Laura's Blog

Laura's Blog


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Where are your core values?

Thursday, June 17, 2010 @ 11:09:00 AM - Written by Laura Cootsona
For years I've worked with organizations to develop a compelling statement of mission and a list of core values that describe who they are at the center of their identity, how they want to do business in the world. I warn them not to park these statements on a shelf, but to test and evaluate based on them. If trust is a core value that you are instilling in the youth you serve, do you trust your employees? Do they trust one another. Are the core values of your organization informing your way of internally working and treating one another? Are the values operative in the ever-tricky relationship between executive and board of directors? Now we are getting personal.

Well, in the summer edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review (a must read, btw), David La Piana, a leadership and management specialist in the nonprofit sector, writes about what he calls "The Nonprofit Paradox."

"Yet in my 30 years working in and consulting to nonprofits, I have come to realize that this was not an isolated
incident: Nonprofits tend to recreate within their own organizational cultures the problems they are trying to solve in society. I
call this phenomenon the nonprofit paradox.

Take, for instance, a human rights organization whose mission was to prevent torture. Despite this laudable goal, one of the group’s leaders left subordinates feeling terrorized. Staff members consequently—and without awareness of the irony—described working in the organization as 'torture.'"
He goes on to discuss the many instances of this showing up in organization after organization. My challenge, is this true for your organization? Or are the core values you live by showing up (getting personal again) in the way you treat your kids? Ok, now I'm getting personal. Certainly worth a little eval-time on this one!