Over the past year a continual issue that we have kept coming back to are our Values. What are they and how do we live them?
I am of a certain vintage which exploited the concept of Values. Often over my career I have been part of a small team tasked with defining corporate values. The starting point was sometimes “what would our clients want to hear?” rather than, "what do we need to embed in everything we do to meet our purpose, create our culture and deliver our ambition?"
Funnily enough, Values didn’t really change much from project to project. Integrity, passion, innovation, inclusion. But dig deep. Look at moments of crisis or conflict. What happens to Values then? Are they core to what we are and how we work? That’s the test.
This time round, with CommunityLab, I want to do it differently. This will probably be my last major project. I hope it will be a part of my life until I shuffle off this mortal coil. I need to get it right. Be true to myself. Be true to the change I want to be part of.
So, rather than start with Values let’s end with them. Let’s think about our purpose and ambition. What we believe we need to do to fulfil these. How we behave. And then how do we need to live to deliver on this?
Let’s start with the impact that we want to make. That is all about the individual. How we feel and the change we want to facilitate. The journeys we all need to make to be happy and fulfilled. Productive. For example:
· From isolation to belonging. Surrounded by others with whom we can be honest, authentic.
· From frustration to empowerment. Knowing that we can shape our own destinies.
· From fragility to resilience. Being able to deal with life’s rubbish.
· From fear of failure to learning, creativity & experiment. Unfrozen, moving at pace, embracing criticism, thinking objectively.
· From low productivity to value-added.
What do we think needs to change to help us on these journeys? Unfortunately, the way we, or those on whom we depend, work and operate can prove barriers. Examples include:
· From silo to collaboration. Bringing diversity to our thinking. Challenging our perspectives.
· From closed knowledge to shared experiences and learning. Building our combined and collective understanding.
· From a transactional world where we only give when we know we will receive to a world of abundance. Giving unconditionally.
· From exclusion to inclusion. Making room for others.
So much for the changes we want to facilitate. But how are we going to do it? What are the core beliefs that will underpin our strategy?
· We need to create vibrant places of trust. Communities, physical and digital spaces where we can share and smile and connect.
· An inclusive, grass roots approach where anyone can get involved. Want to build a group with purpose, need help with ambition, want to participate – then just do it.
· Collaboration is critical. Our collective impact, the sum of our experiences and knowledge, our combined energy, our needs.
And how are we, CommunityLab, going to bring to this challenge?
· Create a digital platform to help build and supercharge communities. Building spaces and environment for sharing, collaborating and learning. Connecting communities, bridging silos.
· Work directly with those who share our vision. The brave few who want to create communities and the many who want to belong.
So, back to Values. Given all the above, what is important and why?
· Listen deeply. I have littered this blog with brave words. Collaboration. Community. Trust. Supercharge. However, it is only by listening deeply to others, sharing our success and failures, that we will all better understand how we can each, individually, best shape our worlds.
· Be inclusive. So much, from the language we use to the content we share to the price of entry, affects inclusion. We need to be alert to the barriers we create – they may not be obvious.
· Be authentic. Let’s be open. We are a tiny movement. Hopefully, over time that may change. But we have limited resources, financial and human. We won’t charge for our services, we won’t look for external investment and we won’t accept advertising. That means we can’t offer some of the stuff of bigger organisations. It means that it is important our members join us in the knowledge that they will be key drivers in our collective success.
· Be transparent. For example, data. We will never sell your data, but it will be really valuable in helping us understand what creates vibrancy, how do we best collaborate, what is the best way to tell our stories to the rest of the world. We want to share all these lessons with our members.