SIDEBAR: Hints on Developing Core Values

by J. Melvyn Ming

  • Keep your list to five to seven core values, 10 at the most.
  • Core values should help you make 60 percent or more of your decisions at board and leadership meetings.
  • Make sure your core values are action oriented.
  • Every word produces a mental picture. Make sure the mental pictures match what you mean.
  • Every value stated has unstated implications. For instance, “Everything depends on prayer.” The unstated implication is “It does not depend on God or us.” Always check the implication of the reverse.
  • Watch for and generally eliminate absolute words: always, never, must, can’t.
  • Look for incompleteness. For instance, “We motivate people to use their gifts.” What about: develop, empower, and support?