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Which Head Should I Wear Today?

What Ways Of Being Are You Choosing?

In your life and business?

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Have you ever stepped back and asked yourself “who do I need to be right now to make the best of this situation”? If you have, it was likely a moment of some importance to you.

In times of importance, you may consciously choose a version of yourself to handle matters more effectively.

Imagine if you consciously chose your Ways of Being and Acting regularly, rather than just on special occasions. What if there were specific ways you actively worked at to help improve things in your life, your relationships or how your business performed?

That’s what this article is about; the active choosing of specific Ways of Being and Acting to bring about target outcomes.

What Are Ways of Being and Acting?

Ways of Being and Acting are connected like two sides of the same coin.  Your Ways of Being reflect what’s going on for you internally (your mental and emotional state, your thoughts and how you feel in your body). These ways of being generally give rise to your Ways of Acting. This means how you respond – what you think, say and do. To learn more about ways of being and acting, consider looking into the study of Phenomenology and Ontology. For readability sake, I’m collapsing Ways of Being and Ways of Acting down into “Ways of Being” or “Ways” for short.

In every moment, you get to either react instinctively, using your unconscious patterns of behaviour, or you can actively choose who you need to show up as in the situation.

Take for example, Being Kind.

There are hundreds of different behaviours you can use to express kindness. No individual act of kindness constitutes being a kind person. However, a regular pattern of kind behaviours becomes a practiced Way of Being.

We all have Ways of Being that people use to describe us. She is kind, he is honest, she is untrustworthy, etc. One incident does not represent a pattern. It’s the frequency and consistency of our behaviours that earn us our labels and results. No one is a particular Way all the time. We do however exhibit some ways with great regularity, and these patterns of behaviour are cummulatively responsible for our results and who people believe us to be.

Getting Started With Ways of Being

Years ago, my business coach helped me connect with my core values and purpose in life and work. Then we focused on uncovering who I needed to be, to live into my values in ways that supported my purpose.

I’ve spent over 20 years learning to express those values and to make them who I regularly show up as. As I started to understand and adopt the practices, I wondered… “could I apply the same principles to sales, marketing and business development?”

I’ve now spent over 17 years working on that question and developing a framework of Ways to help founders and business leaders grow their organizations. We call this business leadership framework The 20 Ways of Being. We believe this framework is core to business development and the sales and marketing systems that drive sustainable earnings growth.

Deer In The Headlights Stares

After so many years of study and practice, I’ve become a fan of Ways of Being. However, when I mention the topic outside the coaching community, I tend to get blank stares from people. This deer in the headlights response reinforced my desire to bring the Ways conversation into the mainstream, in particular, to how it applies to leadership and business development.

Ways We Value

In our culture, there is a general expectation that people will be certain ways. Not that we all do it, but there is a general expectation of baseline Ways, such as:

  • Being polite and helpful
  • Being respectful and tolerant
  • Being honest and trustworthy

In your business, you tend to recruit people who fit your culture and express Ways suited for particular job roles, for example:

  • Being friendly and empathetic in a customer service role
  • Being logical and innovative in a software development role
  • Being bold and creative in a design role
  • Being committed and forthcoming in a leadership role

You may not be consciously choosing your ways, but you will have a set of ways that you value and live into as a matter of your upbringing, training and work experience.

Which Ways Are Vital For You?

Do you know? Have you explored your Ways of Being and their role in your life? A good place to start is by completing a Kolbe A Assessment; a self-assessment tool to help you explore your inherent modus operandi. It brings to the surface your default ways on four different scales, but that’s a blog post for another day. For now, the assessment is a great tool for uncovering some of your default ways, how they show up for you, and how they affect your interactions with others.

The long-term cumulative effects of your Ways will shape the experience others have of you. The results you create are, in many ways, the sum of your Ways of Being.

Think of the difference between weather and climate. The weather is dynamic and always shifting (like who you are being in the moment), whereas the climate is the sum of long-term weather patterns (your cumulative Ways of Being). If you can learn to manage your behavioural weather patterns in the moment, you will alter your average climate conditions.

The cumulative effect of your daily Ways as a company results in the experience you create for others and how your reputation (your brand) is perceived.

Managing Ways Is An Ancient Practice

Choosing and practising Ways of Being is far from a new idea. It’s a practice thousands of years old. Unfortunately, the practice tends to get buried within discipline-specific conversations like philosophy, religion, ethics, performance coaching, behavioural psychology, and mindfulness.

How Does This Help You?

Learning to apply Ways of Being in business represents a tremendous opportunity for company leaders. Why? Because Ways of Being are free and completely within your control. There is no need for technology to practice them. They are fundamental to culture, productivity and brand development.

In simple terms, it works like this…You determine which ways are necessary to achieve a goal. You make living into those ways the expectation, the easiest to practice and the most rewarded option. The more you practice and make your target ways your chosen expression, the easier it gets and the more progress you make.

Ways of Marketing and Business Development

In 2003, we started developing our 20 Ways of Being for small business owners. Each way nests into three stages of program development (Design, Build and Grow). The ways all build upon each other to make target outcomes the natural result of your effort.

You practice this approach by selecting a way that is central to the outcome you need to create. You learn what the way is, why it is necessary and how to incorporate it. Then you build procedures, training, systems and compensation around it. You then take on another and another. Mastery over the set of ways and practices is what creates results. When you master the complete set of ways, you’ll have your entire business development program in place.

The Ways of Being approach is in stark contrast to the Random Acts of Marketing we so frequently encounter. We see people chasing new technologies because “everyone is doing it” and they don’t want to get left out. It’s the tail wagging the dog.

Ways of Being shift the marketing conversation towards purpose and intent. For example: With the ways of being approach you would pose the question, “if we take on this new marketing tactic, how will it help us improve our practice of being a target way”?

We’ve published a book on our 20 Ways called Mastering Marketing. I hope this post serves as a “thin edge of the wedge” teaser on the topic.

Resources For Learning More

Other places to learn about Ways of Being include leadership development. Look into the Being A Leader course, read about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Mindfulness. One of the most ancient examples is the Noble Eightfold Paths in Buddhism. Martial arts training, elite fitness and athletic programs are often based on a similar practice of consciously choosing, rather than sliding into unconscious patterns. There are so many different resources available; you just need to find something you connect with that gets you over the mental hurdle.

Even Steven Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People can be viewed from the perspective of Ways of Being and Acting.  For example, if you’ve internalised his second habit of “Beginning with the end in mind” and made it part of who you are, it becomes part of your natural way of thinking and acting. You could call it “Being Intentional”.  I realize a level of abstraction is required, but consider looking at a familiar book through a new lens. How might you turn an effective habit into a powerful Way of Being?

Got You Curious?

I hope so. Ways of Being are a very powerful mechanism with broad application. I’m always eager to share our experience using ways as a parent, in business leadership, in recruiting and in sales and marketing. It’s directly applicable to internet marketing too.

If you’d like to learn more, please reach out. I’m happy to refer you to resources and to practitioners who focus on Ways of Being in areas outside of sales and marketing.

Until you Contact Us, I invite you to be conscious and deliberate in choosing your Ways of Being and Acting. Consider taking a Kolbe A Assessment as a personal introduction. Once you’re engaged in the conversation, you’ll get a glimpse into the potential for improving your life, leadership and business effectiveness.

About the Author

John Watson is the president of Accrue Performance Marketing and the author of Mastering Marketing, the Being Profitable Program, several ebooks and an avid blogger. He serves as a sales and marketing coach and fractional Chief Marketing Officer for companies that cannot yet justify a full-time CMO. He's focused on helping startups and growth-focused companies develop powerful brands, customer-centric websites, sales leads and complete commercialization programs.

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