Walking your talk

This is important to us,
this is what we care about,
this is what we believe,
this is what we like to do,
this is the kind of people we are,
this is our culture.

I arrived expecting a formal conversation, sat around a table with a glass of water and a notebook. I had questions I wanted to ask, things I wanted to learn about them. I knew I had to show my best self. I wanted to fit in.

One of my first job opportunities after university I approached a small company in Durham in the North of England, led by two social activists that were extremely passionate about public sector change and leading innovation projects.

I rang the doorbell of their home office and was greeted by Cameron, the company Director. But instead of inviting me in, he invited me out.

After a warm welcome and a brief hello to follow on from our phone conversation, he said;

 “We always start our day with a walk. And while we walk, we pick up any litter or rubbish we find. Are you okay to walk and talk?”

I was warmed by his presence and obvious passion for making a difference. They were doing whatever they could to make the world better place, on a large public scale, but also on a small scale – as in right now.

They were living their true values and giving me the opportunity to see how they operated. To see their beliefs in action. To see what they cared about.

If I was going to fit in, it was going to be with a litter picking stick in one hand and a sense of responsibility in the other.

A huge lesson in living values.

A great walk and that allowed us to connect on a much deeper level than a posh table could have offered.

Appropriate, authentic and aspirational

How are you living your values?

How do you show people what you believe in?

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