We’ve all heard the term data-driven decision-making. But let’s talk about values-based decision-making today – I believe it is a better way to lead your association or chamber into the future. Think of all the upheaval in our nation recently. What better way to lead than demonstrating what your organization values.
Does your organization have a values statement? If so, do you lead with those values front and center? A strong set of values that are evident in the work of your association or chamber reflects on the strength of your leadership.
If you lead with your organization’s values always in mind, you will be an authentic leader. And if you build trust, are accountable to your members, staff, and board as well as following through on the commitments you make, your impact will easily be measured in membership growth. When you show your world your values and lead with integrity by demonstrating those values in all you do, your membership will grow allowing you to do more.
A leader who allows their team members to take risks without judgement leads to innovative teams – staff, volunteers or board members. In other words, those leaders who provide psychological security allow their teams to take ownership and take risks. They don’t just feel, they know they are a valued team member.
Leaders who are socially aware ask their team, “Tell me more so I can better understand.” They don’t state, “I don’t care what the reason is, just do what I tell you.” Leaders who support their team and don’t add pressure to individuals who may be going through a crisis builds your staff’s belief that you are a leader who’s core values include understanding and appreciation.
How does the culture you build as a leader enhance your organization? Do you insist on all employees working in person? Does that improve the culture? If you allow employees to work remotely regularly or occasionally, do you find that they are more productive? Do you micromanage your employees? Do you realize by micromanaging them, you are removing trust in your culture?
While data-driven decision-making is an excellent way to measure results and decide a path forward, values-driven decision-making leads to a higher functioning organization. That member who feels good when you speak with them is hard to quantify – but you know that their dues renewal is guaranteed. Measuring the impact your chamber or association has on the community it supports requires setting values above numbers.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, as your chamber or association defines its values, realize that the demographics of membership are changing. If you are not engaging in DEI work, you are offending people. If you don’t take a stand and live your values publicly, you will lose the up-and-coming generations. Think of companies Gen Y and Gen Z are buying from – are your values clear in what you say and what you do? The companies they buy from are clearly demonstrating their values – and so should your organization. Look around your board table. Do they reflect the diversity of the community your chamber or association serves? Not just who your community is today, but who your community will be in 5 years, in 10 years.
Work with your board, your staff, your members to develop and define your values. Share your values in all that you do. Be proud of the values your organization promotes. And by leading with value, your membership will grow and your chamber or association will flourish.