Outcomes—it’s all about outcomes. Most agree. Yet when they don’t happen the search must begin to answer the question “Why not?”. In 2000, we realized that the “why not” in Fresno was the culture. We lacked trust. We were fragmented. Many had given up and believed poverty was inevitable. Speaking out was hard as conflicts were easily triggered and became lasting urban myths. We tended to focus on problems not the strengths in people or the community. As Drucker has said, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” Now what?
Our answer was the Fresno Community Values, ten specific qualities we committed to embodying, a new contract for behavior. Every board meeting a member shares ideas about one of the values. The full list is included in a book entitled, “Civic Revolutionaries: Igniting the Passion for Change in America’s Communities.” Many organizations have endorsed them. They stick.