It’s a mission we take seriously, without taking ourselves too seriously.
That mission means that we must have a high-quality team of teachers that are dedicated to each child and their cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development. To ensure that we’re able to hire, train, and retain that team, we’re evolving into a values-based organization.
In their outstanding book, The Leadership Challenge, Kouzes and Posner state that clarifying shared values is one of the most important tasks of leaders. Over the past few months, we’ve clarified our core company values with significant input from our entire team.
Core Company Values are different than our personal values. Our personal values reflect what we stand for as a person and have been influenced by many factors: our upbringing, family, community, education, spiritual beliefs, and a host of other experiences and influences throughout our life.
At Brookshire Learning Center, we absolutely want our teachers and staff to bring their whole selves to work. That includes their personal values and the courage to speak up about them. Diversity of thought makes us stronger.
All our team members share some personal values: the importance of education, the impact it makes on children, their families, and our community, a love of children, and a growth mindset. Without those personal values, there’s no need to apply for a career with Brookshire Learning Center.
Core Company Values are the fundamental shared beliefs that our business and its behavior are based upon. They are the guiding principles that we use to manage our internal affairs such as the way we communicate with each other, the behaviors we expect from team members, and the way we communicate and partner with parents.
The Process for Defining our Core Values
We identified our Core Company Values through a series of meetings using approaches learned at the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, the Center for Positive Organizations, and the study and application of Appreciative Inquiry.
Our company was founded in 1970 and has been in continuous operation since then with a strong culture and tradition of excellence. As we clarified our core company values, we asked two questions of our team.
- How have we behaved when we’ve been at our best in the past?
- What are those values that we believe are necessary to fulfill our mission in the future?
In short, we uncovered the core values that we’ve believed in, strived to live up to when we’ve been at our best, and aspire to demonstrate going forward.
The values that we identified and agreed on are not suggestions but expectations for our behavior. It is important to note that none of us are perfect and perfection will never be expected from anyone.
We do expect ourselves to strive to live up to the Core Company Values while we are at work because we believe that these values will help us create centers of excellence where children and teachers thrive.
We are already integrating our Core Company Values into everything we do and use them in many ways, including, but not limited to:
- Hiring Process
- New Hire Onboarding
- Ongoing Feedback and Team Development
Our Core Company Values
Brookshire Learning Center’s Core Company Values follow. The descriptions are not an all-inclusive list but a start that will evolve over time.
MISSION: We’re a learning center that helps busy parents care for their children and prepare them for kindergarten and a life of learning in a fun, safe environment.
We Value Human Connection
We believe that trust is the foundation of all relationships and therefore, we assume that all stakeholders have good intentions. We fully engage and connect with children, parents, and our colleagues to form strong relationships. We communicate in an open and effective manner- even when it is hard. We view conflict as an opportunity to strengthen our working relationships and results.
We Value Teamwork
We work together for the children, their families, and for each other to create centers of excellence. We work together because we each bring diverse talents and perspectives and together we are greater than any individual. We work together to help each other grow as educators, colleagues, and human beings. We work together because it is fun. We recognize, appreciate, and encourage each other. We’re all in it together.
We Value Integrity
We take personal accountability to do the right thing even when no one is looking. We don’t seek credit or praise for this behavior but because it is the right thing to do. We keep our word and do what we say we will do.
We Value Open Minds
We appreciate the tremendous diversity in the views of the parents we serve and do our best to always honor their goals and desires. We listen to what others have to say and give space to new ideas. We judge ideas by their merits, not where they came from. We approach our work with kindness and curiosity.
We Value Respect
We believe that each person has worth and should be treated as such. Each person is important. We give due regard to the feelings, rights, wishes, and culture of others. We are faithful to the absent- we don’t talk or gossip behind other’s backs.
We’d love to hear your comments on your personal values and core company values.
For more information on Values-Driven Organizations, Positive Organizations, and Appreciative Inquiry, please see:
If you’d like to learn more about Brookshire Learning Center or the process of how we identified our Core Company Values, please drop us a note here.