Today, right now it seems that values being publicly espoused by some leaders are contradictory to the requirements of "good governance".

Values and how they are seen and interpreted by our public are totally aligned with the trust which we have for an organisation or a person. Trust of course is the first primary motivator. Without trust there is nothing.

There would today, be few, in any form of "governance" role - school committee, club or community committee, a board of an organisation and the many others - who had not been exposed to some informal or formal development in the needs and roles of being a person in governance.

As an example the new Incorporated Societies legislation (act) will require much more of those in governance roles than the old 1908 act ... with its many amendments, as you would hope, of course.

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Again those in these leadership roles would today have almost certainly been involved in planning the future direction for their organisation, most usually through a strategic planning process.

The very first matter that needs to be addressed, answered and fully embraced in "every" strategic planning process are the values to which the organisation will use as their "true north" ... in all that they do. Values underpin all that "any" organisation (or person) sets out to achieve.

A value is an enduring belief that a specific type of conduct or an existence end-state is preferable to others. A value is a belief we hold that causes us to act the way we do. It is something we believe is important to our lives, to the community and to the people with whom we work. Research clearly shows that organisations do in fact gain great strength from shared values.

Values don't just matter - they matter most!

Establishing values for an organisation precedes every other element in the process. Vision, mission, goals just cannot be established unless these important and critical elements are firstly upheld by values to which the organisation, and those in governance, fully subscribe to.

When working with organisations and people in organisations there is always the possibility, sometimes expressed, that this can be seen as sanctimonious management babble ...

The answer to that lies squarely in what we see about us being demonstrated in word and actions by those people seeking to lead us. It's not about being self righteous, smug, superior or any other synonym we care to use.

Expressed values enable trust ... If values are called into question then so is trust. Trust is hard won but so easily lost.

The past is always asking something of the present for the future ...

Ron Rowe has more than 50 years of active leadership in several community-based and volunteer organisations. A keynote speaker at the UN International Year of the Volunteer (subject Servant Leadership), he established the first NZ/South Pacific office for Lions Clubs International. Views expressed here are the writer's opinion and not the newspaper's. Email: editor@hbtoday.co.nz.