Punks of the New Age: Embracing Values

Every client is a bit different, with their own set of values and culture. Oh, how that brings S & G Endeavors joy. Our consultant, Rob Sadowsky, has been working with small to mid-size nonprofits to examine their organizational values and culture and craft written values statements that embrace both who they are and who they aspire to be. We do this so that current and future staff, board members and volunteers can learn what the values are quickly and intentionally, rather than attempt to figure it out on their own. Creating and adhering to a collaboratively set of values can help hold each other accountable, inspire the team to build core competencies, and help provide a filter for decision making.

Rob has been working with members of the Working Class Acupuncture Clinic in Portland, Oregon for the past seven months on a variety of strategic planning and leadership development activities. The work started around the goal of succession planning for the two founders, Lisa and Skip. They were a bit worried that their tenacious group of acupuncturists, referred to as “punks”, would not be able to continue without them if they were to retire someday. As part of strategic planning, Rob likes to start out with setting values or guiding principles. All organizations, public or private, for profit or nonprofit, should have a mission statement and a vision. The mission tells us the organization’s purpose. The vision tells us what it looks like when we are successful. And it is the core values that establishes the behavior rules. The ends do not justify the means, the means are very important. And these guiding values or principles clarify to everyone, internal and external, how you work, how you collaborate and partner, and why you do what you do in that special way.

The Clinic operates in a very special way. It is a community-based acupuncture clinic, more like a community health clinic than the sterile spa-like acupuncture office most of us conjure up when we think of acupuncturists. They are the “punks” of the acupuncture movement, seeing themselves as breaking old molds and using a core set of tools to treat patients where they are, for their needs, without pushing supplements or teas. People pay on a sliding scale and essentially, they won’t turn someone away for lack of resources. But this takes a certain “punk” to work there. Lisa and Skip and the rest of their Oversight Circle were struggling with some of their “punks” not getting it, not feeling the vibe. Rob asked them: “Have you ever written down what this vibe is? What it means to be successful?”. The answer was no, so we set about doing that.

The core values they selected is below as a downloadable pdf. The clinic now

uses these values to orient new employees and volunteers and have integrated them into their performance reviews.

We’d love to help your organization develop your core set of values. We have a three-hour hands-on workshop we offer that will leave you with your core values and a road map to integrate them into your work. We are also available to work with your team on developing them further and integrating them into performance appraisals. Contact [email protected] for more information.


Clinic Core Values:  WCA Core Values — draft 9 13 17b – Google Docs

Trainer, consultant, strategic planner and executive coach for S & G Endeavors.

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