October 18th World Values Day what a wonderful day to be dedicated to values. Of course, values need to be part of every minute of every moment of our lives but to me having a day that is set as World Values Day is really special!
All around the world healthy communities provide us with support and nurture, but they need the glue of values to hold them together – Charles Fowler
As one of the co-ordinators of World Values day Charles Fowler (member of UK values Alliance and Chair of the Human values Foundation) suggests it is a perfect day to put your values into action. I have taken this challenge and decided to publicly share my values especially as I have always wanted my values to be legendary in both their impact and meaning.
So, the following are my values and although in no particular order collectively they happen to spell the word L.E.G.E.N.D!
Loyalty is my first value which to me is much about commitment and always being sure to follow through on what I have promised or agreed. I see this value as being most important to any communal effort I am involved in.
Empathy is the next value and for me I expanded this value to mean empathy towards yourself and others. It is a little like the oxygen mask on the plane message. You must first look after yourself to be able to look after others. Empathy is much about nurturing a giving and abundant mindset which is of prime importance to be 21st century ready and fit for purpose.
Generosity as my next value expands the abundance mindset. To enable generosity, it is important to be led by a radical sense of inclusion. By inclusion I mean embracing differences specially to find the right give or take for the betterment of the whole (I call this finding the Balance Point).
My next value equality has quite a broad spectrum. Equality calls for a radical sense of self-reliance to be able to accept the differences of others from a welcoming standpoint rather than one of ‘they must change’. My work on the Balance Point expands how equality is grounded within the ecosystem. For example, activities that come purely from a prominence of economic growth result in further entrenched inequalities.
New and being innovative describes my second to last value. This is the value that enables my self expression with originality. When combined with purpose this value becomes a gift to be given. I know of many of my peers who are also adding their purpose to the world and it is wonderful to see. However described this is the space that when you are in it you have no concept of time or place – it fits just like a glove and a new glove at that.
My final value is decency and I believe decency is a value with benefit outcomes to the whole. Finding a ‘win win’ or point of common interest is how I try to base my decisions and actions upon. Decency is akin to integrity and for me a civic responsibility. By maintaining my integrity, to the best of my abilities, I can ensure I add value and support a social licence across all sectors I have contact with.
World values day is a great day to expand the concept of social licence and most recently in ‘the Brief’ (October Boss magazine) an article explored better citizens and what it meant to have a social licence to operate.
The article had adopted the Ethics centre definition of a social licence:
The informal acceptance granted to an individual or organisation by a local community
With much of my research being around relationship tensions I was most interested to read the key tension in this article. The tension was highlighted around having a social licence but at the end of a reporting period demands shifted and were replaced with the need to ‘sell more’ at all costs. The phrase social licence is something which has been a part of the majority of my career. Interestingly it has only recently become a (possible) requirement for companies to hold ‘a social licence to operate’. This is currently being considered to be part of the changes to the ASX corporate Governance Principles. I am in total agreement with Geoff Martin (associate professor at Melbourne School) who argues that:
‘The vast majority of businesses are a long way from understanding their social licence to operate. Most executives are only just beginning to delve into it.
The fact that the action of social licence is debatable and still not decided whether to be included in the ASX review for me is an alarming signal that at the highest level it is not understood.
In addition, social licence is much more than a risk management issue unless the meaning of risk is the heightened risk that there is not a social licence!
I agree with some of the sentiments of the Boss article including that consumers needs don’t shift and most importantly the needs for values has not become any less. Maybe there is an argument that with this faster paced world and times of uncertainty values having a social licence is needed even more.
As Chris Saunders (co-founder of business adviser to The Future Laboratory) proposed:
We no longer expect brands and corporates to behave in a way that demonstrates good corporate governance. The expectation is that brands are hidings something from us
On this day of values my final ‘value add’ especially to the thoughts around social licence provide an addition to the conclusion by Jill Klein (leadership and consumer behaviour specialist Melbourne Business School) – who advocated the resolution to be set within ‘measure measure and measure again. I advocate that without clarity of purpose measurement can actually work against the task in hand causing further entrenched silos.
Measurement without purpose is futile -DrJMT 2017
On the other hand, measurement based on purpose will bring the right results. To guide such action having a social licence that upholds the purpose (especially one that is aligned with the United Nations Sustainability Goals) is a great way to maintain values – the two go hand in hand.
I conclude with a pledge – I pledge to continue living my values as a ‘legend’ for my life and know that as individuals we can collectively make a difference. As communities and organisations serving those communities through social licences and shared values we can make a collective difference.
In honouring the words of Fowler ……wherever you are, let’s join together in thought, word and deed on World Values day