Novinium News, August 2017: “The Kindness Affirmation”
The Kindness Affirmation
Glen Bertini, CEO, Novinium
These pages have focused on safety. Over the last 19 months (January 2016 to today), there have been ten Novinium News editions where the primary focus is safety related. This is as it should be. Safety is the first clause of our three-part affirmation of “Be safe; be kind, be masterful.” It’s first for a reason. It’s first because it’s our most important aspiration. There is much remaining to be accomplished.
The second most frequent topic is mastery. We focused on mastery six times. Mastery is important; it’s our third most important guiding affirmation. We provide masterful reliability to our customers. We could not exist unless we provided masterful craftsmanship and masterful technology. But mastery is not our second most important affirmation – it’s our third. I am a little embarrassed to belatedly recognize that these pages have not addressed kindness, our second most important affirmation. This month I make my first installment to reverse this oversight.
Each of us knows our birthday. I was born about noon on May 11, 1958. Do you remember the other most important day of your life as suggested by Twain? I remember mine. For me it was Saturday March 11, 2001. First, let me acknowledge I am a bit of a late bloomer. I’ll do the math for you. I was 43. I had an executive coach and he gave me weekend homework. My 15 month-old first-born son was taking a mid- afternoon nap and I sat down without knowing that my life was about to change. My homework was to write my personal mission statement. There were a variety of tools to help me in that endeavor, but I remember the one exercise that crystalized my mission. I wrote the eulogy I wished that my infant son would deliver at my funeral. It’s a profound perspective. I highly recommend the exercise for every human being.
You can read my mission statement below:
Glen Bertini’s Personal Mission Statement
Truth and knowledge are the foundation of my soul. I must advance both at every opportunity and never compromise either.
My wife, my boys, my family, my friends, my coworkers, and other humans will be treated by me in a nurturing, unconditional manner to advance their self-respect, self-reliance and self-worth.
Excellence will be pursued relentlessly, never resting on laurels, always seeking to improve that which I deliver to others: love, friendship and the products of my labors.
It has not changed since 2001, except that I added my second son, Dante, to my family roster in February 2002. The word “kindness” appears nowhere in my mission statement, but the second stanza is the essence of kindness. This mission, with kindness at its core, is why I was born. I occasionally veer off-mission. I am fortunate that the people around me show their own kindnesses by overlooking my occasional errors.
It should be no surprise to the readers of these pages that my personal mission bleeds into the Novinium affirmations. After making sure that each of us is safe I believe that being kind to each other is a key to our collective success.
Supervisors have a special obligation to nurture those they supervise. It’s not okay to be less than kind to anyone and it’s especially bad to be disrespectful in a group setting. We should not be required to forgive behavior regularly that is not kind. On the other hand, who amongst us has not said or done something they regret? Forgiveness itself is an act of kindness.
Chain of Responsibility
We don’t have a chain of command at Novinium. Such a notion runs counter to our kindness affirmation. We do have a chain of responsibility. Each Novinium employee should seek first to work within the chain of responsibility to address unkindliness. We do not require infinite patience and unlimited forgiveness.
The chain of responsibility does not shackle your ability to call attention to unkindliness. Unkind supervisors should not be supervisors. Unkind employees are encouraged to seek employment elsewhere.
Where everyone is kind, the workplace is fun and rewarding. Make the kindness affirmation.