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For People, with people, through people ™

For People, with people, through people ™

Is it VI or VQ?

Part of the task of thinking like a leader is that we are always looking for things that will be helpful when leading, and understanding things that could be harmful. There are no “silver bullets” that will solve every problem or answer every question, but there are some things that carry more weight and have a greater impact than others.

I often ask my clients when I am doing workshops: “What is the one thing that, if you get it right, will have a massive positive impact on your team, but if you get it wrong, will have a massive negative impact on your team?” It also happens to be the most difficult thing to get right as a team.

The answer: Relationships.

I have trademarked the saying: Work gets done, for people, with people, and through people™. If I was to summarise the focus of my coaching I would say that it is relationships. 

There are very few jobs on this planet that do not involve people on some level or at some stage. You are either working for someone, or with someone, or through someone. 

The smallest team is a couple in a relationship. Two people! Anyone in a relationship knows how difficult that can be. If you are married, you stood before God and everybody, and covenanted “until death us do part.” No matter how you felt on the day, or how good our intentions were on the day, living out that covenant is probably the most difficult thing we will ever be called to do. How much more difficult is it to put 10 people into a team and expect them to relate, when some of them probably don’t even want to be there? The challenge that we have to deal with is the complexity of human beings. There are just so many things that have an impact on our relationships.

When working with teams I use a Team Health Assessment that looks at 20 key components that affect the health of a team. If you are interested in the assessment feel free to email me at 

However, when working with the relationships within a team I give most of my attention to three things:

  1. Values
  2. How we are wired
  3. Our learned behaviour

These three are all complex subjects and I will write about them in detail in future blogs. There is an abundance of research and materials available that look at all three independently, but in my experience, if we do not look at all three together then there will always be a piece of the picture that is missing.


The primary driver of our behaviour, and the cause of most of the tension, friction and conflict in any team or relationship, are what are commonly called values. 

Over many years, the most successful leaders I have worked with have one key thing that separates them from the rest: They have what I call a high VQ (Value Quotient)! They understand and manage values. They are a minority!

The ability to understand and manage values is a key component in what makes a leader effective. 


If we do not understand how we and others are “wired” we will have great difficulty communicating and understanding ourselves and others. There are many tools that have been published that help with this, but none of them comes remotely close to LEMON Leadership©

Learned behaviour

The good news: Behaviours and habits can be learned and can change.

We learn behaviours because they are necessary to accomplish a task, or because we need to be proficient at our jobs, or because they are necessary to maintain healthy relationships. We also learn behaviours because we need to compensate for how we are wired, or because we value the behaviour or the result of the behaviour. It is unlikely that we will learn a behaviour that we do not value.

I delve into these in detail in the newsletters to come, but if you have any questions feel free to visit our website or email me.

Ask yourself these questions

Do I have a good understanding of how myself and others are wired?

Do I understand values, and do I manage my and other’s values?

What learned behaviours or habits am I working on? What do I need to work on?

Written by Doug Johnson

Published on 18th Aug 2020

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