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Talking about our values

articleindex follow modules Array 1 Chief Executive, Rob Williamson, reveals the values at the heart of the Community Foundation

“Values can set a company apart from the competition by clarifying its identity and serving as a rallying point for employees. But coming up with strong values – and sticking to them – requires real guts.” [1]

During 2018, we have been working on setting out core values for the Community Foundation. We wanted to describe clearly who we are and what we stand for, what people can expect from us as an organisation and the standards to which we will each hold ourselves and our colleagues.

Over the years we’ve had a few statements of values or principles. But they had become a bit disconnected and inconsistent. We really wanted to tackle that now because we’ve some pretty big ambitions to continue growing philanthropy to better serve our communities, and to award even more in grants. Our ability to do so will depend on how well we work together and with others, and how well we communicate shared goals.

We knew that lots of organisations had values which were really just basic standards that could be expected of anyone. Or they had a CEO or Board’s list of aspirations which were really an expression of how they’d like their organisation to be, rather than how they really were. We wanted our values to be a genuine reflection of who we are now. So, we worked as a team exploring what values mean to us and how we might describe them. We formed a task group from all sections of the Foundation who refined our thinking further. We challenged each other about whether we were coming up with genuine values, or just aspirations. We also looked at values which were important to us, but where we needed further action to ensure they were lived by all.

You can see the values we’ve come up with set out here. But just as importantly as saying what they are, we are committing to actions to make sure our values are genuinely lived by everyone, all the time. One area to address is diversity and inclusion. We are a very white organisation. And, while we support lots of grassroots groups working with people from black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds, we can do more to talk about race equality and to engage with people from diverse communities. That includes really listening to those who have lived experience of race inequality and racism. And we need to look at the accessibility of our services to people and groups from all sorts of communities and backgrounds.

During the year ahead you’ll see more from us on diversity and inclusion alongside our other areas of focus. And by talking about these things as our values, we hope you’ll hold us to account for them.

[1] Patrick M. Lencioni ‘Make your values mean something’ in Harvard Business Review, July 2002

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