Munafo Core Values: MCV03 — Everything That Depends on You Depends on Your Well-Being  


Everything That Depends on You Depends on Your Well-Being

This core value reminds you not to subjugate your own well-being for some other "higher" purpose. It would be considered part of MCV05, were it not so important and so commonly overlooked.

This is a common mistake that is insidious because of the many ways it can happen. Lack of well-being usually involves a lack of balance, too much of one thing or not enough of something else. There are of course hundreds of ways one's body, emotions, mind, environment, lifestyle, etc. can be out of balance.

In most cases, competing or conflicting objectives are responsible — for example, a desire to get enough sleep, and a desire to submit a better term paper by spending more time on research. If the objectives and their sources are mainly personal (involving only the individual making the decisions about what is "in balance"), the priorities article is relevant. If the objectives and their sources come from other people, the article on ownership is also relevant.

MCV03 for Teams

By definition, a team depends on the well-being of its members. Thus, this core value is telling the individual member, and the team as a whole, to make sure not to sell out the member's well-being for the team's needs. Similarly, anything bigger than the team (such as the division or league) that depends on the teams, depend on the teams' well-being. So this core value also states that teams need to treat the well-being of their "teamness" with similar respect. Essentially this means that a team lacking teamwork, mutual trust/respect, etc. must resolve those problems before they can effectively help the larger groups. This is bottom-up dependency.

However, with teams it is not nearly so simple. If bottom-up were the only type of dependency, then it would be very easy to follow this core value. However, on many teams, particularly the ones that most need a set of core values like these, there is also top-down dependency: the individual depends on the team's survival. The existence of both types of dependency sets up a critical type of co-existence in which each (the individual and the team) depend on the other.

The most familiar example of this will probably be a small business, perhaps a startup or some type of contract work business (e.g. catering) that runs on tight margins in a highly competitive marketplace. The business' day-to-day success depends on the contribution of all employees. If an employee becomes incapacitated the business cannot long survive without replacing them. Thus, the business must respect the health and well-being of the employees (by, e.g., not obstructing them from regular medical checkups) and conversely the employees must respect the health and well-being of the business (by, e.g., not taking time off unless a very pressing need intervenes).

Poorer health leads to lower productivity... ''positive'' feedback loops are the good kind, right?
Health vs teamwork

There will often be situations in which it seems that the needs of the team and the needs of a member cannot both be met — such as (using the small business example again) a personal family emergency that coincides with a project deadline. It is often unclear to most or all parties how to choose. Very deep understanding, with a balance of trust, confrontation, and respect, is necessary to arrive at a clear decision. Ultimately it involves a balance between responsibility and empowerment (see ownership).

Less extreme cases can occur when the employee's "well-being" is affected only by how well the assigned task or project meets their personal career objectives. In extreme cases, the company suffers from having the wrong person in the job. See the management topic for more on this.

To their credit, the Scrum Agile management system puts strict limits on meeting durations, and they play ''Planning Poker'' where every card in the deck has a Fibonacci-number value.
Extreme sacrifice

When this core value is present:

The team remembers that the success of the larger organization, and of any other purpose the team takes on, depends on the success of the team and the well-being of the people in it. (+mcv3a)

Team members and the team as a whole respect that their well-being depends on the team — and therefore the basic requirements of the team prevail over the personal interests of team members, families of team members, etc. (also part of MCV01). (+mcv3b)

When this core value is lacking:

The team sacrifices its own, or a member's, well-being in favor of some other purpose. (-mcv3a)

Team members, or the whole team by consent, sell(s) out the team's fundamental purpose in favor of a team members' personal interests (also part of MCV01). (-mcv3b)

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