Get Your Values In Line – NOT Your In Box!

Ron Copcutt 002


Like many of you this past week, I had the opportunity to attend a remembrance day event. This one was part of a client event and included a talk by a WWII veteran.

As I listened intently to his stories I was distracted by a bright light in the dimmed auditorium. I glanced across and noticed an invited guest to the event checking and sending e- mail on their smartphone. Initially I gave the benefit of the doubt, you never know when someone has something personal and urgent going on.

But the scrolling, clicking and tapping of the keyboard continued. Finally I had to lean across and ask the person if the e-mail was so important that they felt it warranted the disprespect they were showing to someone who served to afford them the freedom to text in the first place. They quickly put the phone away.

A lot went through my mind before I said something. Most people would know me as someone not normally one who would speak out. But this individual was compromising one of my key values – Respect. Your core values are a key component of your personal brand and you should stand up for them and live them every day.

The final question I asked myself before I said something was. How would I feel on the drive home if I said nothing?

How are you living and expressing your values? Are they a core part of your personal brand?

What do you think? Take a moment to add your toonies worth.

11 thoughts on “Get Your Values In Line – NOT Your In Box!”

  1. I am very disappointed to hear about the person texting during the service, and very proud to hear the way that you handled it. Not only did you stand up for our soldiers, but you did it in such a way that I think that person will remember that – not only in Remembrance Day services, but in all the places that they text in the future. And hopefully they will pass the same thought on to others.
    Respect is a key value and your blog was a good reminder to me that not only should we exhibit it always, but that we should also do our best to encourage others to do so as well – as respectfully as possible. At least this person had the maturity to accept your comment, but I think one of the reasons that people don’t speak up is for fear that the other person will react negatively. So it’s a tough thing to do.
    Good for you, Paul!

  2. Excellent post Paul. It never ceases to amaze me that people continue to be disrespectful during public events. But texting during a Remembrance Day ceremony?
    You hit the nail on the head. These soldiers were the ones who gave the person the freedom to do this in the first place. They need to grow up and visit a country where freedom does not exist.
    Kudos to you for standing up for yourself (and the soldiers). I’m sure everyone else wanted to do the same thing, but you had the guts to do it! Your personal brand definitely includes the hallmark of integrity.

  3. Bryan C Webb, P. Eng.

    I’m very glad you said something to the texter. It was not only disrespectful of the veterans but everyone within the reach of seeing that action.
    Thank you for taking ACTION.
    Bryan C Webb, P. Eng.

  4. Good post Paul. As we all know, there are very few WWII vets still left. I talked with a Korean vet last week – my first encounter, and hopefully not my last!
    Peter Lubka, MBA, CGA
    Kitchener, Ontario

  5. Paul, I agree with what you did for two reasons. First of all, it was very disrespectful. I think it’s easy to forget what these wonderful people did for us in the past. Secondly, I’m pretty much a ‘go with the flow’ type person until my values are compromised. Then if I don’t react, I keep thinking about what I should have said or done…so good for you for saying something!

  6. Hi Paul,
    My life model is … “What you permit you promote” … it takes courage to live to that value statement. I frequently discuss this in my coaching moments to make my points on values and accountabilities. It is so important to stand up for what you believe … even my daughter has quoted this to her friends … and that takes courage ….

  7. Hi Paul,
    Let me take the opposite tact just to make this forum interesting.
    I served in the military, as did my father and two brothers (one is going back for his third tour of Afghanistan.) Are you certain this person was checking email the entire time? Maybe they were tweeting the event to followers? Maybe they were sending an email to a brother overseas telling them about the ceremony? Maybe their wife was in the hospital? I think that we are sometimes quick to assume other folks are disrespectful. That said, I suspect you were right in this case Paul, although I am curious what this person’s reaction was.
    How do I live my brand? I have also seen too many people plaster a “support the troops” ribbon on their car and then behave in a demeaning way to minorities. War doesn’t make you tolerant. My brother came back from Somalia saying that “the Somalians are the scum of the Earth.” Perhaps the best way to honour those who served is to be determined that this will not happen again. To recognize that the easiest way to go to war is to put other people in categories and then see what you are looking for. I founded my company on a moral code that “assumes everyone is intelligent.” How you live is a lot more important than what you stick on a car.

  8. Lovely sharing and leadership with someone near you dissing a veteran. My Dad was one and he passed away two years ago now, and I miss him terribly.
    I admire that you said it. I am glad you thought about what you would have done on the way home, if you had not said it.
    I have met you and heard you several times, and you are quite bubbly, in a kind way. This was out of character for you as far I as I can tell.
    You stood for freedom! Amen. I wish there were more like you in this world!
    Laura MacKay

  9. Appreciated you speaking out when the person was disrespecting the veteran. Path of least resistance was to grumble under your breath and do nothing. I think Remembrance Day is the single most important day of the year for us all to recognize the sacrifices others have made that ulitmately paved the way for both our freedom and quality of life we enjoy.
    My son is 13 and class president – he asked his home room teacher for a moment of silence at 11:11 on the 11th and the teacher denied the request. I brought up with school administration and they will implement next year.
    Your point on values and living (and working) ethically, congruent with personal value system is very valid and well taken.

  10. Well it seems I certainly touched on a subject important to many of you and thank you all for taking the time to comment.
    Jacquie – great point, our core values just be lived and exhibited as an example to others.
    Bryan, Peter, Sandra, Anne – thanks for acknowledging.
    Laura – I know how you feel, this was my first remembrance day without my Dad alive (it’s his picture at the top of the post – served in WWII in UK, Italy, Egypt and Palestine in the RAF). He would have loved the service in the Hamilton area – the only flying Lancaster in North America flew over and he worked on those in the war and it was his favourite plane – a tear would have come to his eye too.
    Dave in answer to your question. I leaned across and actually asked the person – “Is this really necessary?” – they immediately stopped and said no – so I feel that my instinct was right and that they were not doing something important enough that it could not wait – or alternatively even if it was, step outside and consider others thoughts at a time like this.
    Anon – my kids school walked up to the local cenotaph for the parade and service it’s the first time my daughter went and she could not stop talking about how special (and old!) the veterans laying wreaths looked. I cannot even begin to fathom why a teacher would refuse a request – just hope it’s not political correctness gone mad.

  11. Great Toonie’s Worth comments, Paul. It also ran through my mind recently when I received the content of this e-mail. My thoughts were ” I aspire to spontaneously come up with answers like this”
    Great Answers
    In France , at a fairly large conference, Prime Minister Steven Harper was asked by a French cabinet minister if Canadian involvement in Afghanistan was just an example of “empire building”.
    Mr Harper answered by saying, ‘Over the years, Canada has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.’
    You could have heard a pin drop.
    A Canadian Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the Canadian, US, English, Australian and French Navies.
    At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French Admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, North Americans generally learn only English. He then asked, ‘Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?’
    Without hesitating, the Canadian Admiral replied ‘Maybe it’s because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German.’
    You could have heard a pin drop.
    When Robert Whiting, an elderly Canadian gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on at French Customs.
    ‘You have been to France before, monsieur?’ the customs officer asked sarcastically.
    Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.
    The official replied, ‘Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.’
    The Canadian said, ‘The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.’
    ‘Impossible, Monseur. Canadians always have to show passports on arrival in France!’
    The Canadian senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, ‘Well, when I came ashore on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn’t find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to.’
    You could have heard a pin drop.
    Canadians are Cool.

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