I was fortune to work for the firm Overland Partners | Architects for six years, and have subsequently worked as a consultant to them on a number of projects. One of the things I appreciate most about the way they run their practice is their willingness to share the set of core values that guide their work. These serve as references points for communication, for decision-making and for performance review. Realizing just how useful this can be, I developed the following list for Zapalac Advisors. The first three values come directly from the Overland Partners list, but are described in my own words. The remaining draw inspiration from the Overland Partners list as well as a number of different sources
TAKE JOY IN THE JOURNEY. “Chose joy in all that you do. You will bring enjoyment to those around you and your attitude will be contagious. Delight in even the smallest victories, look for the best in everyone and everything, and take comfort in times of distress.” (edit)
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS THAT LAST. “We are committed to developing long-term relationships with staff, clients and other team members. These relationships will last beyond our period of working together.”
EXCELLENCE VS. PERFECTION. “Our goal is to provide excellent service and products to our clients. That is what we are paid for and on which much of our reputation depends. Learn to recognize when you have achieved excellence and when are you are moving towards the unattainable at great cost to the firm and yourself.” (Satisfycing.)
TACKLE WICKED PROBLEMS. (Horst and Webber) Social problems are complex and this mean it takes time and effort to understand them. Engage deeply.
SEEK AUTHENTICITY. Share your goals ... and fears. Be authentic and vulnerable. Allow other people to do the same. (Brene)
STRIVE FOR SIMPLICTY. (Occam’s) Refine for simplicity.
GSD: Get Stuff Done. For most decisions, you will never have all the information. Do not let this paralyze you. Make the best decision you can and plan to adjust as more information is revealed.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE ANOTHER PERSON'S CREATIVE POTENTIAL. The most important resources on any project are people. Find ways to tap individual creative potential and recognize it as part of the collective intelligence available to a project.
BE IN A LEARNING STATE. Each project provides unique opportunities for learning. Look for compelling ideas from any and all places and people. Prototype when possible. Ask for feedback (utilize short feedback loops) and reflect on outcomes. Apply what is learned as you going forward in a project.
PROCESS IS AS IMPORTANT AS PRODUCT. Foster relationships among stakeholders from day one of a project. The role of the consultant is a mere blip compared to the ongoing efforts of stakeholders. Take the long view.