To launch LandAid’s refreshed organisational values, our CEO, Paul Morrish, discusses the thought process and principles which have led to our new values, and how we will use these to help us achieve our mission to end youth homelessness.
Leadership coach, Fiorenza Rossini describes our core values as ‘our North Star. Our guiding light to excellence.’ She explains that our values should ‘represent what’s most important to us…principles that we adhere to in life. They’re intrinsic to who we are and are as unique as our fingerprints.’
For me, our values are what stoke the fire in our bellies. They are the fuel that burns our desire to achieve our mission. They motivate us, inspire us, guide us, and give us a shared sense of responsibility as to how we can best reach our goals.
Our approach to defining what LandAid’s values are – putting words to those core beliefs and behaviours which enable us in our mission to end youth homelessness – has been an exercise in holding up a mirror to ourselves. We look to determine the principles which guide our actions, the aspirations we have for how we could deliver better outcomes, and the core qualities we prioritise in the recruitment of our team.
In our 35 year history, LandAid has developed and lived by an evolving set of core values. As CEO for the last 7 of those, it has been a privilege to see the charity demonstrate these values as it, too, has evolved and grown, and refined its mission and vision.
And now – with a new strategy, an expanded team, and a refreshed Board of Trustees – feels like the right time to evolve our values further, to reflect again on what drives us, gets us out of bed and keeps the fire burning.
As Patrick M. Lencioni writes in the Harvard Business Review: ‘A good values program is like a fine wine; it’s never rushed.’ Just like a fine wine, it should be shared, not kept for an exclusive few!
Refreshing our values hasn’t been a wholly democratic process, however. Strategic leadership is key. Our refresh process was led by former Interim Head of Communications & Engagement, Simon Hughes, in collaboration with LandAid Board Member, Anna Stewart, and in consultation with other Board members, and our Leadership Team. All the while, we ensured the wider team’s valuable input was included and considered. It is, after all, the team who will be living the values and whose work will be judged by them.
We started out with a strong set of existing values, and some of these still remain, but crucial for me was the need to ensure that, whatever our values are, that they energise us. Rather than simply naming the ideal behaviours and beliefs we want to demonstrate, we want to express our values in terms of who we are, and how we will actively apply them.
This led us to go one step further and extend each of our new values with statements that clearly explain how the values will be lived, and how they will help us all achieve our mission.
Our final set of refreshed LandAid core values are something I am proud of, and something which all of the team here are now fully committed to using as their guiding light in our collective drive for excellence:
We are bold in the goals we set ourselves and the impact we seek
We endeavour to inspire those with whom we work
We recognise and celebrate achievement in pursuit of our mission
We are open, honest and trustworthy
We hold ourselves accountable for what we do
We build lasting and effective partnerships
We persevere in the face of challenge
We demand the best of ourselves, our supporters and our industry
We bring courage and determination to the tasks we face
We respect, listen to, and learn from everybody we work with
We bring empathy and kindness to everything we do
We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion
We champion innovation, fresh thinking, and new ideas
We are agile and flexible in our approach
We keep an eye on the future as well as the here and now
As Lencioni goes on to say: ‘If they’re going to really take hold in your organization, your core values need to be integrated into every employee-related process.’
We have already added our refreshed values to recruitment packs going out to potential new members of the LandAid team. From this very first step, and all through the recruitment process, we want those joining us to understand the principles we live by, and the expectations we have on ourselves for how we work.
Once part of the team, our staff are now asked to reflect upon their own work in terms of our values – how they have demonstrated them as they have worked to achieve their personal objectives. We will also celebrate and recognise our team, as they live out our values.
And as we develop our engagement with partners in our industry, and the charities we seek to serve, we will continue to challenge ourselves, stay accountable, and keep the fire in our bellies well stoked!