community philosophy

Our Philosophy for Working in Community

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As an organization we first tried to outline the matrix of values that guide decision making in a document. We created it in 2007.  We named it CCC’s Philosophy of Working in Community. This community philosophy summarized the principles that we found ourselves using to guide our decision making. We still refer back to it in challenging times. These are our values. They are what anchor us.

We strive to:

  1. Show the reality of our faith by the manner in which we do everything. Let our actions speak louder than our words. 
  2. Find better ways to do everything.
  3. Treat everyone the way we each would want to be treated.
    1. Honor the lives people live as more important than the role they have in the organization.
    2. Assume all people are operating with pure motives until proven otherwise.
    3. Communicate to all with directness and candor and with kindness and compassion—and in a timely fashion.
    4. Set the example of taking responsibility for one’s own mistakes while being generous and kind when others make mistakes. 
    5. Express gratitude to others for all that they do for us and for all that is good in life. No whining, complaining, or negativity.
    6. Share the enjoyment of our work and each other with each other. Be fun.
    7. Intentionally nurture a supporting, mentoring, and helpful culture. 
  4. Make decisions for the greater good of all—clients, referrers, colleagues, and support staff. As the needs of different constituencies come into conflict, find reasonable compromises that honor the work we are doing with our clients. 
  5. Support our leaders through our willingness to be led and by providing respectful constructive feedback on all that we do. 
  6. Develop leaders who will lead boldly, use authority wisely, and coercion rarely. In turn our leaders will strive to:
    1. Establish an organizational vision and develop systematic ways of accomplishing that vision.
    2. Prepare the staff for changes affecting any part of the organization by providing reasonable explanations and enough lead time for appropriate processing.
    3. When an employee will be affected by a proposed change, discuss the options in as collaborative a decision-making process as is practical.
    4. Not use authority in unjust or privileged ways. 
  7. Focus on profitability solely as the means to doing all things well. Money should only be the means and never the end in itself.
    1. Be generous while maintaining financial solvency. Whenever possible, pay all staff at above market rates.
    2. Minimize debt as much as is possible, and when debt is necessary have a concrete plan for its repayment in a timely fashion.

Principles to Guide Our Managers

Our goal is to:

  1. Provide the highest quality therapy possible in an ethical and faith-sensitive manner.
  2. Grow in our ability to meet the needs of the communities we serve. We acknowledge that adding new staff is disruptive to existing staff, but we believe that addressing our communities’ needs requires us to embrace this temporary disruption. Existing staff are urged to use these situations as stretching and positive experiences.  
  3. Given the practical limitations of time, energy, and resources, put the legitimate needs of our clients first. Never fall below a minimally acceptable level of care.
  4. Have the most pleasant work environment possible—relationally and aesthetically.
  5. Provide regular opportunities for the building and support of strong teams through the way we structure our meetings and retreats.
  6. Build business systems and practices that are well reasoned, neither too sloppy nor too burdensome.
    1. To the degree practical, have consistency in our back office processes across all our locations.
    2. Invest the time and resources to training our employees to fulfill their positions well while leaving room for their own judgment where appropriate.
    3. Cross-train staff for all major tasks in our organization.
    4. Provide the best tools we can afford for our staff to do their jobs most efficiently.
    5. Write down how we want each to do the key functions of his/her job so that our collective wisdom and knowledge can be transmitted from one to another.
  7. When recruiting staff, diligently pursue attracting the best employees/colleagues possible, and be willing to wait for the right fit rather than settling for someone to fill a need. Do not oversell or over-promise what we can deliver. Reveal any downsides of which we are aware.
  8. Select the best adjunct professionals we can find to provide us with the best information on accounting, legal issues, and employee benefits.

Developed in May 2007; updated April 2009

Also read:

From nothing to something: The beginnings of my practice and organization

How to become a community of clinicians

Ten examples of culture change in one organization

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