Updated: Oct 23, 2019
Values, plainly put, are the judgements of what we believe are important in life.
Choosing values that align with your brand and the business or organization you are building is really important and something that not a lot of people think about. Everyone is focused on the mission and vision of their organization that they completely overlook the core values and what those mean to them.
The best thing I have done recently was to reconnect with the values of both of my organizations! When I was reflecting on what I have written from six months ago for CIVIS, I saw how my mission and vision changed but the underlying values have not.
Picking values that truly resonate with you, your brand, and your organization is key to building consistency! Consistency in writing, in showing up, and working in every aspect of your brand/organization.
I spent some time re-writing the values for CIVIS and this is what I came up with,
"The pillars of CIVIS Citizenship are simple, concise, and truly encapsulate our goal to make the world a better place.
Community- At CIVIS, we believe in community above all else. Our value and commitment to fostering community on and off line are consistent with providing community care, self-care, and awareness of how we are all connected.
Conversation- Conversation is how we work through issues, reflect, and grow for the better. Change is only possible if we utilize the most important tool we all have, voice.
Security- Security for the liberty and rights of every human is at the core of our organization. We believe in security in every form-- cyber, national, environmental, food, policy, etc.
Education- Education is how we learn and change and grow. Education should be accessible for everyone and we are committed to ensuring that information is readily accessible to our community.
Policy- Research and policy must be talked about, reflected upon, and recreated to foster healthy community. Here at CIVIS we aim to start the research and conversation needed to create widespread policy change."
Here I referred to our values as our pillars because of how similarly values hold up a structure like pillars. Something to keep in mind especially with values is how words can have more than one meaning and context. The way we choose and use our words every day displays the values that we hold closest to us.
Generally, organizations should have three-five key values that are essential to the founding, and success of that brand. For CIVIS, I chose five values that speak to the mission and greater purpose of the organization. CIVIS' mission is to redefine citizenship and community in the modern era.
This mission for me is about providing education for all about community and citizenship, providing non-partisan solutions to policy issues, providing easy to read research about important community topics, creating security for all individuals in all aspects of life, and so much more! Dialing all of this down into concrete values has been difficult for me. I started with the values of community and civic engagement and have moved so much farther into those aspects than I could have possibly imagined.
For me, these values came so clearly and there meaning and context is vague for the purpose of not knowing how we will grow as an organization. These are simply the roots that I have planted and will foster and allow to grow in the ways they are able.
My Top Five Tips for Creating Meaningful Values are:
1. Start with a brain dump of the words and values you hold closest to you as a person and then you as a brand/organization. Find where there are similarities and differences and think about why that may be. These values are often more intertwined than we think they are.
2. Start researching synonyms, phrases, descriptors, as many ways as you can think of to express these values! BRAIN DUMP TO THE MAX.
3. Then sit with your mission statement and circle the words or phrases that stand out most. I am very big on trusting your gut and listening to it!
4. From here start creating sentences from the position of your brand on why you chose these values. It doesn't have to be long. You could explain it all in one sentence. But why have you chosen these values? What do they mean to your organization?
5. SHARE SHARE SHARE. Share the values you create with everyone! We all share so many similar values even if we have different opinions! It is important to create discussion about values to show transparency to the ones you want to work with!