Valuing Values

I love our values statement. Most people probably pass by the framed copy in each office, or the page on our website, without pausing to think much about it. I get it – most companies seem to have pulled their values statement off a motivational poster in a dentist’s office.

But at FSG it’s different. Four years ago the whole company (all 30 of us) sat down to talk about what we valued and how we wanted to communicate it. I hear people reference the resulting statements in conversation about clients and intellectual capital development and the way we work together. Just last week, at our 2012 retreat in Boston, we sat down to focus on them again – how do we convey the depth of thinking behind each statement and the ways we apply them day-to-day to the newest people at FSG? As we grow (we’re 100 people strong now and hired as many people in 2011 as were at that retreat in 2007) it’s increasingly important, and difficult, to pass that knowledge along.

Here’s how we made progress while we were together in January:

Commitment to Impact – We cover a lot of material in our offsite: professional development, business planning, social bonding, etc. The moments that got the most applause, the most discussion and even the occasional tear, were the stories of impact. FSGers sharing how they saw their work change lives for the better. 

Trust and Collaboration – We invested in a workstyles assessment for the entire company to help improve the way we work together. It takes deep trust for those conversations to be fruitful, and they were. 

Authentic Engagement – My personal favorite. This is FSG through and through. In a retreat setting it means everyone is participating fully and energetically engaged (see the picture below of our table competing with others to build a block tower. Samere is authentically engaged in placing her block!) We listen actively, question rigorously, and encourage enthusiastically when we are together.

Innovative Problem-Solving – Thanks to our Commitment to Impact, we have established an ambitious set of goals to achieve in 2012. We used role-based breakouts to do some problem-solving around how we plan to support those goals, and each other, in 2012.

Vitality in our Work – Reconnecting around our common passion is invigorating. And in our enthusiasm we: pushed back tables for an informal after dinner dance party at a local restaurant, had a mustache flash mob (photo attached), and held an epic tournament of “Bear, Ninja, Hunter” during a break.

I'd be curious to hear how others have seen the FSG values in action – either at our retreat or elsewhere.  

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