Core Values

The values that bind us together
Over the course of decades of starting or working in dozens of organizations, teams, movements and other social collectives, we've learned that a group's core values are perhaps the most important yet often least successful aspect of any organization. They are easy to write, but it's harder to identify which are truly the right ones for a given group and mission. They sound good on paper, but are difficult to keep selected for as a group grows. In short, at their best core values are the central pillar and binding coherence behind an organization's culture—and remember, culture eats strategy for breakfast. The hard part, however, is building the habits of mind, heart and behavior that reinforce the values and through which values become a self-replicating culture. All of which to say, we take these very seriously. We'll select our team members and our partners on our belief that they can join us in walking the talk on these. And, if we've got some of these wrong or we're missing some emphasis, we'll adapt as we go.
  1. 1.
    Humble service. Everything we do is in a spirit of learning, experimentation, even playfulness. The issues we want to support are serious and complicated, and we assume—truly—that our work, observations or insights into a given issue are not special or new to the people in the trenches of those domains until their value is proven. We show up with two open ears and hands.
  2. 2.
    Courage. Hard things are hard. Most of the easy stuff is being done already, like the technical problems that industry tries to solve with technology, new invention or simple policy changes. The real hard problems are adaptive, which are problems that are generated largely because people are involved to begin with. They require serious courage and positive, resourceful people to take them on; timelines are long, resources are limited, results are ambiguous, and the environments tricky. But the people who do this work must do this work; they know life is short and working on deep, important challenges is what makes it worthwhile.
  3. 3.
    Fearless collaboration. We can't do this alone. One of the biggest tests of our success will be whether we can give our individual and institutional collaborators the safety to transition to a sense of shared ownership. Our work must be a group effort where we all feel a sense of ownership for the extreme degree of cross-boundary collaboration success will require. We'll be blunt: in a larger frame, this is a test of whether Integrative Metatheory communities are up to the challenge of walking the talk for which they criticize other, more conventional groups.
  4. 4.
    Generative love. Most importantly, everything we do is centered in love. Love for this precious life, love for each other, love for the opportunity to do interesting work, love for our amazing planet. Everyone involved in this community should feel how love drives what we do.