Embedding Team Values

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Culture: People First


Vantage Point is often engaged to facilitate board and staff team efforts to develop organizational or team values. We deeply believe in the impact that clear and aligned values have on driving high performing teams, ultimately generating more mission impact. Though the creation of shared team values is essential, an equally important next step is to determine how to effectively "implement" or "embed" the values across the team or organization.

When the Vantage Point staff faced this very challenge, I did some research on our staff Pro-D Day and came across lots of interesting ways to strengthen team alignment to values. One of those ideas was to ask all team members to consider which value they are most proud of, and why. So I did. Here's what team members had to say!

Shemin: The team value that has touched my heart is that of Abundance. After an extended absence from the work force for raising my children, I returned to work. It was an exciting time for me but, honestly, I was also very nervous. I had limited technology skills and struggled to adjust but my team was patient and answered all my never-ending questions! Through their encouragmenet, I developed new skills, had the courage to take on challenges, and ask for support when needed. I am still learning new things and have the comfort to know that my questions will always be answered! I am fortunate to be part of the Vantage Point team - it is truly Abundant!!

Nav: Collaboration is the team value of ours that I am the proudest of. I am a firm believer in the possibilities of collaboration and the magic that comes out of using everyone's strengths and skills to make a project go from good to amazing! We're pretty good at collaboration here at Vantage Point through our entire team of staff, board, and knowledge philanthropists and have been able to tackle some ground-braking work along the way.

Amanda: I am most proud of our team value of Curiosity because I love to continuously learn, grow, and improve to be the best possible.

Shagun: It is our team value of Abundance that I cherish and appreciate the most. It not only resonates what I personally believe in but flows through our work ethics and organizational values. Being an eternal optimist, I always see the glass half full, focus on the strengths rather than weaknesses and feel the more I give the more I receive. This spirit of abundance as exhibited everyday in small and big ways by my team and our Knowledge Philanthropists humbles me and makes me feel so fortunate to be working with these generous brains and hearts!

Joyce: As a newbie, I am most proud of recently joining this team that values Abundance and puts it into practice. I have only ever worked in the not-for-profit secotr, where abundance is commonly acknowledged in the ability to do a lot with very little, but also commonly forgotten when there is a hyper-focus on the "very little" part. I'm grateful that our team celebrates the "a lot" part everyday, even - and especially - when it may be "a lot" of challenges, risks, and experimenting. We are not just a safe space, but a courageous space where the spirit of abundance encourages us to be generous, boldly own, and share our experience no matter the result.

Kathleen: I'm most proud of our value of Collaboration. Each person brings different expertise and perspectives to a project, and by working together we create a product that is better than any one of us could create independently. Plus, the frequent collaboration quenches my thirst to learn.

Rowan: One Vantage Point value I love (if I were to choose just one) is Curiosity, because I am a firm believer in making learning a habit. Approaching life with an open mind and listening as well as asking questions before coming to conclusions is a personal value I do my best to strive for - despite not always executing at 100%. Every question we don't know the answer to is an opportunity for growth!

Alison: For me its Collaboration, (though I am enthusiastic about them all!) because everything is better with a partner. We all have things we can do on our own, but it is through collaboration that the beautiful things happen - babies, music, picnics, change. And to me collaboration is about mutual respect, celbrating differences, learning new things and building on strengths (aka adaptability, abundance, curiosity, and fun!)

Niasha: I am most fond of our team value of Curiosity. There is always space to share knowledge and excitement about our work or personal interests. Whether on Slack or at our lunch gatherings, team members are always open to listening and engaging in conversation about whatever topic is presented.

Lisa: The value that I am most proud of it Abundance. The power of abundant language can't be overstated, it is truly transformative, with such little effort. We have mugs at home that say, "this cup is half full," and I love reading that while drinking my morning coffee. It also provides me and my family with a - not so - subtle reminder that we always have a choice about how we look at situations, relationships, work, and life in general. Only we can determine what our perspective will be. It is powerful to have this value supported in my workplace. This ensures we support each other to make the choice to strive for abundance, in language and attitude. One of the faves is: rather than "Sorry for the delayed response" say "Thanks for your patience." See, don't you feel better already?

Miranda: It's hard to pick one value as they work together so well! The one that stands out for me, though, is Collaboration. My best weeks at Vantage Point are when I get to work with team members to solve a problem or support a larger project. WHen we're in collaboration mode, we're in it together.

I get the final say: I am most proud of our team value of Fun, because it aligns so closely to my own personal values. Both outside and in the office, I try not to take life too seriously to find joy and laughter at every turn. I adore sharing happy - and often silly - moments with the team here at Vantage Point, including sharing our favourite shows, laughing at the skills we don't all necessarily share (specifically, the ability to draw in my case!), and giggling or sitting awestruck at the photos of one-another's moments outside the office.

Which organizational team value do you value, and why? Consider sharing the answer with your colleagues, fellow board members, or your community this Thanksgiving.

About the Author

Maria Turnbull brings over 20 years of leadership experience in staff and director roles within the not-for-profit sector, both here in Canada and in the UK. With a BA in International Relations and MBA, Maria is a skilled facilitator and consultant in board governance, organizational development,...
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