Moving an organization to a place where we can talk meaningfully about our mission and values
Moving an organization to a place where we can talk meaningfully about our mission and values - Amanda
- G: Consultant works on this and leads board retreats on defining missions to reflect what you do, and helping orgs re-define their misson to reflect the work they want to do.
- P: On a personal level, rethinking design process to focus on issues over products and trying to navigate entering into politics as an org that doesn't usually.
- B1: what is meaningful and how does it stick? How does this question exist in transitional moments? Felts like a forced structure but also feels important. Went through a process this summer to write personal mission/values and use that to asses projects
- B2: At an organization providing tech support, born of urgency to help. Growing now and maturing and starting to think about looking forward and planning. We touch this once a year in a retreat but it should be an iterative conversation?
- AH: part of a 30 yr old member org that's been through various iterations; moving from annual retreat to quarterly retreats where these conversations tended to happen; how being in leadership role can help....how being reactive
- AT: non profit work for the first time; internal group was reviewing a policy handbook and assessing organizatonal culture questions. NVC -- non violent communications ; what can we bring to the conversation to bring culture shift, bring content in line with our practices
1. how personal values/mission processes might connect to organizations/projects mi ssion/values
- Public Narrative workshop; interesting virtual pedagogy. asking questions around building a story and then workshopping it in 1-on-1 peer review.
- Story behind the values; story behind the mission as a tool to play with creating a values statement for yourself.
- Parable of the Sower podcast "Octavia's Parables" https://anchor.fm/oparables/: nuance about who are your friends vs who are your people. Knowing the difference (your people are a lot closer to you)
- Ordering statements/lists of values words-- establishing those as goals and guiding words.
- Storytelling gives power.
Example of writing prompts:
- What are the critical choice points of your life?
- What decisions did you make at these points?
- What do they say about your values?
- What did you learn about yourself, your peers, your nation, your family – about what matters to you?
2: Tools we can use --
- Look at impact (what have we already accomplished)
- A good mission statement is always a little bit out of reach.
- "In 2020 we had these constraints, and can we measure the efficacy of what we've done."
- SWOT: Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (Adding Needs and Challenges as nuance)
- Capacity, funding might fit in S&W
- Threats can be funding going away; power plays between or w/in orgs and on boards
- Needs might be people/money/constituents
- Challenges are harder to overcome.
3: Every year we have a conversation about mission and values and we always think we have to base that on our current capacity. But with new opportunity to expand that capacity aiming to grow intentionally.
4: Systems Thinking: when we look at how we want/need to move forward we look at the team we have now. Small teams can move on a dime. Larger teams can do more but communication becomes really important.
A mission that is too complex might need to be simplified to have more flexibility about how you function.
Sometimes a "values" statement needs to become a standards statement. If DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) is a value, what does that look like as a standard?
"What we believe" as an anchoring framework.
How do you use values in your work; what comes after a "code of conduct"?
- How do you make sure your values are more than an astract metaphor?
Data Feminism: book rec. (And an interesting note: they say in that book we have a value of intersectional feminism and so we're doing a review of our citations and self-assessing in the appendix.)https://data-feminism.mitpress.mit.edu/ "Auditing Data Feminism, by Isabel Carter" //data-feminism.mitpress.mit.edu/pub/bnj9lf2u/release/1
Values and standards as a rudder: if we don't hold onto that rudder, why are we doing what we're doing?
Coaching speakers and speakers meeting our values as a piece that some of us are navigating.
Is what you're trying to do with a mission statement internal, external or transformative? That process can be cathartic, but it's often an internal process. What does that result mean externally?
Q: Do you know groups who have had that porous conversation to build shared values together (in collaboration with members / a community)? And have you ever witnessed a corporate branding process? Playing with how that's different.
- do you hear from members (i lost my thought there)
- are you moving the people you want to move?
- accountability as values building for an organization?
- orgs come together on shared wordsmithing of values statements: how do you make that meaningful?
- There are always going to be some people doing the work and some people less so