Leadership: destination, people, journey, and arriving. So far I have written about the destination (defining, getting and communicating vision), the next stage is the journey.
In any journey you first have a destination, otherwise you are going nowhere. Next is the process of the journey, "How you want to get there?". This is where values fit into the picture. In his book, "Purpose Driven Youth Ministry", Doug Fields says, "values reveal what is important to your ministry (or organisation)". Values essentially give you the benchmark to test the means and methods you are using to get to your destination.
Most people would agree that values are important but I believe they are the missing organisational link in the trinity of mission, vision and values. If not altogether missing then at the least the poor second cousin of mission and vision. Why do I say this? Every organisation has values, whether they are written down or not. However generally these values are meaningless because:
They aren't Real - are they actually values or just objectives or non-value statements?
They are rarely Repeated - are your values explained, communicated, discussed or taught?
They are never Reviewed - is the organisation measuring what it does against how it says it wants to do things?
In the first instance are the values that the organisation holds something tangible that you can describe and see in the real world - e.g. friendship or teamwork. Very often organisations produce complicated, long winded statements or just use vision or mission orientated words and phrases as value statements.
Some good examples of values (that are clear and understandable) are City Church, Revelation Church and Boeing
Like vision, values should be kept in front of the organisation and not just locked in a document or website.
If values tell us what is important to us and speak of our ethos then we should be talking, communicating, educating, sharing these values widely and regularly. At this point the phrase "values are caught not taught" would usually be stated and it certainly has a ring of truth to it and values can be seen and therefore caught. But if catching is the only method for getting values then is it like catching a virus? When you come into the presence of the value holder and you pick up what you see and percieve then you become a similar value holder. But if values are only caught then like a virus mutation may occur. We need to teach and communicate clearly what our values are, what they mean and what they look like. This should happen in many different ways acting as a plumbline to test what we are 'catching' from one another.
So we have some real values, we are repeating these values regularly. How will we know if we are really doing what we say is important?
We could ask some questions which would objectively see if we are doing what we say is important. Again in Doug Field's book he shares how they did this in his youthwork, so for their value of acceptance they had the following questions they would ask of themselves to review how they were doing in this area.
So I guess we need to ask yourself how important are our values? How are values held in your organisation? What are your experiences, good or bad? I would love to hear your feedback on this - in fact I would really value them ;-).