Creating Value Statements in 60 Minutes or Less

In February, I helped the women’s ministry at my church come up with value statements to go with our new mission and vision statements. I had less than 60 minutes to get a room full of opinionated women to agree to seven or less short statements of value. Here is how I did it.

Before you start planning, I suggest you watch the Digital Strategist’s videos on Mission, Vision, and Value statements. She has an excellent way of explaining the purpose of each and simple ways to craft them. They are very short.

For this exercise, you will need:

  • Post-its, regular size, one stack for each participant
  • one flip chart post it
  • pens for everyone
  • a room of passionate people
  • a good facilitator
  • one hour

The women in the room had already discussed the new mission and vision statements so they were familiar with them and had already bought into them as a group. How we created group buy-in is another topic for another post, but your group needs to believe in what they do for this to work. The individuals do not need to be the same (personality, training, etc.) just passionate about what your group is doing.

I began by explaining that value statements tell others what you believe in and hold to be true. They do not express individual beliefs. They are not one word, but a phrase or statement. They are designed to bring our actions into alignment with the words of our mission and vision statements. This explanation and question time took less than 10 minutes.

On one of the large post it pages, I wrote the following question and posted it for the room to see: What are the guiding principles that dictate how we treat each other and how we treat our women? (or others?)

Each woman was asked to answer that question on their sticky notes. One answer per note. They had to write at least one and could write as many as they wanted. They created a pile in front of them or kept their notes in a stack. I gave them 10 minutes to do this.

While they were writing, I posted six flip chart post-its in a cluster.

When they were done, I instructed them to come and place their sticky notes on one of the six flip chart pages and to cluster their own that were similar together. After everyone had posted their notes, the group was then instructed to arrange the statements into categories. Things that fell outside of the six groups could be placed off to the side.

The area in front of the emerging categories was crowded, so we did it in groups. Half the ladies went and then after a few minutes, I made them rotate. I did that a couple times to let the groups rearrange and move things. They could make no more than seven category groupings. They had 10-15 minutes to do this.

If you are keeping track, we are about 30-35 minutes through the process.

Everyone then sat down. Our group had four distinct groups and only a few outlying sticky notes. We focused on the four groups and for each one I asked: How would you describe these statements with only a few words. What word ties them all together?

I labeled each groups with the words they chose. This took less than 5 minutes.

Next, I pointed to the first category and asked them to make a phrase with those words (the labels they had created). I warned them that this was not word smithing, but more like brainstorming. On the flip chart, I wrote what they said. The group came up with three or four statements for each category and I helped them reduce it to a single short statement. We did that for each of our four categories. This took us about 15 minutes, but allow for at least 20 when planning in the event your group creates more categories.

We had enough time to create final value statements so we did word smith a tiny bit.

Viola! That is it.

Bonus: If you have time, do something fun at the end. Ask them to write on a sticky note what they loved most about the day, exercise, retreat and post them on the wall for others to read. We were behind schedule that day, so I actually had less than 60 minutes for my section and we did not get to the extra fun stuff.

You can see my original notes here.

This works because the power of a group is huge when they are all passionate about something and you push them to think big.

If you are curious, and I know you are, the values my women’s ministry crafted that day are: We pursue and love others. We are growing in Christ and reflecting God’s love to others. We encourage one another with love, grace, and mercy. We strive towards being transparent and humble.

Is there something different you have done to make mission, vision, and value statements more collaborative?

–Jane, loves a motivated crowd