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We are NDSU Extension: Core Values (5/26/2015)

Moving on to consistency and the roles of core values, agreement, coordination and integration

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts to highlight key information about our Extension organization’s culture. As stated during the first couple of blog posts, “An organization’s culture is the beliefs, values, and behaviors that a group has adopted over time as a way to survive and succeed. Simply put, ‘culture is the way things are done around here.’ (Denison Consulting).”

The first three blog posts shared information about our vision, strategic direction and intent, goals and objectives and how they all relate to the mission of our organization.

This fourth blog post transitions to the role that consistency plays related to our organizational culture.  According to Denison’s model, “Consistency provides a central source of integration, coordination and control, and helps organizations develop a set of systems that create an internal system of governance based on consensual support.”  The model helps us ask ourselves if we have the values, systems and processes in place to execute our mission.

The indexes of core values, agreement and coordination make up this section of the model, and we’ll start with core values in this post.

Our consistency (and stability) as an organization is influenced by having a set of core values that help us, employees and leaders, make consistent decisions and act consistently over time. These core values give us our sense of identity and help us work within a clear set of expectations. These expectations are to be modeled by leadership and reinforce how we carry out our mission. Our values give us our strong sense of identity, don’t change over time and serve as a basis for what we ‘live and breathe’ in all of our activities.

They influence both the external and internal focus of our organization. They drive our work internally by how we structure ourselves, relate with each other, communicate, determine policies, and train and recognize staff. Externally they are seen by how we interact with our public through the educational programming and activities we carry out. Our core values can be stated in a number of ways but for the purpose of this blog post are summarized as:

  • We value lifelong learning for those we serve and ourselves. 
  • We value being a grass roots organization.  
  • We value citizen engagement.
  • We value teamwork and partnerships.  
  • We value all people.

Next up: Agreement and the role it plays in consistency

Brad Cogdill, Chair, Center for 4-H Youth Development

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