Values: Do You Have Any?

intentional practices mission. vision. values strategic planning and policy development Jul 19, 2022
Values: Do You Have Any?


Values define our beliefs about who we are, what guides us, how we behave to each other and to our clients, how we operate… But too often they are just dreamed up, put on a poster, and stuck on a boardroom wall. What do yours say about you and your beliefs? How are they manifested?


Values are organized sets of general beliefs, opinions, and attitudes about what is preferable, right, or simply good in life.


A statement of values can provide guidance when tough decisions must be made, for example, in allocating scarce resources, or when presented with a donation from a group that may be incompatible with the organization’s mission and values.


The statement of values articulates the board’s (and, one hopes staff’s) shared beliefs about important principles and norms by which the agency operates and delivers service.


At the agency level, values express a “moral compass” of standards to advance the mission and vision. At the board level, values clarify the principles by which board members act, individually and collectively.


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Shared values influence everything an organization does, as well as its relationships with stakeholders and its reputation.


Values may be expressed as beliefs, guidelines, or rules, and may be set out in a code of conduct.


Examples might include Integrity and Accountability, High Quality, Ethical Practices, Caring and Compassion, Inclusiveness, Diversity, and Equality. Perhaps Courage, Collaboration, and Respect. You get the idea.


Although not so common, I prefer a sentence or two by way of clarification and example.


Good values must be reality-based, socially constructive and immediate, and controllable.


So what then is the Board’s role in defining values?


Make clear your intent. Then elicit them and with staff clarify them, articulate them and communicate them. Infuse them in board and organizational practices and of course -- live up to them

And put them in policy!


The statement of values is integrated into the decision-making of the board and the delivery of day-to-day operations and services by the staff.


As a policy, the statement of values is developed, reviewed, and/or revised by the board as part of the planning cycle.

What are your values?
Do you have any?
Are thy in policy?
How are they monitored and assessed?


What are your main “pain points” dealing with setting and holding values as a board?

What advice would be most helpful to you?  And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!

Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.



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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? 

Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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