Swarthmore College, What Are Your Values?

Swarthmore College has a current endowment of $1.635 billion, some of which is invested in support of the fossil fuel industry, and yet historically the college has been a strong supporter of social justice in essentially all other aspects of its operation. The climate change -- fossil fuel connection does not appear to be on its radar screen.

Swarthmore's president, Rebecca Chopp, maintains that "Sometimes this is difficult, sometimes people do not agree, and sometimes it does not work the first time. But we will always be proud that Swarthmore is a college that supports debate and disagreement. "

Rebecca, may I offer a thought for your kind consideration? Over the last 30 years, I have found in my studies that people who achieve success and long-term personal fulfillment all follow the same formula. I have also found that this formula works for institutions, as well. After all, institutions are but a collection of individuals, hopefully motivated and pulling together in the same direction to achieve a common set of agreed-upon goals.

It always starts with what you're really good at and love to do. I call it your Essence. And when you connect your Essence with something in the world that makes it a better place in which to live you have found your Life Purpose. This discovery ignites amazing levels of Passion which generate intense and extended levels of physical and emotional Energy.

The result is an open channel between the left and rights hemispheres of your brain leading to immense Creativity and Innovation. As a consequence of this pathway, you are able to meet challenges that could never have been met successfully under normal circumstances. The end result is a Return, which can be financial, psychological, emotional, spiritual, or some combination of all four.

This all leads to a deep sense of Gratitude, which is ALWAYS the basis for Fulfillment. And when this process is meshed intimately with your True Values -- how you choose to live your life -- you are on a path to Long-term Fulfillment.

It seems to me that Swarthmore has it all down pat up to True Values. I am not suggesting that the college does not have a set of stated values. I am simply asking, "Are they your True Values, i.e., those by which you live every aspect of your operation? And, do all of your stakeholders -- students, parents, professors, investors, suppliers, the community, the world -- know what they are?

In accessing your True Values, I make no moral or ethical judgment. You simply must discover and admit to the way you wish to live your life, and never say one thing, but feel best doing another. The father who is content to neglect his family and put all of his energies into his profession should not wave a values flag that says his family comes first.

True Values are not values that the organization thinks should guide its every move. They are values that deep down in your very soul are embraced by the constituents of the enterprise. If these values are supported by the majority, in time those who do not embrace them leave. They feel a strong sense of discomfort. Over time, the... (continue to full article here)