Survey/Focus Group Question Development
Once you have selected your planning team members and determined planning dates you are ready for your first planning meeting. Prior to this meeting all planning members should have received budgetary information, copies of applicable laws, rules, regulations, policies and applicable professional standards. Planning team members should make themselves familiar with this information as it is crucial to the planning process.
Now you are ready to develop your survey and/or focus group questions. Planning team members can brainstorm possible questions for the survey or focus group or assign the task to one or more team members who will develop the questions and bring them to the group for discussion and approval.
Core Values Development
Once you have selected you planning team members and determined how you will seek stakeholder input you will develop the organization’s core values. Core values are those vital few values that all members of the organization are expected to use, live by and demonstrate on a daily basis while executing their work responsibilities. “Core Values are the essential and enduring tenets of an organization. A small set of timeless guiding principles that require no external justification; they have intrinsic value and importance to those inside the organization.” James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras – Harvard Business Review 1996. Core values are so fundamental and deeply held that they will change seldom, if ever, and must stand the test of time. Some examples of organizational core values are as follows:
Disney – Imagination and wholesomeness, no cynicism, nurturing and promulgation of “wholesome American values”, creativity, dreams, imagination, fanatical attention to consistency and detail, and preservation and control of the Disney magic.
Sony Corporation – Elevation of the Japanese culture and national status, being a pioneer-not following others, doing the impossible, encouraging individual ability and creativity.
Merck Corporation – Corporate social responsibility, unequivocal excellence in all aspects of the company, science-based innovation, honesty and integrity, profit, but profit from work that benefits humanity.
State of New Hampshire Workforce Development – Performance excellence, flexibility, diversity, integrity, dedication, empowerment. See section three page 57 of this document for definitions of the core values.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions –
1. the endorsement of the principles of freedom of access to information, ideas and works of imagination and freedom of expression embodied in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
2. the belief that people, communities and organizations need universal and equitable access to information, ideas and works of imagination for their social, educational, cultural, democratic and economic well-being
3. the conviction that delivery of high quality library and information services helps guarantee that access
4. the commitment to enable all Members of the Federation to engage in, and benefit from, its activities without regard to citizenship, disability, ethnic origin, gender, geographical location, language, political philosophy, race or religion.
California Department of Finance – Integrity, Expertise, Teamwork, Respect, Problem Solving. The following definitions are provided for the core value Integrity:
Adherence to Code of Values or Responsibilities — We consistently adhere to our duty to execute the mission and responsibilities of Finance while advancing the goals of the Administration.
Credibility (The quality of inspiring belief)
· Consistently demonstrate your commitment to the Department of Finance, the Administration, and the state.
· Consistently provide accurate information and sound analyses.
· Execute audit work with independence and objectivity, both in fact and appearance.
· Do not cover ignorance with overreaching statements and guesses. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so — and then go find the answer.
· Deliver what you promise and be careful about promising something you can’t deliver.
Confidentiality (Being faithful to an entrusted confidence or ensuring controlled access to information whose unauthorized disclosure would not be in the best interests of the state)
· Be alert, sensitive to, and clear about what information you are not at liberty to pass on. For example, policy and funding options under active review, some information pertaining to pending litigation, pending audit findings and other issues sometimes are not to be conveyed outside the Department except by specifically authorized persons or at specifically designated times. Maintaining this confidentiality is vital to the integrity of Finance’s role.
· Remember that personnel matters often are confidential as well.
· When asked directly for information that is confidential, say that you are not at liberty to provide the information.
· Be careful about who might be in earshot when you are discussing confidential information.
Organizational “Purpose” Development
“The best and most dedicated people are ultimately volunteers, for they have the opportunity to do something else with their lives. Confronted with an increasingly mobile society, cynicism about corporate life, organizations more than ever need to have a clear understanding of their purpose in order to make work meaningful to attract, motivate and retain outstanding people.” [ Peter Drucker, Leadership Guru]
Perhaps this quote, more than others, exemplifies the importance of having an organizational purpose for your government agency. The organization’s “Purpose Statement”:
· Is the organization’s reason for being
· Is people’s idealistic motivation for doing the organization’s work
· Captures the soul of the organization
· Should last 100 years
Note: You may complete a goal or strategy but you can not fulfill a purpose.
When developing an organizational purpose statement it is helpful to keep in mind the second bullet point from above “people’s idealistic motivation for doing the organization’s work.” People want to know why they are doing the work. What is the purpose or point of the work? In past generations the why of the work may not have been as important. Knowing what to do and how to do it was enough. But the baby-boomer generation changed that by asking the question “Why”? Now, the children of the baby-boomer generation are asking the same question and expect an answer. This is particularly true for those graduating from college. They want to know that their work means something. The organization’s purpose statement goes a long way towards providing an answer to the why question. The following are sample purpose statements from the private sector. Note that each of the corporations will be working towards their purpose for many years to come.
· 3M: To solve unsolved problems innovatively
· Cargill: To improve the standard of living around the world
· Fannie Mae: To strengthen the social fabric by continually democratizing home ownership
· Walt Disney: To make people happy
· Mary Kay Cosmetics: To give unlimited opportunity
· Merck: To preserve and improve human life
· Lost Arrow Corporation: To be a role model and a tool for social change:
· Nike: To experience the emotion of competition, winning , and crushing competitors
· Sony: To experience the joy of advancing and applying technology for the benefit of the public
· Wal-Mart: To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people
· Telecare Corporation: To help people with mental impairments realize their full potential
The following are sample purpose statements from government entities:
Australian Government, Department of Finance and Deregulation: “We provide high quality, strategic policy and financial advice to support government decision-making and improved Australian Government financial management. We deliver professional support services to our Ministers, Parliamentarians and their staff, and the Government as a whole.”
North Carolina, Public Sector Attorneys: The Government and Public Sector section encourages the participation of government and public sector lawyers in the North Carolina Bar Association and works to develop programs and services that will be of value to government attorneys.
How does my organization develop a purpose statement?
It is recommended that you seek a facilitator from outside your organization to help with the strategic planning process, if possible. If it is not possible for your organization to secure an outside facilitator, the following steps can be used to help your organization develop its’ purpose statement.
1. Planning group members should review existing state and federal laws pertaining to their agency. What does the law [s] require your organization to do or accomplish? Your planning group should also review state and federal/national standards that pertain to your organization and profession. What are you required to do to maintain professional standards. Planning group members should know and understand these laws and standards.
2. At a planning meeting ask each planning member to write a draft purpose statement to be shared with the group. After completing the draft purpose statement each planning team member should re-write their purpose statement on large flip-chart paper using magic markers and tape the statement on the wall of the meeting room. Everyone’s statement is posted and team members take turns reading their statement explaining why they believe their statement is appropriate for the organization. At this point, other team members may ask questions to clarify their understanding of the team members’ draft purpose statement. However, no comments should be made regarding whether or not team members agree or disagree with the statement.
Questions should be only for clarification purposes. Once each member of the team has had the opportunity to explain their draft purpose statement the planning team is divided into sub-groups of three or four people. Each sub-group is responsible for developing one purpose statement from the three or four member purpose statements. Each sub-group should be given a time limit of forty-five minutes to complete their work. At the completion of the time limit each sub-group presents their purpose statement to the planning team. Once the two or three sub-groups have presented their draft purpose statements the planning team works to develop one purpose statement by selecting key words or phrases from each of the draft statements that the team feels is appropriate for their organizational purpose statement. The final step is to “word-smith” the chosen words into a viable purpose statement.