Every morning for years I listened to KNX 1070 at 6:55 am to hear Michael Josephson’s Character Counts segment. It lasts only a couple of minutes, but often speaks volumes to me. I would like to share one of his commentaries with you.
The character counts strategy of character building embodied in the acronym “TEAM” stands for: Teach, Enforce, Advocate and Model. Today, I want to talk about enforcement, the idea that the consistent and conscious imposition of positive and negative consequences is a critical part of defining, upholding and instilling values.
For example, people come to know how highly we regard honesty in our personal relations by the way we deal with dishonesty. If it’s important, we are friends only with honest people and those who deceive us will pay a high price. Similarly, if being treated with respect is essential, no one will be permitted to get away with less.
The same principles apply in school, sports and the workplace. Every teacher, coach and supervisor has the necessary tools to inculcate values that help eliminate unacceptable conduct and encourage desirable behavior. If used consistently, small things like expressions of approval and disapproval, symbolic awards, notes home or in the personnel file can powerfully influence values.