Living Our organization’s vision, values and mission
It takes time and energy to write up an organizationally-shared vision, mission or values, and the process of writing these statements with Board members, staff and perhaps other key stakeholders is long. However, once these statements are in place, we need to keep living (or changing) them so that they can effectively guide our decisions, provide unity in the organization, and keep us connected to the why of our organizations. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Keep these statements prominent and visual- they are foundational statements!
- Frame them or make posters for the walls.
- Write them on your letterhead or Board agendaÆs.
- Display them in publicity (brochures, website, etc).
- Orient new people to the statements.
- Include them in Board and staff orientation kits.
- Have a discussion with new people about them: what these statements mean to you, what do they like about the statements, what are the questions they have, etc.
- Keep reviewing the statements on an annual basis to see how your team connects to them or what might need changing
- Occasionally carry out an exercise with board or staff (or at a joint retreat) to work on living these statements.
- Post one of the statements and ask participants to work in buzz groups and share a specific example of how they have lived a part of this statement recently.
- (Solicit specific examples: i.e. last week when…)
- Ask for examples of sections of the statement that have been challenging to live. As participants share their stories with the full group, note which parts of the statement are being lived easily and which may need further discussion or changes as they are challenging to live.
- Ask people, individually or in groups, to draw or act one of the statements. Have the full group share observations, look for shared meaning and raise points of divergence to discuss.
- Take a word or phrase from one of the statements that may be interpreted differently among the stakeholders (e.g. a “holistic approach”). Ask participants to share their understanding and reword or define as needed.
- Review these statements in planning exercises. Align goals and objectives (individual or organizational) to the statements. Are there gaps? Why? Do the gaps speak to changes needed?
Do you have other ideas for how your organization can keep your values alive and well?