Can I be frank about something?
The way that we typically do core values is pretty useless.
You know what I'm talking about -- the long, drawn out core values exercises that result in the list of core values like "honesty" and "life-long learning" printed on posters and taped to the walls.
Total. Waste. Of. Time.
Because core values are not some aspirational list of bland values. They are the non-negotiables of your classroom, your school, your district, and your organization.
That means that if "life long learning" is on the poster but you are not teaching children to think for themselves and the adults in the building are doing more grousing than growing, it isn't a core value.
If you're not willing to remove someone who repeatedly violates it, it isn't a core value.
If you're not filtering all the major decisions in your organization through it, it isn't a core value.
If I can't see them reflected in your policies, master schedule, hiring practices, or the way that you serve students and treat adults, it isn't a core value.
If you are unwilling to take a political or financial hit over it, it isn't a core value.
You see, core values aren't aspirational; they must live and breath in and throughout your culture.
So rather than sitting around and dreaming up core values, you would be better served taking a hard look at your culture and identify (and then dealing with) the core values that already exist.That way, you address the real culture of your organization, identify and fix the things that aren't working and better leverage the things that are so that you can best serve your students and your colleagues.
We did this a few years ago at Mindsteps and it radically improved the way that we operated internally and served our clients. Check out the video below to see what our core values are and how we've used our core values to not only enjoy our work more, but have far greater impact.
And now that I've shown you mine, show me yours. What are YOUR core values? Please share them below in the comments.
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