About Our Guiding Values

Organizational Attention Directs and Constrains Organizational Function

Our guiding values operate to direct our organizational attention because we will only make discoveries when they are within the scope of our attention. After all, we can hardly expect to see something that exists where we aren’t looking. But where should we be looking?

We recognize that default attempts to satisfy the apparent mandates of the norms of business-as-usual can easily monopolize organizational attention, threatening to leave little or no organizational attention available for exploring vectors of discovery and innovation. We recognize that these norm-based organizational attention deficit disorders (NOADDs) severely limit free markets’ potential for social transformation and self-regulation. And we were founded on the belief that activating such potential is essential for the sustainable and equitable function of a mature economy and society. 

While NOADDs function as strategic blinders for all organizations, they can be particularly stifling to the intentions of impact innovators. We chose our guiding values because they function to remedy common organizational attention disorders that restrict social entrepreneurs’ transformational impact. We’re tired of seeing impact innovations co-opted by the prevailing norms of “business as usual” rather than achieving their full transformational potential to function as drivers of broad and lasting social progress.

Our Guiding Values Are Functions, Not Rules

Our guiding values continually function to remind us of known strategic blinders and to suggest ways to discover the vectors of possibility and innovation they obscure. The point isn’t that every Fairpoint Mutual project must be a perfect expression of ideals implied by our guiding values. (To do so would make our guiding values into rules rather than functions, and rule-based systems are known to generate unstable and chaotic dynamics.) The point is that each Fairpoint Mutual project should pay attention to the potential strategic pitfalls of operating according to the norms of “business as usual,” as well as to the potential strategic benefits of seeing those norms as the blinders that they are. Our guiding values remind us to take the steps necessary to discover possibilities that would remain obscured without taking deliberate action to reveal them.