Values Lead to Decades of Kindness
As I wrote at the beginning of 2019, “Choose Kind” remains front and center to every interaction and every thought in our day-to-day lives at Foundant. As we step into 2020, if we focus on applying kindness one day at a time, we can achieve a decade of kindness (approximately 3,652 days). This is an opportunity to kick start a 10-year stretch on the best note possible. To some, 10 years may seem like a tall order, but should it when we’re talking about how we interact with those around us? Keep it simple, take it one day at a time and one interaction at a time. Know that every time you show kindness, you are leading others to follow.
That said, some days are hard and life isn’t perfect. Sometimes we have to work hard to exude outward kindness. As I talked about last year, this is one reason I feel so proud to work for a company like Foundant and to be surrounded by the philanthropic sector. I feel like these environments, more than most, help support and remind all of us to take that extra step for kindness.
One thing that reminds me to Choose Kind is Foundant’s Values. Having, believing in, and following a set of values aligns team members to similar principles that in turn help guide our culture. I attended a session at a philanthropy conference in the Fall of 2019 where we engaged in discussions about establishing values and evaluating whether you’re holding true to those values and what that means for your organization. It was the perfect moment to think about Foundant’s Values and how those shape who we are and how we project that outside of our company.
- Do the right thing
- Do what we say
- Have fun
- Exceptional productivity
- Enrich the philanthropic community
- Commitment to continual improvement
These values were set at the inception of Foundant back in 2007 and they are our guiding principles when working with clients, partners, and one another. But values only hold true if they are kept top of mind and given transparency across the organization. Enter Foundant’s Cheers for Peers (or, C4P) program. My colleague, Suzie Boyer, describes this program here:
This recognition practice has been adopted across our company and is embedded in our culture. Putting a system in place took it to the next level, but the people are the driving force. Everyone… from President to Intern… takes it upon themselves to give one another the recognition that ties our growing team together. Check out just a few of our C4P shoutouts here:
Kelly Bryan was recognized for Exceptional Productivity by Taylor Garrity
Margaret Owen Spiak was recognized for Commit to Continual Improvement by Heather Fust
Alyse Braaten, Nick Combs, and Daric Wickstrom were recognized for Do The Right Thing by Sammie Holzwarth
Alli Hansen was recognized for Do The Right Thing by Elizabeth Gilje
Aaron Spevacek was recognized for Enrich the Philanthropic Community by Dana Berggren
Marius Dereskevicius and Weston Paul were recognized for Have Fun by Elizabeth Gilje
Kase Cannon was recognized for Do What We Say by Sammie Holzwarth
Values can help you stay grounded and focused and provide a launching point for decisions and engagement with others. They go hand-in-hand with general kindness and provide us with a framework of how we want to work and live together. The start of this new decade is a perfect time to establish values, set goals, and live a life of kindness. We can each influence, and ideally change the world, one interaction at a time. How else can we make a difference if we don’t start today?