This post is the fourth post in a series about the courage that leadership requires. These principles were taken from a talk that Bill Hybels gave at the Global Leadership Summit in August 2013.
Let me begin by wishing everyone a Happy New Year! The principle that I want to discuss today is timely as we launch into 2014.
Leaders must have the courage to establish and enforce values.
It is true that we must establish and enforce values within our organizations, but as we begin the New Year, we must remember to establish and uphold values in our own personal lives. Without great intentionality, we will not achieve the healthy faith, families, or finances that we desire. Work will expand to fill all available time, and the things that matter most to us will be squeezed out by the more urgent, but not more important, matters of the day.
Five years ago, near the beginning of CARE for AIDS, I wrote down three values that I wanted our organization to emulate. However, I must admit, they were not created with the collective input and support of the leadership of CARE for AIDS. And, while the rest of the organization was quick to adopt them as their own, they more reflected my personal values than that of the organization. Thankfully, without must enforcement, they did shape and drive culture in a positive direction for the last five years.
In the last 90 days, I decided that it was time to revisit our core values to see if they still fit our organization going forward. It is my opinion that core values should be both descriptive and aspirational. Upon evaluating our values, we realized that although the values had been appropriate for a fledgling organization led by college students, the values were not sufficient for the next stage of growth and development.
This time around, the process was very collaborative and incredibly healthy. We had hours of conversation with each person who holds a leadership role in the organization. There was debate and disagreement, but in the end, there was great unity, alignment, and most importantly, ownership. Here is a summary of what we arrived at:
Above all else, we strive to bring honor and glory to God, and we do so by embodying the following values:
Excellence – This value transcends every aspect of our organization. We want to have excellent character and be above reproach in all areas. We strive to be excellent in providing care for families affected by HIV/AIDS, in stewarding the resources we have been entrusted with, and in telling great stories that restore dignity to our clients.
Innovation – This is the only value that carried over from the first list. We embrace change and know the value of taking calculated risks. We want to find new and better ways to care for our clients and engage our partners in the U.S.
Relationships – People matter. Each person has infinite value and worth because they are made in the image of God. We will treat all of our staff, donors, and clients with honor, dignity, and respect.
Results – We are intentional, strategic, and focused on achieving the best possible outcomes. We want to maximize the effectiveness of our staff and our resources. We do so by constantly planning, evaluating, and innovating. One way we achieve great results is by forming strategic partnerships with other organizations on the ground in Kenya.
Now that we have established these values, the hard part begins. Now we must have the courage to enforce them. As Bill Hybels said, “At some point, you have to move from casting vision to making it an inviolable value.” We will compromise our influence if we don’t embody the values that we claim are most central to our identity.
In the New Year, join us in committing to hold yourself and your organization accountable to the values and priorities you have set.