Do people on your team multitask in meetings, or focus on the person speaking?
The answer to that question will help to demonstrate how much your organization prioritizes attention, which is one of the “7 Forms of Respect” in the framework and new book of that name by Julie Pham.
Don’t worry, this isn’t about setting rules. Pham is not giving advice on having laptops open or closed in meetings, for example. Instead, she’s providing a way to establish and communicate the priorities of different people, teams, and companies — defining organizational culture not by abstract concepts but by desired behaviors.
That insight is key to understanding and benefiting from the new book by Pham, a Seattle-based entrepreneur, marketer, consultant, journalist, historian, and former non-profit executive. It’s called 7 Forms of Respect: A Guide to Transforming Your Communication and Relationships at Work.
“One of the big misconceptions about the 7 Forms of Respect is that I’m telling people how to be respectful — that these are the seven forms, and you have to be respectful in all of these different ways,” Pham says. Instead, she explains, “you will prioritize some, and deprioritize others, and you might actually think of some as not being a form of respect.”
As defined by Pham, the “7 Forms of Respect” are: procedure, punctuality, information, candor, consideration, acknowledgement, and attention.
For example, on an accounting team, procedure might be the most important form of respect. On an engineering team, it might be candor. The idea is to communicate and understand what matters most to different people and teams.
“People say, ‘Oh, I don’t like the company culture,” she says. “Part of that is because they actually haven’t articulated, what is the company culture. … Oftentimes, when people describe company culture, they use these big vision words, like, we’re innovative, we’re forward-looking. But they don’t use behavior words.”
Prioritizing desired behaviors is especially important for morale during times of great change, like now, Pham says. “Then it’s clear to people, ‘Should I stay here? … Is this the right place for me? … Should I join this company?”
Pham, who has a PhD in history from Cambridge University, is known to many in Seattle tech for her past work as vice president of community engagement at the Washington Technology Industry Association. Her experience also includes running her family’s Vietnamese-language newspaper, Northwest Vietnamese News, in Seattle.
On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, Pham discusses the practical applications and benefits of the “7 Forms of Respect” with GeekWire co-founder John Cook.
Listen above, or subscribe to GeekWire in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.
Audio editing and production by Curt Milton.