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Why you should ditch your values this new year! 

by Susie Hills | Jan 2, 2023 | People & Culture

How many times have we seen organisations set out their values and then clearly not use them to guide their day to day business?

Values can be taken for granted, ignored or misunderstood. They don’t set out the actions that you intend to take to live them, they don’t tell you what to do, and what not to do. They don’t make you stand out – many institutions values sound the same. 

So ditch them!

Of course that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have any values – it means that you should set them out in an active way.

Write your manifesto.

A manifesto is “a published declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer’, ‘a written statement outlining what a group stands for and how they plan to effect change. 


The Halpin manifesto


The Halpin manifesto guides all that we do. It sets out out the values that we bring to our work, our clients, our suppliers and each other and our desire to have a positive impact as we work. We referred to our manifesto last year when we updated our policies, when we set staff objectives and when we decide how to respond to a brief from a prospective client. As you will see our manifesto is active not passive. 

For example we could have said that one of values was inclusivity.  It is a value which guides us, but our manifesto goes further and says what inclusivity means to us and what we are aiming to do to ensure its part of our operations:

We are building a team where all can bring their full selves to work.  We support our clients to be inclusive too and to consider Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) throughout their work.” 


Writing your manifesto


To write your manifesto follow we recommend these six simple steps:

  1. Core values. You may already have them written down and agreed.  If not go through a process to collate them and test which of them resonate most and feel true to your culture. 
  2. Call to action. Turn each value into an action or actions.  How do you or could you live them in your day to day work? What do they mean for you and your team?
  3. Keep it simple. Use simple language – it is much more powerful. For example the Halpin manifesto uses ‘Kind’ in our manifesto not ‘compassion’. It’s a deliberate choice which we think gives it more power. 
  4. Keep it honest.  If you have work to do on an area you can say so, “we want to…”. A manifesto is all about setting out to do better.
  5. Edit, edit, edit. Re-work it, take out any hyperbole, anything that feels obvious or could be said by anyone, that doesn’t feel true to you or doesn’t feel inspirational. 
  6. Make it shine.  Get it designed up, make a video, make posters, talk about it, use it in documents and presentations so that everyone is aware of it and can feel excited by it. 


Halpin works with universities across four key areas – Governance & Policy, Strategy & Transformation, Fundraising & Alumni Relations and People & Culture. If you are seeking expert consultancy contact us to find out how we can help.