In this series about metaphors, I have found that there are three very relevant metaphors. The garden, river and clock. What can I and my artificial writing companion come up with regarding core values?
The organisation’s identity, analogous to the essence of a garden, is influenced by various elements, including moral values. Just as a garden’s essence is shaped by its intrinsic qualities, the organisation’s identity is enriched by its moral values, which can be seen as the nourishing elements within the garden.
The organisation’s identity, analogous to the essence of a river, represents its unique character, values, and distinctiveness. Just as a river’s identity is shaped by its flow, course, and interactions with its surroundings, the organisation’s identity is influenced by its purpose, values, and the moral principles that guide its actions.
The organisation’s identity, analogous to the essence of a clockwork mechanism, represents its unique character, structure, and functionality. Just as a clockwork mechanism’s identity is shaped by its precision, order, and interconnected parts, the organisation’s identity is influenced by its purpose, structure, and the moral values that guide its operations.
Let’s compare some of the basic core values: Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Excellence and Empathy.
|Healthy soil: |
Integrity can be likened to the healthy soil that forms the foundation of a garden. It provides nourishment, stability, and a fertile environment for growth. Similarly, the organisation’s integrity serves as the bedrock of its identity, fostering trust, transparency, and ethical conduct in all its interactions.
|Clear and transparent current: Integrity, like a clear and transparent current, is a moral value that forms the bedrock of the organisation’s identity. It involves acting with honesty, authenticity, and ethical conduct. Just as a river’s clear current signifies its purity, the organisation’s integrity reflects its commitment to transparency, trustworthiness, and doing the right thing.||Precision and accuracy: Integrity, similar to the precision and accuracy of a clockwork mechanism, is a moral value that forms the foundation of the organisation’s identity. It involves acting with honesty, consistency, and ethical conduct. The organisation’s integrity ensures that its operations, interactions, and decision-making processes are aligned with its values and principles.|
|Harmonious coexistence: Respect, like the harmonious coexistence of plants in a garden, promotes an inclusive and supportive organisational culture. It recognises the value of diversity, promotes collaboration, and ensures that all individuals are treated with dignity and fairness, fostering a sense of belonging.||Navigating with consideration: Respect, akin to navigating (rapids) with consideration, is a moral value that emphasises valuing the dignity, rights, and diversity of individuals within and outside the organisation. It involves treating others with courtesy, listening actively, and fostering an inclusive environment where everyone’s contributions are acknowledged and respected.||Interlocking gears: |
Respect, like the interlocking gears within a clockwork mechanism, is a moral value that emphasises valuing the dignity, perspectives, and contributions of individuals within the organisation. It involves treating others with courtesy, fairness, and recognising their unique talents and expertise. By fostering respect, the organisation cultivates a harmonious and collaborative environment.
|Cultivating Care: Responsibility corresponds to the act of cultivating care within the garden. Just as a gardener takes responsibility for the well-being of the plants, an organisation’s sense of responsibility drives it to consider the impact of its actions on stakeholders and the environment. It involves sustainable practices, ethical decision-making, and a commitment to social and environmental stewardship.||Stewardship of the riverbanks: Responsibility corresponds to the organisation’s stewardship of the riverbanks, representing its commitment to accountability and ethical decision-making. It involves recognising the impact of the organisation’s actions on stakeholders, society, and the environment. The organisation’s responsibility ensures that it acts in the best interest of all and preserves the well-being of its surroundings.||Cogs in motion: |
Responsibility corresponds to the organisation’s commitment to its designated roles and responsibilities, similar to the cogs in motion within a clockwork mechanism. It involves fulfilling obligations towards stakeholders, customers, employees, and the wider community. The organisation’s responsibility ensures that it operates ethically, complies with laws and regulations, and considers the long-term impact of its actions.
|Thriving blooms: |
Excellence can be compared to the thriving blooms within a garden. It represents the organisation’s commitment to continuous improvement, innovation, and delivering high-quality products or services. By striving for excellence, the organisation nourishes its identity and establishes a reputation for outstanding performance.
|Flowing with purpose and precision: |
Excellence, similar to a river flowing with purpose and precision, represents the organisation’s commitment to continuous improvement, quality, and exceptional performance. It involves striving for excellence in all aspects of its operations, delivering value to customers, and surpassing expectations. The organisation’s pursuit of excellence strengthens its identity and establishes a reputation for high standards.
|Efficient and reliable performance: |
Excellence, like the efficient and reliable performance of a clockwork mechanism, represents the organisation’s commitment to delivering high-quality products, services, and outcomes. It involves continuous improvement, attention to detail, and exceeding customer expectations. The organisation’s pursuit of excellence strengthens its identity as a trusted and dependable entity.
|Blooming connections: Empathy is akin to the blooming connections between different elements within a garden. It involves understanding and considering the needs, perspectives, and emotions of stakeholders. By fostering empathy, the organisation nurtures strong relationships, fosters collaboration, and enhances its identity as an empathetic and compassionate entity.||Connecting and nurturing river branches and streams: |
Empathy, like the connections and nurturing of tributaries, is a moral value that promotes understanding, compassion, and consideration for others. It involves actively listening, empathising with stakeholders, and responding with kindness and care. By cultivating empathy, the organisation forges strong connections, fosters collaboration, and enhances its identity as a compassionate and socially responsible entity.
|Balancing the gears: |
Empathy, akin to the careful balancing of gears in a clockwork mechanism, is a moral value that emphasises understanding, compassion, and consideration for others. It involves actively listening, empathising with stakeholders’ needs and concerns, and responding with empathy and kindness. By incorporating empathy, the organisation fosters meaningful relationships and builds a positive and supportive identity.
Incorporating the garden metaphor into the moral values highlights the interplay between the organisation’s identity and the nurturing elements within a garden. The moral values nourish and shape the organisation’s culture, guiding its decisions, relationships, and impact. By tending to these values, the organisation cultivates a thriving and harmonious identity, just as a well-tended garden flourishes and radiates beauty.
Incorporating the river metaphor into the moral values highlights the dynamic nature of the organisation’s identity, flowing with purpose, and being influenced by its interactions with stakeholders and the environment. The moral values serve as the guiding current that shapes the organisation’s behaviour, decision-making, and relationships. By embodying these values, the organisation nurtures a strong and authentic identity, just as a river’s flow embodies its unique essence and character.
Incorporating the clockwork metaphor into the moral values highlights the organisation’s systematic and structured nature, where each component plays a crucial role in its overall functioning. The moral values act as the guiding principles that maintain the organisation’s integrity, ensure respectful interactions, drive responsible actions, foster excellence, and cultivate empathy. By embodying these values, the organisation strengthens its identity as a well-oiled and ethical mechanism, just as a clockwork mechanism operates flawlessly and reliably.
To me these differences are less surprising that earlier comparisons. This may be due to my selection of the basic core values: Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Excellence and Empathy. It can also be the case that both me and my artificial companion are highly cultural biased. A broader scan of different ethical theories may yield more interesting differences. Or should we be comforted by the idea that the differences fade away as we talk about core values?
My previous blogs about using metaphors:
What are your favorite metaphors? Inspire me and let us explore their possibilities!
About Hans Nouwens
Hans Nouwens is an experienced architect with 25+ years of practical experience in the field of ICT, infused with rigorous academic learning. He works as an architect and trusted advisor, mainly for Higher Education institutes. Enterprise engineering, enterprise architecture and enterprise governance are his specialities that come with DEMO and CGEIT certifications. Hans has an academic interest in sensemaking, ethics, philosophy, systems theory and cybernetics. Hans volunteers as board member for the interest group architecture of the KNVI and the Dutch society of systems thinkers (SCIO-NL). He regularly gives guest lectures on enterprise architecture and coaches students. Within SogetiNL Hans is subject matter expert Enterprise Architecture, and thought leader on the topic of Sensemaking Architecture.
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