A Personal Charter

A Personal Charter

[From the Archive: Originally posted at Amplify.com Oct 30, 2009]

It seems clear to me that many HR people do not like Personal Charters. I find this inexplicable, but I have seen it often enough to believe it’s a real phenomenon. In any case, as the kinds of organisation I favour working with do not have HR people or departments (i.e. the Synergistically-minded organisations), then publishing my own charter (dating back some fifteen years now) acts as some kind of filter for the opportunities I don’t want.

So, that having been said, why publish a Charter anyway? I have found e.g. Project Charters help immensely in productively managing expectations between the various parties involved in software development and similar group endeavours. And I believe all coaches can benefit from having a charter to hand when interacting with players and prospective players. In short, a charter helps folks know where they stand. I hope you can keep me honest and point out the occasions if and when I fail to live up to mine:

My Charter

Amongst the things I value personally, I count honesty, integrity, openness, generosity, altruism and non-violence. I share the view that people relate and cooperate best when they share a common set of values. I don’t believe any particular set of values makes for a better or worse kind of person per se.

I believe my vocation lies in helping others – which consequently drives most of what I do. Balancing that comes the understanding that people only value and appreciate help when they’re truly ready for it.

I find myself constantly amazed, delighted and perplexed by the infinity diversity of people’s perspectives, and their interpretations of their own personal experiences. I believe I shall never tire of exploring that diversity.

Perhaps because I’m British, I regard the term ‘friend’ to mean ‘a person one knows well and regards with affection and trust’ rather than e.g. ‘a person with whom one is acquainted’. That doesn’t mean we can’t become friends.

I have no wish to challenge your point of view, or beliefs – unless you’d like me to. If you blog or tweet, I will infer that you would indeed like me to.

I welcome enquiry-oriented dialogue and certainly value your challenging my point of view – but I’d also appreciate it if you’d refrain from simply trying to have me adopt yours, or censure my opinion.

If you ask me for my help, I’ll gladly and freely give it – except where it might compromise my values. If after a while I don’t seem to be making a difference, I might seek to withdraw – but only after discussion and with your informed consent, if possible.

Words offer a poor channel for communication – written words even more so. Inevitably then, we will sometimes misunderstand each other. I for my part will try to anticipate, identify and correct such misunderstandings. Sometimes unchecked misunderstandings may result in a certain emotional frisson. Hopefully we can all try to remember this.

I believe in letting people know how I see the world – in the hope that this knowledge might improve communication and trust, and with the full understanding that this might occasionally cause unintended discomfort or be mistaken for a posture of conflict or confrontation.

I hold the view that criticism – particularly constructive criticism – generally rewards the giver rather more than the recipient. So, expect to see me using a more Socratic and non-violent approach.

To the extent that you come to appreciate my contribution, you may care to reciprocate – but it’s not part of the deal.

And of course, I will treat anything you tell me in the strictest confidence, should you so wish it.

– Bob

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