A recurring discussion at meetings and retreats is “maximizing value.” The context is usually centered around members, constituents, clients, or community. Consider “value” in a different perspective: your organization’s core values. To begin, answer these questions:
- Do you have a set of core values?
- Can you say them without looking on the web site, in your board binder, or organization handbook?
- Can all board and committee members, staff, and regular volunteers repeat them?
- Are they still representative of the organization and do they help to further define and refine organizational culture?
- Have you used them in any other way than just simply having them because you should?
- Did you know you can maximize the value of your core values?
An organization’s core values should go far beyond being a list of nice words that, at a minimum, evoke a positive emotion. Regardless of your Yes and No answers above, here is a list of suggestions on maximizing the value of your core values. So, give them life, put them into practice, and let them create more than just culture . . . let them create utility.
- Recruitment of board members. Through the recruitment and nominations process to fill board positions, use your set of core values to see how each candidate measures up in terms of value alignment, expertise/skill, and what you know about them that may help further promote the values throughout the organization and to those it serves.
- Recruitment of staff. Core values can easily be worked into interview questions, as well as listening for them in candidates’ responses. Are they – both personally and professionally – on board with the organization’s values? The “best” or “right” fit comes into play here. If the Zappos company successfully hires and retains the “right” employees by asking the question, “How weird are you?” then what could you be asking that is representative of the organizational culture and ‘how we do things around here?’ At the least, giving your core values a role in the selection and hiring process can help narrow down the list.
- On-going management and performance measurement. How well are board members, other volunteers, and paid staff living out and practicing the organizational core values on a regular and consistent basis? How do they exhibit them? Consider adding them into both formal reviews and informal (and frequent) feedback.
- Formal and informal discussion and sharing. Pick one core value each month and really highlight it. Talk about it in the newsletter. Post photos of those that display and practice it. Create a social activity agenda item at meetings that encourages each person to share how they upheld and displayed that value in the past month or so. Add an award or some acknowledgement, showing how important it is and celebrating those that practice it well.
How else can you maximize your core value?