Values I Can Get Behind

Since late in 2012 I have been doing some work with Crossroads Rhode Island. They are a large multi-service organization in Providence offering a wide range of services to meet a plethora of needs within one organization. From showers for people living rough through to housing, they have it covered.

However, I am writing this blog not to outline Crossroads’ services, or to talk about the work I have had the privilege of doing with the organization. (Though I do like the organization quite a bit and could easily brag about them.) Nope – what I want to talk about are the three values that they use to drive their organization. There is something radically awesome about the power and simplicity of the three values they have:

Safety – promoting an environment free from physical and emotional harm and ensuring a feeling of security and comfort to all.

Respect – acknowledging the intrinsic worth of every person.

Effectiveness – delivering services and managing the organization with efficiency, professionalism, innovation, and accountability.

(To be clear, the organization developed these values completely independent of OrgCode.)

I am especially enamored with Effectiveness as a value for an organization. To me, if an organization values Effectiveness it means they believe in doing things that are proven to work rather than relying on what “feels right”. When the value of Effectiveness is put into practice, it means that trying hard or meaning well is insufficient.

As an employer, when Effectiveness is a value I think it says to the staff team that there is a willingness to help ensure they are successful at their jobs. If this means exposure to new ideas or more training, then this has to happen. You can’t say you want to be effective and then figure everyone will figure out on her/his own how to be effective. I love how professionalism is explicitly stated as part of Effectiveness.

I appreciate that Effectiveness, as it is valued within Crossroads Rhode Island, encompasses both service delivery and management. I can think of too many examples where this type of value was out of whack between service staff on the frontlines and those a step removed from service users. What this says to me is that Effectiveness is the responsibility of the entire organization.

The last thing that I love about Effectiveness as a value is that putting this into practice increases accountability. I don’t see how one can claim to be effective without there being measures of efforts in delivering services, and preferably a measurement against a standard or expectation. Measures open up the opportunity for accountability. And for which people does this accountability matter? End users of services are the most important in my books. But peers on the staff team, the organization as a whole, peer organizations in your community, and funders also come to mind.

Does your organization or community take Effectiveness serious enough to make it one of your core values? Worth considering, ain’t it?

About Iain De Jong

Leader. Edutainer. Coach. Consultant. Professor. Researcher. Blogger. Do-gooder. Potty mouth. Positive disruptor. Relentless advocate for social justice. Comedian. Dad. Minimalist. Recovering musician. Canadian citizen. International jetsetter. Living life in jeans and a t-shirt. Trying really hard to end homelessness in developed countries around the world, expand harm reduction practices, make housing happen, and reform the justice system. Driven by change, fuelled by passion. Winner of a shit ton of prestigious awards, none of which matter unless change happens in how we think about vulnerability, marginality, and inclusion.

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