Thursday, March 20, 2014

Built to Last – the Value of Core Values

Our external environment is becoming more complex with forces like nanotechnology and drone technology abounding. This is shaping the economic future of our region, so the demands and expectations placed on MVCC by the community will increase accordingly. Couple those demands with the increasing influence of the Power of SUNY Strategic Plan and we run the risk of getting pulled in all directions without focus or clarity. As I spelled out in my previous blog, this calls for a more intentional strategic planning process. To support the process, I invite you to revisit the core values of what makes Mohawk Valley Community College the unique and dynamic organization that it’s been, is, and will continue to be.

Core values define how organizations will go about achieving their potential. They can motivate and unite an organization’s employees and stakeholders, and they serve to tether an organization during periods of ambiguity or accelerated change. As Jim Collins says in his book, Built to Last, “enduring great organizations preserve their core values and purpose while their…strategies and operating practices endlessly adapt to a changing world. This is the magical combination of preserve the core and stimulate progress.”

 Similarly, in his book, Good to Great, Collins states that there are no correct core values. Rather, the mere fact that an organization has a set of core values and knows what they mean sets them apart from organizations that do not have a clear understanding of their core values.

With this in mind, I announced at Convocation last August that we would be embarking on a process this year to revisit our Core Values at MVCC. I placed a call for interested faculty and staff who would like to serve on a Core Values Workgroup last month and received 35 responses. From that list, I invited 13 individuals to serve as a representative group to lead the process. Professor Ron Labuz agreed to serve as chair and the group has met to outline their approach. 

The Values Workgroup identified a number of constituents to survey and collect insights and perspective on what makes MVCC unique. During the remainder of the Spring semester, students, employees, retirees, and community partners will be asked to reflect on what is at the core of MVCC. The workgroup will define and amplify the responses into a statement of enduring values – a statement providing one, unifying point of connection among the many stories told about our organizational culture.

A meaningful statement of core values can serve as our safe harbor amid winds of change. These values can guide decision-making, influence our individual and collective actions, and shape our conversations and deliberations in ways that build on the best of what has made MVCC special through nearly seven decades of service to this community and more than 40,000 alumni.
If you want to have direct input at the front end of the process, please respond to the workgroup’s survey questions—and be prepared to participate and offer your reflections as the process moves forward.

If you have any comments or questions, please contact me directly at presblog@mvcc.edu.