Community values — or shared values — are the promises that we make to one another about how we will act and interact. Shared values hold a community together, whether it be a family, friends, a fellowship, neighbors, a virtual network, a town, a team, a troop, a company, a country or a culture. Shared values are our glue. When we collectively adhere to a set of shared principles about how we will act and interact with one another, we strengthen our bond as a community. Conversely, when we fail to adhere to our shared values, we weaken our communal bond — we become unglued.
At the extreme, when there is no set of values that are commonly shared and actively observed by the members of a community, there is no community. There is, perhaps, a collection of individuals who inhabit the same space and time but who (understandably) are acting in their own self-interest, often in ways that serve to keep them apart from one another rather than create the bonds that hold them together as a part of a whole.
Let’s take a look at your communities. Begin by considering them all. Think about the various bands and crowds with whom you come together (real or virtual) to support and serve one another. Choose one. It could be any other community that is particularly influential in your life.
What do you consider to be the essential handful of shared values of that community?
Excerpted from The Citizen Leader