Organizational values are your organization’s “True North.” They represent the core of who you are, what you do, and how you define success. They are powerful reminders of the culture you want to create and live, and how you want to accomplish your mission. They are your “fixed point in a spinning world” that help you stay on track.
It might sound soft but defining your organization’s core values and incorporating them into your work may be the most transformational activity you do this year. Of course, your values are meaningful only if they are lived. Taking values seriously helps to ensure that your staff, board, clients and community partners share a common purpose of how to work together. People then take action because they aspire to live the values you have identified.
The best values are clear and simple. The Strategy Group lives by four key values – excellence, integrity, joy and courage. And we know what each means to us:
Excellence… We strive to be the best in all our work.
Integrity… We are fair and honest in all we do.
Joy… We know life can be hard. We strive to find fulfillment and delight in the work we do, no matter how challenging.
Courage… We are not afraid to challenge the status quo and are willing to take action even if we are afraid.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you strive to uncover your values:
• Looking back at the times when you were most proud of the work you or your team did, why did you feel that way? And, of course, looking at the other side, what has made you frustrated or angry?
• Thinking about other organizations or leaders you admire, what qualities do they exhibit that makes you feel that way?
• When did you make an important decision you wish you had handled differently, what’s the source of dissonance and what could you have done differently?
Let us know how we can help you uncover and live your organizational values!