Vision & Values

AJ Crabill described wonderfully the purpose of a school board is to represent the vision and value of a community, so that the professional educators can then know how to focus on the student outcomes based on that vision and values. I think these principles are applicable to many of our organizations, and the servant leadership characteristic of listening is so vital to this. I love photography and it is easy for me to survey a scene I want to take a picture of and communicate a deep thought or emotion through a snapshot, but that image might have a completely different meaning to someone else. If we don’t take the time to understand the values of the people in the communities that influence our organizations, we will never harness the fullest potential of our teams. We can have have the most amazing vision statement ever written, but if it doesn’t speak to the vision and values of the team members, it is completely meaningless.

It is helpful to move beyond superficial understandings and really listen to those around us to gain a better appreciation for who they are and what is important to them. That is where we can develop a better vision and reframe our mindset to unlock the knowledge and skills of the entire team like AJ teaches us throughout the episode. If you missed it, listen on the link at the end of the post. The image above represents something inherent in my vision, but what was that photographer running off to to capture about their vision? How can I tap into their vision to enhance my vision? The more we understand each others vision and values the more we limit division in our communities and the more we are prepared to represent the full vision and values of our organizational community. You might even notice that the words vision and values are not in the reflection in the water, why is that? There are a few reasons, one is because I wanted to send a message that we have to work to get other people’s vision and values to reflect back through us and our organizations.

AJ illustrated a great example, that is also highlighted in his newly released book, about how he had a community member approach him in one of his many roles to request a stop sign. He could have done the easy thing and just found a way to give this person their stop sign and often that is what gives us the most recognition – finding ways to give people what they want, but as AJ pointed out, this is often not was is the best for our organizations and can even lead to unhealthy behavior. Instead AJ dug deeper and asked questions to discover the value behind the issue which in this case was safety for the kids in the neighborhood. The best way to address this value ended up being speed bumps and this help spread the results to more people than just one stop sign. As you might imagine, the lady who wanted her stop sign wasn’t completely satisfied. We often have to make hard decisions as leaders to represent the values of our organizations, but in order to do that more holistically, we have to ask better questions that help us transcend individual issues, and help us move past our own need for self-serving recognition.

For even more great insights, listen to the full episode on embedded Pocket Casts player or on Google Podcasts at

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