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Brushing Your Teeth and the Values Challenge

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  • Picture of Charles Fowler FRSA
    Charles Fowler FRSA
    Raising awareness of the importance of values in all aspects of our lives and society.
  • Behaviour change
  • Fellowship
  • Leadership

“What does brushing your teeth for two minutes do for you? Absolutely nothing...unless you do it every single day.“ This is Simon Sinek, nailing the way our corporate cultures love to “fix” problems with intensive eye-catching actions.

Isn’t this exactly how so many organisations go about practising their values?  A quick fix, a blitz of activity and then…nothing. No follow through. 

Intensity is not enough. Practising our values is something we need to do every single day. Quick fixes are the corporate way.  Consistency  – keeping those values alive, carrying on doing the small things that matter  –  is the human way.

When the RSA, the Forward Instituteand the UK Values Alliance came together to set up the Values Challenge to get groups and organisations of every kind to address the gap between the values they say they have and what actually happens in practice, this was one of the key messages we wanted to get across. Those of us involved in running any organisation or part of it will know how we love devising big eye-catching strategies when we hit a problem. There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s not enough. If we want to really embed our organisation’s core values in its culture we need everyone to be involved, and we need to keep on doing it over and over and over again. 

That’s why the Values Challenge session starts with an RSA Animate clip of a Simon Sinek talk to set the scene for the hour of discussion and enquiry that follows. The object of the session is to help everybody in the participating groups and organisations to get into that consistent mindset. First to think about the gap between the values aspired to and what actually happens – and then to work out how to begin closing the gap with small, consistent actions that bring those values to life and gradually embed them in the everyday life of the organisation. 

The Values Challenge will happen later this year on or around World Values Day which is on 19th October. We hope hundreds of groups and organisations across the country and indeed around the world will take part. In the meantime we have been running pilots to test and refine the sessions with various organisations of different types and sizes.  

Please let us know if you think your group or organisation may be interested in participating in October. Incidentally there is still an opportunity for a few more groups or organisations to get involved in the pilot phase. 

The main theme of this year’s World Values Day will be to do with closing the values gap in groups and organisations.

While the Values Challenge will be a large part of this, there will be numerous other events and activities looking at how to close that gap in different ways and from different perspectives that will be appearing on the World Values Day website over the coming weeks. 

Charles Fowler is part of the UK Values Alliance steering group and was heavily involved in launching the first World Values Day last year. He is also Chair of the Human Values Foundation, which helps children and young people discover and practise values.

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  • I love the title. Seeing that we are living in an age in which everything appears to be travelling at 1000 miles an hour, and that if peradventure a mistake were to be made at such great speeds, the cost for such a mistake would be incalculable. Repairing the damage would be exceedingly painful. A wholesale review of our values is warranted and this project is timely. But it is a tall order. How for example, do you get young people to slow down to a gentle walking pace? 

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