The AG Way: 11 Transformation Principles

August 8th, 2014

We’re excited to share with you “T11,” our 11 principles of transformation, which is essentially the Awaken Group way. As we approach our 5th anniversary this year as a company, T11 is our way of cementing and articulating our shared values and beliefs. Simply put, this is how we choose to work and how we approach our work with others (e.g., clients, partners, affiliates).

If you have been following us on social media recently, you may have noticed our recent posts with our clients and friends holding a statement (a T11 principle). Here are our 11 principles:

1. Be positively surprising.
2. We are not perfect, but are constantly perfecting.
3. Start and end with a heart of gratitude and respect.
4. Having impact is both a science and art–a masterpiece takes time.
5. ME < YOU < WE. Less ME, more YOU, lots of WE.
6. We design for beauty — inside and out.
7. Transformation starts with you–lead yourself first before leading others.
8. Always do what needs to be done, whether seen or not.
9. We strive to be the world’s expert on what it means to be “human.”
10. People always come first. Always.
11. Both/and solutions are much better than either/or.

These shared principles set the standard for evaluating practices and conduct, and establishing behavior norms and values that guide our actions—while celebrating everyone’s individuality.

There is also a reason why we have 11 principles instead of 10. The first number ’1′ represents alignment on the inside of how we align to our core vision and values. The second ’1′ is focused on who we choose to be in the world—it’s what’s on the outside. At Awaken Group, we constantly strive for transformation, inside out, so we intentionally narrowed it down to these 11 principles.

The “AG Way” is more than a nice set of words or principles. We want to make this real. Please join us on our journey of making it real by living out the “AG Way” every single day.

Stop Telling, Start Asking

July 7th, 2014

So-Young Kang: Stop Telling, Start Asking from Awaken Group

By: So-Young Kang, Catalyst & CEO, Awaken Group
(from the June 2014 newsletter)

Leaders often feel that their role is to give directions and ‘tell’ people what they need to do. I have coached a number of CEO’s who would role play conversations with me where they essentially are telling their subordinate what their expectations are, where they Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 10.24.30 PMhave fallen short or explaining why this is important. While there is value in setting expectations and sharing your perspectives and views, there is a time for ‘telling’ and a time for ‘asking.

Here are some indications that you may want to try a different technique. You feel you have explained yourself for the nth time. You don’t seem to be getting through. The behaviour continues. You are both frustrated.

asking questions When you are in this situation, you may want to try the power of asking questions. But before you ask the questions, your mindset and beliefs on how you approach the situation are most critical. Here are some ways to get yourself into a mindset that will foster communication.

  • Start from a place of curiosity to understand why the miscommunication could be taking place. Where is he/she coming from? What assumptions is the other person making? It may seem obvious to you, but why isn’t it obvious to the other person?
  • Assume the best in the other person. If the person was an idiot, then you would likely not have hired the person. So if you assume that the person wants to do a good job and agree with my belief that people don’t wake up in the morning wanting to do a bad job, then be open to understanding where the person is coming from.

This thinking is consistent with principles of appreciative inquiry which believes that if you focus on the positive intentions and motivations, you are more likely to produce positive outcomes. This can include better business outcomes, stronger relationships, more effective communications and more creative solutions.

Perspectives-GlassesHere are some questions to help you have more powerful 2-way communications:

  • Here are some things I observed. Can you help me understand where you were coming from?
  • When we last spoke, I walked away with this understanding.What was your understanding? How did you interpret what was most important?
  • What is important to you in this context? How can we align our interests towards a successful outcome?

There are many more powerful questions we can use. Please share your powerful questions with the broader community.





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