Effective Leadership Starts with Defined Values and Beliefs

Do your values and beliefs have a place at work? If you’re a leader, how do you bring what’s important to you to your company every day? Patricia Asp, Senior Consultant and Executive Coach and 4word Board Member, shares how defined values and beliefs can spell success for any company.

What got you interested in helping companies and organizations to define their values and beliefs?

I was blessed to work at a company for 25 years where our objectives were, “To honor God in all we do, to help people develop, to pursue excellence, and to grow profitably.” At the time, having God in the objectives of a publicly-traded Fortune 500 company was unusual. To give context, we were voted the most respected company in the world by Financial Times while I was there. If you went to their website today, you would not see that first objective.  

It became evident to me, after leading the implementation of Six Sigma company-wide, that if values and beliefs were not translated into behaviors and then hardwired into the business processes of the organizations, they had a high probability of NOT being sustained. When we answer the question, “What behaviors do you expect to see evidence of when the values and beliefs are being practiced at work and lived?,” the values are inclusionary and unite all people based on behaviors that are aligned with the 

If you’re a Christian and a leader in your workplace, does that put you at a disadvantage?

Not at all, if you are an effective leader getting results. Being a Christian cannot be an excuse for inaction, favoritism, or not achieving goals and results.  

As a Christian leader, I start with the basic belief that all people are created in the image and likeness of God, have inherent worth, and are to be treated with dignity and respect. We may be big of heart but that does not mean we are small of mind or slow of hand/decisiveness.

What are the biggest hurdles leaders face at work? 

Setting aside the obvious need to achieve goals and results and the difficulty that may be encountered doing that, hurdle that comes to mind is building relationships with integrity.  Relationships that are built on mutual respect and authenticity demonstrate character of all parties. This type of relationship withstands the ups and downs of business and can be a rarity.  But when you have them, it is a gift that needs to be greatly valued.

How can leaders in the workplace, especially women, cultivate self-confidence and not sacrifice their beliefs?

For me, the building of confidence started many years before I entered the workforce and emphasizes the roles that parents, teachers, coaches, and 4H leaders make with young people.  As we enter the workforce, it is important to invite feedback from people that work for and with you, that you work for, and from your customers and clients.  

Our values and beliefs play out in the workplace in how we behave and how others behave when they are with us. Clearly defined behavior expectations help guide us and those that are with us.

For anyone looking to lead themselves well, what are three essentials tips or tricks you would share with them? 

  1. Know yourself.  Know your strengths, what you excel at, and also what strengths you don’t possessKnow what matters most to you and the framework of your decision-making relating to your beliefs and values.
  2. Have someone that cares deeply for you as a coach that will tell you what you NEED to hear, not just what you WANT to hear. For me, that’s my husband Glen. He was and remains my closest and best coach. And after 45 years of marriage, believe it or not, he’s still my best coach.
  3. Have a mentor and a sponsor. I have been blessed with wonderful mentors and sponsors. They had:
    • very high standards, 
    • expected the very best from me, 
    • stretched and built my belief in myself, 
    • and most of all prayed for me.

Patricia Asp is a senior Transformation and Operating executive with over 25 years of diverse business experience in Fortune 500 and small privately held companies in the service, education, healthcare and photography industries. Her specialties include business turnarounds, strategic planning, culture and values sustainability, and multiple location/distributed organizational models with emphasis on performance and process improvement. Throughout her career she has held operations, sales, activations, finance, human resources, and business transformation positions, including CEO, COO and President of companies. Each role required significant strategic redirection and performance improvement.

Some selective career achievements include:

Patricia currently serves as a Senior Consultant and Executive Coach for personal and business performance development in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. She resides in Tennessee with her husband Glen.