There are many definitions of what operating principles are, but at the core, operating principles are essentially the way that organizations put their values into practice and get things done. Operating principles serve as guides, helping you make sound decisions, build trust, and hold each other accountable for your daily actions. In short, they are your ground rules in your work together. By choosing to use operating principles, you are clearly stating what should not be done, as well as what should be done.

What do operating principles actually look like? Here are two examples from clients we have worked with:

Connecticut Foodshare Operating Principles

Operating principles developed by and for their board members

Domus Operating Principles

Operating principals developed by and for their senior leadership team

How can you get started on your own? Download our template to use with your team.

If you think your organization is struggling to turn values into actions and results, consider creating your own operating principles. We can help you run a short workshop where you define your core values and operating principles. Reach out to us at and we’ll help get you started.