I’ve found the following values to be those that yield the best work and the best environment to work in, and thus strive to embody them in both professional organizational relationships and in the systems that I design.
These are derived from 2500 year old Buddhist teachings described as the four limitless qualities of mind: kindness, compassion, joy, and fearless equanimity.
- Openness – An open environment facilitates kindness. An open environment is one in which individuals are not subjected to needless judgment or dismissal, and individuals have time and space to express both new ideas and concerns. Since we are routinely judging and assessing situations, patience with both ourselves and others is also critical with regard to cultivating this type of space.
- Transparency – An environment of transparency facilitates compassion. When we are able to see what is happening, and understand the causes and conditions that have lead to difficult situations, we are more able to empathize and act compassionately. Transparency means clear communication of relevant information that directly gets to the point. Transparency requires clarity of purpose, goals, and processes.
- Autonomy – Autonomy provides the conditions for spontaneity and joy in our own work and that of others. When individuals have the space, freedom, and trust to take responsibility and ownership for their work and prove their capability, we can take joy in their genuine accomplishments and contributions.
- Accountability –
To be accountable is to be willing to accept responsibility for one’s actions, be they successes or mistakes. An environment in which individuals hold one another accountable encourages fearless equanimity. When people are willing to take responsibility and hold others responsible for promises and actions, then any anxieties or fears about speaking out in challenging situations are mitigated, which makes everything easier and more efficient.
- Trust –
To have trust in another person means having confidence that they will act in a responsible manner with a certain degree of kindness, compassion, good humor, and fearlessness. This means that there is much less work necessary to check that the four prior values are being upheld, because we have confidence that this is all happening automatically. An environment of high trust is one in which systems operate with great efficiency and that naturally creates potential for extraordinary creativity.