Classroom Resource: Goal and Values

The Goal and Values PowerPoint file attached below is intended to be both an animated presentation and a poster. Companies may have multiple Goals, but for simplicity, the Robotics classroom statement presented here has a single Goal: "Group Success through Individual Achievement" - the twin ideas that everyone in the class will succeed at becoming a Creator of Technology (the Mission Statement) and we will maximize this success when every student contributes their best work and seeks/offers assistance when needed. Another key part of a company's culture is its Value system which supports its stated Goal(s). The animation in this presentation is intended introduce the Robotics Classroom Values and explain the deliberate tension which they create:

  • Results: In the High-Tech career world, results matter - period. While ideas, skills, effort and passion are vital to achieve consistent results, they alone are not enough unless they produce desired results. If a company does not make money it will go out of business and everyone loses their job. So getting results needs to be valued.
  • Quality: Short term results can sometimes be achieved by sloppily throwing things together, but Quality work is essential long term success. Quality work needs to be valued.
  • Process: Short term results can sometimes also be achieved by taking short cuts, but following prescribed Processes is necessary to get consistently great results. Process needs to be valued.
  • Timeliness: Time-to-Market is a vital concept in the High-Tech world - if your competitor beats you, they can define the market and keep you in constant catch-up mode (think iPod, iPad, etc.). There is always a deadline, so Timeliness needs to be valued.
  • Risk Taking: If you always do the same things, the same way, with the same people it won't take long for an competitor to out-innovate you. Successful companies take calculated risks when they feel the potential (uncertain) payback is worth the investment. Getting outside one's comfort zone is essential for growth, so Risk Taking needs to be Valued
  • Fun: Great companies create a great place to work. A Robotics class needs to value Fun as student learn and apply the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to become a Creator of Technology

These six values may seem like a lot to take in and apply, but they are not arbitrary. They are built on the concept of Creative Tension. If, for example, we had a company that only valued having Fun, Taking Risks and getting things done really fast (the lower three values), how long do you think such a company would stay in business? In order to maximize a Goal, a supporting value system needs to be constructed of opposing forces:

  • Results & Risk Taking are at odds, since the most predicable way to guarantee a result is to do everything the same way you've done it before - however, little or no innovation would occur. Conversely, taking excessive risks jeopardizes the likelihood of getting a result.
  • Quality & Timeliness are at odds, since Quality means sweating the details, and that takes time.
  • Process & Fun are at odds, since its a lot more fun to skip boring procedural steps and a get to the fun result - but would you want to fly on a plane where they the skipped the boring inspection steps?

Finding the sweet spot that balances the opposing Value forces is the best way to guarantee maximizing your Goal. Stepping through animation in this PowerPoint slide in SlideShow mode will help walk students through the above points.  Printing out the slide as a classroom poster will provide a tool to help remind students of these concepts.