What are non-negotiables ("NN's")? When my daughters were growing up, I talked a lot about this topic. They knew from an early age that I would be asking them if they have determined any non-negotiables for themselves. I used to tell them that the beauty of this exercise is that it takes all the pressure off you once you have determined what is, or what is not, non-negotiable in your life. These are constants, we don't dabble in or waver or move them in and out of our lives. Once you have decided, you never need to make this decision again ~ wall-la! Life is full of decisions to make and it can be exhausting trying to determine "yes or no, should I or shouldn't I, will I or won't I, are they or aren't they..."
As our lives have gotten busier, and the amount of priorities and distractions have increased, it is important we set some ground rules that we will not violate. The reason that I like this so much is that these rules take whatever is lurking in my mind as a decision to make and puts it in the "DONE" column. The decision is made! I know what I will or will not do, or what I will or will not accept from others.
One of the reasons that I picked this topic to write on today is that I really feel businesses should drive a deeper focus on non-negotiables regarding the service they provide. Establishing a set of non-negotiables can be a powerful and helpful tool at maintaining balance and achieving greater success in your business. Just as companies have mission, vision, and value statements, non-negotiables should be apart of these as well. But, more importantly, this only works if everyone in the organization is a true believer in the process. As an example, if one of your NN's is to answer a call coming into the business in 3 rings, then everyone that has access to answer the phone needs to believe there is not a decision to make when the phone rings...it will be answered in 3 rings or less. How do your NN's align with your values and your goals?
David K. Williams, founder and chairman of DKW Ventures, wrote a book called, The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning: Tying Soft Traits to Hard Results, that helps spot employees' true character traits for creating a winning culture. As many organizations realize, the foundation of a company is not always the product being sold, but the people in it and the core principles operating it, that make it successful. Williams decided to take the time to put a name and a voice to these principles that helped make his company successful. Here are his 7 non-negotiables that comprise the defining principles that attributed to his and his companies success:
- Respect. Seek to understand others before you seek to be understood.
- Belief. If you believe in yourself, you can fail up and overcome anything.
- Trust. Trust is the foundation of healthy relationships and it must be earned.
- Loyalty. Promises must be more than words, even if they require sacrifice.
- Commitment. Hold nothing back and work like this is your last job.
- Courage. Never back down from a challenge; discover the strength to soar.
- Gratitude. Seek opportunities to express kindness in word and deed.
I love his 7 NN's. Very inspiring. I feel this is a great exercise for any company. We often verbally speak these words, but do we put them in the category of a non-negotiable within ourselves or our company? NN's should be customized to you personally and the same goes with your business list. I hope this inspires you to consider where you stand in regards to your hard-fast rules and values!