As another year is coming to a close, I would like to ask you, “Have you been a good role model for your vision? Steven Covey’s website contains an inspiring quote, ”Sometimes people find themselves achieving victories that are empty—successes that have come at the expense of things that were far more valuable to them.” As an organization or as a person, do you find yourself contemplating your successes and whether or not you achieved them in alignment with your values? If that’s the case, it may be a good idea to practice the second habit that Dr. Covey proposed in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “begin with the end in mind.”

To me, beginning with the end in mind, means that once the vision is established—the ideal situation that we all work hard at achieving in our communities—we need to determine what vehicle we’ll use to get there. I’m not talking about governance, strategic planning, or operational implementation. I’m talking about defining our values. Only after that, policy making, planning, and execution can follow.

The reason why examining our values is so critical to our work as community leaders is because values are the principles that guide our every thought, our every decision, and our every action, and they determine the impact our work has on the people we serve and the community at large. When our activities are in sync with our values, we demonstrate integrity, and people take notice. This creates an exemplary effect, resulting in learning circles that emerge from everywhere and interweave to become the fabric of an inclusive community.

On the other hand, people also take notice when behaviours are incongruent with published values, even when these occurrences are seldom.  Naturally, people will remember the slipups more than the abundant efforts of the leader to make a difference. Once that happens, we all know how very difficult it is to overcome the negative perceptions.

The responsibility, to start with the end in mind, rests at the governance and leadership level of the organization. Leaders are accountable to establish organizational culture, and, in order to achieve this, they need to be guided by the right values. Therefore, I would encourage you to take a moment to reflect on your personal and organizational values at your next board meeting and discuss how these should be communicated to the people that work within, or receive services from, your organization. This is a worthwhile exercise to ensure that your values percolate throughout your work in the community and that your vision becomes a reality.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year,

Rich Gorman, Board Chair of UNITI

UNITI is the new umbrella name that integrates three affiliated non-profit organizations that have existed for decades:

Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community. 

The Semiahmoo Foundation exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.

Peninsula Estates Housing Society provides affordable and inclusive rental housing that reflects the diversity of our community.

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