Living our values is committing to the “yes, and”
At Leverage to Lead, we help people live the values, beliefs, and commitments required for a more equitable and inclusive world. Our work is human work and is rooted in the understanding that humans are hard-wired for connection. How we decide to show up for each other defines the impact of that connection. What we value informs our behaviors.
We help our clients practice skills that awaken their humanity and hold on to the humanity of others. These skills – which include listening deeply, building equity of voice, understanding and accepting emotion, acknowledging our identities, and recognizing our socialization – are so foundational to us that we schedule time to practice them together. In this practice, we have come to realize that at the root of our work with clients, our work together, our beliefs, and our values is the working agreement – “Yes, and”.
To agree to the “yes, and” requires that we value:
Deep Regard for Each Other. When we say “yes” to each other we demonstrate our acceptance of the humanness of our colleagues and clients. We accept and hold their sameness and their differences. We do not minimize their perspectives, as we know that multiple perspectives can be true at the same time.
Perseverance. When we say “yes” to each other, we decide everyday to work through our internal and external issues despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. We show up for ourselves and each other. And we know that we fight against the systems of oppression we live within, not each other.
Collaboration. When we say “and” we commit to co-create together. We share our skills, expertise, ideas, and inspiration. This openness results in a synergy that transforms us and our clients.
Communication. When we say “yes” we commit to listen deeply to each other and when we say “and” we trust that we will be heard. “And” invites robust discussion and actively brings all voices into the conversation. We communicate to illuminate not for resolution.
We endeavor to build and support an equitable and inclusive organization by committing to the following:
Psychological Safety. Our deep regard and respect for each other means we can share our conventional and unconventional ideas as well as difficult perspectives. We are also free to set boundaries. There is no penalty to ask for and get what you need to do your best work.
Vulnerability. To ask for what you need, often means you have to practice vulnerably sharing how you feel. We practice sharing our feelings, our hopes, and our needs. We give the benefit of doubt to our intentions because, sometimes, we get it wrong. We acknowledge our impact when what we mean doesn’t equate with what we have done. We apologize and we forgive. This practice of vulnerability leads to trust, understanding, and acceptance.
Commitment to a Shared Purpose. We choose to do this work together and with our clients because we believe in liberation. We strive to build nurturing and supportive structures to produce our best work. We are in the business of creation and that requires that we are confident that each of us has the ability and will to do our part. Our commitment to do this work and live these values are the standards we set.
Creativity. We do not know a world without bias, racism, sexism, ableism. The only way to build the way through is to create it. Creativity flourishes with connection, collaboration, perseverance, risk, imagination, and communication.
Integrity and Trust. We approach this work with each other and with our clients with integrity and high standards. This means we take responsibility for the impact of our actions, and make the practice of alignment with our values our highest priority. We trust each other in this endeavor and we trust the process of transformation.