Written by Pam Boney - Founder & CEO

Our manifesto is to educate leaders and teams in the current business world about why we believe character strengths are the most important lever to accelerate ethical innovation and improve or solve the most complex problems of our time. Advanced technology in the hands of leaders who are self-serving and/or operate from a a fear-based, rigid mindset offers us, at best, a precarious future because it depends upon whether that one leader’s perspective turns out to be right. As such, character intelligence combined with an agile (open to learning) mindset is an important dialogue at this moment in history. Technology in the hands of leaders and teams with well-rounded character strength are the best hope for a good future and we at Tilt Inc. have devoted our entire efforts to this purpose.


Manifesto

 

The Tilt Manifesto began in 1993 when I decided that the world of business needed a measure and development curriculum for character development in the workplace. Research had yet to prove a link between personality and success in leadership, so I set out to prove something else. Specifically, that there was an important dimension in great leaders that the current literature was missing entirely. My theory was based on my own observations of clear correlations between character strengths, productivity and innovation - which are good outcomes of good leadership and culture.

 


Character is the missing metric in leadership. 

The Tilt framework is the result of decades of observation, qualitative research and eventually, rigorous psychometric testing. The 12 character strengths roll up to four primary meta-strengths that are the four polar dimensions of whole-person character strength. When a leader develops all twelve of these, they create a climate of psychological safety where people can show up as their more authentic selves. Communication becomes direct, honest, collaborative and courageous. This ensures the viability and relevance of their output remains current over time (instead of falling into bureaucracy and slow process bogged down by ego-fears). 

Speed and applicability are key factors that ensure continuous innovation. 

I also believed that for these ideas to be applicable they must also be memorable and quickly understandable through a visual model that has immediate face validity and relates to business strategy. And that it must be broken down into timelessly positive attributes that can be assessed, measured, monitored and practically developed in people, leaders, teams and culture.

On a personal note, I must share that my early life experiences did not prepare me for the rigors of leadership, yet I was given that responsibility at an early age. Recognizing the problems I created with my own behavior and the consequences that resulted made me begin an inquiry into how I could be a better leader. And later how I could be a better person in my personal life too. So this path was set in motion precisely because I was in need of education about character myself. I knew there had to be others who might be in need too because I saw people operating from hidden fears all around me in the business world. The result has been to achieve an exceptionally good life both personally and professionally. I was eventually able to attract and keep the right people in my life, build professional success, and launch my own successful enterprise. The by-product I did not expect, but that was the best surprise, has been inner peace, happiness, well-being, fulfillment and health. Even through the normal ups and downs of life. The answers I found along the way are here in this manifesto. I hope they help others find their way to living a life that is Awake and Fearless. 

 


 

Key Principles

This principle is based on the concept Aristotle called The Golden Mean, which is at the core of the Tilt concepts and applied to everything we do. Extremes can be used to get attention, but residing there permanently or too frequently results in a perversion of a good thing.

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For example, too much compassion can result in permissiveness. Too much discipline can result in rigidity. And so on.

One first has to understand the context to discern the right thing to do at the right time. A behavior that is inappropriate in one context could be the best course of action in another. Thus, context is the first step in everything we teach.

While we think people will experience more flow, passion and energy in their top interests areas (different from strengths), we believe you can’t just ignore negative behaviors that are counterproductive. Our research shows that people who are balanced provide a better climate for success.

A healthy culture that fosters psychological safety is a prerequisite for optimal productivity, creativity, innovation and generativity. Having a measure and monitor for it 365 days a year will accelerate learning and engagement. Fear, on the other hand, even when it’s subtle, will stop innovation in its tracks because people will stop taking risks and stall forward momentum.

We first have to be able to be honest with ourselves before we can cultivate a healthy mind, heart, body and spirit. This is not easy or soft and requires radical honesty with oneself to live in reality instead of convenient or unconscious delusions.

We first learn by understanding dualities, but then advance to non-dualistic thinking which embraces two polarities at once. Most personality assessments teach us to think in dualities. Whole-person character is non-dualistic. For example, one can be both brave and kind. Not either/or at the expense of the other. And both optimistic and realistic, but not one at the expense of the other. And so on.

If we develop character, we trigger less drama that distracts us and unwittingly wastes time we could be devoting to our creative purpose. Flow is possible when we are fully immersed and engaged in our work and have the character to stay out of counterproductive human drama.

One must develop one’s mind, heart, body and spirit for internal strength to build character and healthy maturity. Only then can we truly interact with the world with true ease and agility without unwittingly betraying our ourselves and others

We all have four parts; head, heart, gut and spirit, but naturally prefer two of the four, which we call our True Tilt. Because of this tendency to alienate one or two parts, we may ignore them to our own detriment. Full maturity into balanced character strength means building capacity in all four to integrate all of our parts into one congruent whole. Only then can we truly show up agile in the world and choose to Tilt intentionally to context.

 

Core Values

The Tilt Framework of organizing principles and metrics was a creative endeavor that evolved over two decades and is now a stable visual model and set of assessments upon which to gauge, monitor and grow character strength in people, teams and culture. The four meta-strengths can be expressed as five simple values; four link to the four dimensions and one encompasses all of them. Our goal is to teach some important, life altering concepts that are less obvious to most of us, yet explain the subtleties of good traits and strengths, gone awry. Only with a lifetime of continuous improvement, one small trait at a time, can balance truly be achieved.

The simplest expression of Humanity. It can take a lifetime to learn to be truly kind. When we are being kind we are generally experienced as trustworthy, empathetic and likable. What most don’t know is that it requires a delicate balance or it can quickly turn into something else and go awry.

 

What it doesn’t mean is giving too much and creating dependence in those who could be better served by taking responsibility themselves. Giving too much may actually be self-serving and in service of a need to be seen as a good person by others only to convince ourselves. When our ego is driven by fears of abandonment or rejection, we may unwittingly feel envy and seek approval from others to prop up our own identity, so it isn’t true kindness that results. True kindness does not have the quality of striving. It is carefully balanced by having the courage to know when not to give because it might interfere with another person’s learning to take care of themselves. It’s knowing that creating dependence may make us feel needed but rob others of their inclination to take initiative regarding their own existential questions. In this case, the question of independence and autonomy.

 

True kindness encourages others to reach for their own autonomy and independence with a helping hand, but not an endless “hand-out” that robs them of their dignity. True kindness is given with nothing asked in return, nothing expected as a result, and seeks no public recognition. And it is given in small moments, unfancy words and quiet gifts that come at just the right time. Learning to be kind, also means being kind to oneself and balancing it with kindness to others.

 

The simplest expression of Wisdom. To learn to be wise requires training of the mind to be present, calm and alert in the moment and then making a choice that is mindful. When we are being wise we are generally demonstrating perspective, focus and diligence. What most don’t know is that it requires a delicate balance or it can easily turn into something else and go awry.

 

What is doesn’t mean is working obsessively to gain status over others in an effort to control them. That may actually be self-serving and in service of a need to be enough if only to convince ourselves so we strive too much to be superior. When our ego is driven by fears of inferiority and insignificance, we may unwittingly feel pride and seek status over others to prop up our own identity, so it isn’t true wisdom that results. True wisdom doesn’t have the quality of striving or over-obsessing to the point that we make others feel they are less than we are. It is carefully balanced by appreciating the unique nature of every person and how we are each only smarter than another in our own areas of interest and woefully incompetent in theirs. True wisdom doesn’t create hierarchies of control, but rather appreciates that all are part of the whole that contribute to the mission.

 

True wisdom encourages others to reach for our own individuality and earned credibility by demonstrating exemplary prioritization of accomplishments we care about. When we devote our mind to these endeavors it is not to gain status, but to answer our own existential question of purpose. We are here to do something - accomplish something meaningful. Our credibility with others is a by-product that is earned by our own small accomplishments, one at a time, over time until we fulfill that purpose. So, learning to be wise requires focusing on the work we are most meant to do and inspiring others to do the same.

 

The simplest expression of Courage. Being bold means being willing to embrace the certainty of risk and face it anyway so that we can take action in service of forwarding momentum that serves justice for all. When we are being bold, we are generally demonstrating integrity, courage and confidence. And it requires a delicate balance or it can easily turn into something else and go awry.

 

What it doesn’t mean is dominating others by assuming we have the right to save them from themselves in order to serve justice. That may actually be self-serving and in service of a need to convince ourselves that we are not weak, so we strive too much to be seen as the powerful hero. When our ego is driven by fears of vulnerability, we may unwittingly feel anger and seek power over others to prop up our own identity, so it isn’t true boldness that results. Courage doesn’t have the quality of striving. Nor does it seek to dominate to the point that we attempt to take power away from others by letting our anger make us dictators. It is carefully balanced to invite others to take their own actions in service of their convictions, not take actions for them that are actually their right and responsibility to assert. Courage means embracing the value of anger to instigate forward action despite unknowns in order to serve justice, but it also means taking care that one’s actions do not harm another. This requires that clear roles, boundaries and responsibilities are set so that results are balanced with compassion.

 

True boldness is not just about knowing things, but also acting on what one has learned. It requires having the confidence to act in the face of uncertainty or ambiguity and be willing to face the consequences of one’s actions if things do not go as planned. If harm results from an action, it requires the boldness to attend to what is just and make it right as soon as possible. So, learning to be bold requires consideration of unintended consequences but always forward movement toward progress.

 

The simplest expression of Resilience. Being unique means finding our creative purpose and fulfilling it in our lifetime. When we are being unique, we are generally demonstrating openness, inspiration and creativity. This requires a delicate balance or it can easily turn into something else and go awry.

 

What is doesn’t mean is having to be so obviously or serially original that it shocks others in order to get attention. That may actually be self-serving and in service of a need to convince ourselves that we are not ordinary, so we strive too much to be seen as special and extraordinary. When our ego is driven by fears of being unworthy of attention we may unwittingly feel shame and seek attention from others even if it’s negative just to feel worthy of being noticed. Being original and unique doesn’t have the quality of striving so much that it seeks excessive attention. Nor does it seek excessive recognition, but instead, finds a creative outlet for expression of one’s authentic self and purpose. Inside each of us lies a very unique set of interests that cause us to be like no other human being on earth. Our blend of interests wires our brain to produce original insights that differentiate us from all others. Understanding the responsibility that comes along with that is essential.

 

True uniqueness is about finding one’s potential to shape and express original, creative insights about a specific set of topics that no one else could ever imagine. It is this blend of interests that make us a genius in some topics and completely uninformed in others. As such, we can be a source of creative wisdom for others who can benefit from our perspective and vice versa. Embracing our originality, then sharing our unique gifts helps everyone be more resilient.

 

 

The simplest expression of whole-person character strength. Being real means all of your parts are in congruence with the others, so you are living in reality to the greatest degree possible while also being human. We are beings that are sometimes conscious and sometimes unconscious by nature. We could not possibly be conscious of everything, all the time, or our minds would explode in overwhelm. The human mind at the center of all of our parts must record experiences and consequences in subconscious long-term memory that we can draw upon later, but not always immediately and not always accurately.

 

Our DNA has wired our brains for patterns that have helped many ancestors before us survive an often unfriendly world. That unimaginably complex system is also wired up to help us survive the first systems we encounter, our family of origin. This design worked beautifully a hundred years ago when our entire lives were lived in one geographic area, with the same people, and the same systemic norms.

 

But today, in the age of technology, we are exposed to constant change by exponentially numerous variables and thus anxiety is at an all time high. Our best hope for thriving in such complex times is to focus inward to anchor our inner world with strength of character in all four aspects of whole-self; mind, body, heart and spirit. Only then can we show up being our most authentic self and complete our most important work. This requires checking into reality with awareness and commit to mindful practices that strengthen us from the inside-out. Then we can operate, not from fear, but from inner strength and answer the most important existential questions that lead to ultimate fulfillment and a life well lived.