What Grabs You?

by  Mike Henry  |  Leadership Development

A follower on Twitter recently asked me to clarify my bio. Since my bio says I’m interested in “applying Christian principles in business,” he wanted to know what biblical principles I applied in business. In effect, he was asking what I value. I couldn’t get it in 140 characters. In fact, I’m still working on it.

Can you articulate what’s important to you? What do you value? What do you appreciate?

In the Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, the authors state that “to stand up for your beliefs, you have to know what you stand for.” The things you stand for are your values. The more clear your values, the easier it will be for people to associate with you, or follow you.

Some values are close to you personally. I used to be in the transportation industry. Serving as the General Manager of a branch office of an over-the-road trucking company, I learned to appreciate truck drivers and what they had to endure to earn a living. Since they’re paid by the mile, any time they’re not moving, they’re not being paid. Therefore everything that happens costs them money. That includes traffic problems, weather problems, communication problems and a host of other issues. The very people who labor to provide the vast majority of goods we buy every day do a very hard job in a nation that doesn’t appreciate them. Much like teachers, it seems like those on whom we depend the most, we reward the least. As a result, I grew to appreciate and value people who commit their life to the success of a company. People who do a good job no matter what are important to me.  I like helping people who line their life up in support of a company. Some companies aren’t worth it. However, I value people who do a good job no matter what. I don’t know teachers as well as truck drivers, but I’m sure they are much the same. Professional over-the-road truck drivers are the backbone of our economy.

Later Kouzes and Pozner also state that you have to know what grabs you. In Holy Discontent, Bill Hybels called that your Popeye moment. You may be too young to remember Popeye. Popeye the sailor man, was a cartoon character with a bully for an acquaintance and a slender vixen for a girlfriend.  Eventually in every episode, Popeye would get to the point where he couldn’t take the abuse by Brutus the bully any longer.  He would exclaim, “That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more!” Then he would down a can of spinach and clean house. Hybels stated that leaders see something, realize they can’t stand it any more and they do something. For me, that’s making a positive difference. I can try to make a positive difference every day.  I don’t have to fix everyone, just me.  We all get tempted to be swept away by our own desires and greed. But I choose to resist the pull of selfishness (however poorly).  Back in the mid 1980’s I was a member of the Jaycees.  The last line of their creed reads: “Service to humanity is the best work of life.” We always said it with emphasis on the word “is.” I quoted Fred Smith Sr. the other day on Twitter. He said that service was the rent he paid for the space he took on this earth. And Zig Ziglar has a famous quote as well that states that you can have anything you want if you’re willing to help enough people get what they want. In the Bible, Jesus said if we give a child a cup of cold water in His name, we will be rewarded. Jesus values service to others so I choose to value service to others.

I value helping people improve their life through their job.

I’m sure I have other values and I will continue to work on defining and refining them.  Once you’ve defined your values and can articulate them, people that share the same values will draw near to you and possibly join your team. And, because you value the same things they do, you’ll support them, rather than directing or micro-managing them. Shared values become the glue of teams. Goals alone won’t do. Values keep the team together, focused and helping one another become better versions of themselves.

So, what grabs you?  What are your values? I really would like to know. Care to leave a comment and share them?


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About The Author

Articles By mike-henry
Chief Instigator (Founder) of Lead Change Group and VP of IT for a mid sized technology company. Passionate about character-based leadership and making a positive difference.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Erin Schreyer  |  22 Jun 2009  |  Reply

Beautifully written post, Mike!!! You are a rare breed, and I am happy to call you “friend.” I value the life and the gifts I’ve been given, and I feel a responsibility – like you – to give back. I believe in leading with values and strengths (which tend to be your gifts as well.) Again, similar to you, I value Leadership that is rooted in these principles. I think it has the ability to make great chnage occur….

Rebel Brown  |  22 Jun 2009  |  Reply

You are a blessing to all who read and share your words Mike! So many things grab me – opportunities to help others see past their limitations, to believe in themselves and their dreams and to create the life they deserve. The drive for integrity in all things, honor and dignity for all we touch, openness and candor in every interaction. Focusing on a solution vs how we got here. Simply smiling my way through life and knowing all is well – and all is within my power. Knowing that I alone decide, in this moment, whether I’m focused on the uplift or the downdraft…

Walt Hansmann  |  24 Jun 2009  |  Reply


Thank you for your words.

I believe in many things, first and foremost being treat others as you would wish to be treated … aka The Golden Rule.

I also spent many years in the Jaycees … 20, including 10 years on the USJCC National Headquarters staff.

The 35 words of the Jaycee Creed have guided my life since I was 19:

We Believe:

That faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life;

That the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations;

That economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise;

That government should be of laws rather than of men;

That earth’s great treasure lies in human personality;

And that service to humanity IS the best work of life.

Through these beliefs, my purpose found me … to be the best I can be, and to help others become better people. Simply put … to help others.

Along the way, I found that honesty, integrity, ethics, morals, and positive values are critical to my having a happy life.

I always expect the best from people, and am honestly disappointed when they show a side other than their best.

As a Boy Scout Leader, I have been able to meld the Scout Oath and Scout Law into my life:

Scout Oath (or Promise)

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

Like you, I have discovered other guiding principles, but these seem to say it as well as anything I have encountered.

In friendship,

Mike Henry  |  24 Jun 2009  |  Reply

@Erin – It is great to truly use our lives and the gifts we’ve been given to make a difference. We do have a lot in common regarding our passion for leadership. Thanks for the kind words and your friendship.

@Rebel – You’ve become a great friend very quickly. I appreciate you too and how you encourage me. It’s fun to know people who truly make a difference. We understand and resist the temptation to judge ourselves by our intentions, but only our actions count. Thanks.

@Walt – We do have a lot in common, except I can’t remain in any authority structure for as long as you. But I know good values when I see them. Let’s keep applying those principles and changing our world. Thanks for your friendship.

Thanks to each of y’all for the great comments. I appreciate you.


Terrence Seamon  |  28 Jun 2009  |  Reply

I’m glad I found you and your blog. As I mentioned in my email, I followed the breadcrumbs from the Employee Engagement network, to your blog, to LinkedIn.

Like you, I am striving to make a positive difference in the world through what I do, whether at work (as a Learning & OD Guy), at home (husband and father of two young men), or at my faith community (St. Matthias in Somerset NJ).

Recently, I have learned about the work of John Scherer, organizational consultant and Lutheran minister, whose latest book is called Five Questions That Change Everything. (Here’s a link to more info: http://www.the5questions.com/the-book/)

When you wrote, “I don’t have to fix everyone, just me,” I immediately thought of Scherer. His five questions are all about becoming who you are.

Being a question-oriented person, I find myself gravitating toward his five. One of which is: What calls you? He defines it with a further question:

~ What kind of difference would I like to think my life could make in the world?

Keep up asking the great questions, Mike.


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