Values for Leadership and Sustainability at Multnomah County

Our colleague Darcy Winslow at The Academy for Systemic Change used Values Explorer to create conversations about leadership and sustainability among the executive leadership team in Multnomah County. Excerpts from her field notes and photos are below. Notice the leaning in, engagement and laughter. The cards help by being “in the middle” of the conversation. The acts of handling and sharing the cards, arranging them, talking about them, are all conducive to a more reflective mode of thought. In Daniel Kahneman‘s terms, this is a slower, more deliberate kind of thinking, and may help avoid the errors we make when we think too fast all the time.

Hi Chuck,

I have attached the two slides I used to tee up this exercise [see below] and I hope to get the flip charts that we used to capture where the teams/tables netted out their shared values. There were values with lots of congruity and then some really interesting outliers that provoked  conversation. There were 5 -6 people at each table and it was fascinating to watch the different approaches they took to start the sorting/conversation process! I had them try and rank order the top 5. I had each table read out their top 3. Out of the 19 tables we had two with a perfect match: Cheers all around! One table took the liberty of writing 3 new cards: Cultural Competence, Leadership Styles/ Communication, Equity/ Disparities.

One thing I learned: I need to give them more time to work with this exercise. They have asked for a few of the decks to use themselves. One of their immediate requests is to use these to on-board a new department.



Darcy Winslow is at
Designs for a Sustainable World Collective
Portland, Oregon
The Academy for Systemic Change


About Charles J. Palus & David Magellan Horth

Charles J. Palus & David Magellan Horth are Senior Fellows at the Center for Creative Leadership. Many thanks to Steadman Harrison III, CEO of GO, and Senior Associate for the Center for Creative Leadership.
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