a Leader in Me school in your area today. What? There’s not one in your area? Then click here to find out what you can do to introduce The Leader in Me to your child’s school. Get started right now introducing your child to The 7 Habits of Happy Kids. Parents, check out the books, posters, and games available and begin to unleash your child’s potential!
February is Dating Violence Awareness Month.
According to a special report by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics females ages 16-24 experience intimate partner violence at a rate almost triple to any other age group or the national average. Parents, your daughters have a 1 in 3 chance of being victims of dating violence. While some teens are fretting over what to wear to prom, others are wondering what they can wear tomorrow to hide the bruises. Many are being “textually abused.” For some the wounds from the verbal abuse fester into an angry emotional abscess that prompts bad choices with often irreparable consequences. If this doesn’t seem serious enough for you to read on, conduct an internet search with the keywords, “killed by her boyfriend.” A recent search revealed not just a few links to news stories, but 25+ pages of links to heart-wrenching stories of families dealing with the loss of their loved ones to dating violence.
So, how do you know who to date? How do you avoid dangerous relationships? It’s often said that in business, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” When it comes to dating, give that old adage a new twist. Think “it’s what you know about who you know.” As you might have suspected, everything boils down to habits. What do you know about a person’s habits? Whether a potential business partner or a prospective life partner, you need to know as much as possible about who you know.
There are red flag habits and green flag habits to consider. Green flag habits are healthy behaviors that signal “Go—it’s safe to move forward with this relationship”. Red flag habits are unhealthy often dangerous behaviors that signal “STOP!—put the brakes on this relationship now.” Look for the red flag habit in this story about 17 year old Michelle found in Sean Covey’s book The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make.
Michelle…was zapped—love-struck by Justin, a hot, star athlete at their high school. Justin could be very sweet. He told her how beautiful she was and how much he loved her. Early in their relationship they went to a party and the guy at the front door told her she had pretty eyes. Before she could say thank you, Justin punched the guy flat to the floor. She had a terrible feeling in her stomach, but her friends all said, ‘Wow, you are so lucky. He loves you so much!’
As is common amongst teens, Justin’s violent red flag behavior was misinterpreted by Michelle’s friends and then justified by Michelle. However, her gut instinct that left the terrible feeling in her stomach was trying to help Michelle see the punch—an unreasonable response to a compliment—for what it was—a red flag habit—violence. Preceding the punch, Michelle viewed Justin’s absorption of all her free time as signs of love and commitment. She felt happy he wanted to spend so much time with her. She didn’t see it was another red flag habit that allowed him to gain control over her and distance her from her friends and family. As you read the continued excerpt below you’ll see the dire consequences Michelle experienced when denial kept her from recognizing the red flag habits.
A few years later they’d decided to get married. A week before the wedding, they had a minor disagreement. Suddenly, Justin dove across the room and grabbed Michelle by the throat. It was the longest 20 seconds Michelle had ever experienced. Just as quickly as it began, it ended. He dropped to his knees, threw his arms around her waist and pleaded with her to forgive him. As the tears streamed down his face, he blamed it on being nervous about the wedding and swore he’d never do anything like that again. Michelle didn’t know what to do. She’d been taught to forgive, right? She was humiliated and confused. She didn’t tell her sister. She sure didn’t tell her mother, and she didn’t even tell her best friend. She prayed it would never happen again. A week later they were married.
When red flag habits exist before the wedding, the behaviors often only increase and intensify in the marriage as is apparent in the continuation of the story.
Now she was trapped. Over the next several years, the physical and emotional abuse went from bad to worse before Michelle finally gathered the courage to leave Justin. He continued to stalk her for years.
Sadly, as the story confirms, even divorce often doesn’t put an end to violence. According to a study by Stark and Flitcraft (1988), 75 percent of violent incidents that lead to emergency room visits occur after separation. Another important fact is that relationship violence is not a gender-exclusive crime. Although statistics show the vast majority of reported abuse is perpetrated by males, many male victims fear the humiliation of reporting.
Michelle’s story is not unique but it is preventable. So what can a community leader, parent, teacher, concerned family member, or friend do to encourage better choices and drive more favorable consequences? Everyone benefits from supporting local violence prevention and intervention programs. Gather resources from those agencies such as the Power and Control Wheel displayed here. Parents of teens: give your kids copies of The 7 Habits for Teens and The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make (audio or books) and send an email to your local school board president containing the link for FranklinCovey youth workshops. If you are an elementary school teacher, introduce your peers and administrators to the FranklinCovey Leader in Me initiative that discourages bullying behaviors (often leading to dating violence) and encourages students as young as five years of age to become leaders in their own lives. Family members and can model green flag habits as well as sponsor and attend a 7 Habits Signature, 7 Habits Families workshop, or an 8 Habits of a Successful Marriage workshop at your business or in your neighborhood.
If you are a victim and feel trapped like Michelle in an abusive relationship. You have done nothing to deserve the abuse. There is a better life for you waiting on the other side. I know because Michelle’s real name is Durelle. Call the national dating violence hotline 800-799-SAFE for resources in your area. Get help and get out−Now!