By Eric Lanke
At the recent NFPA Board meeting in October 2018, we engaged in a culture workshop conducted by Peter Rea, Vice President of Integrity and Ethics at Parker Hannifin and author of Exception to the Rule (which was the content focus of the workshop). The Board thought this would be a valuable workshop to participate in, not because there are concerns with our leadership, but more so to capture the strong characteristics of NFPA Board’s culture to preserve it for future Boards.
The intent of the workshop was to ignite a discussion for the Board to consider the creation of a values statement. As described in detail in his book, Rea presented on the seven virtues (trust, compassion, courage, justice, wisdom, temperance, and hope), often summarized as the four “Gs” (giving, grit, growth mindset and gratitude), most associated with high-performance cultures.
Rea challenged the Board to come up with examples of how the Board does and should behave within the context of the virtues and the “Gs.” What we found through this process was how well the Board already exhibits behavior that supports growth for the association. When the topic of gratitude came up, for example, we were especially impressed with how naturally this comes from our Board members.
The benefit of putting this down on paper is to recognize how functional our current Board culture is, but to also challenge ourselves to do even better, and to continue building a strong foundation for future Board members. Based on the discussion in October, the Board will continue to refine a more formal Values Statement at the next Board meeting in conjunction with the March 2019 Annual Conference.