At the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, we bring diverse groups together to build a vibrant Jewish community. The 30 “Fundamentals” that follow describe the daily practices that help us to achieve our mission, and to live our Core Values.

1 | DO THE RIGHT THING, ALWAYS. Demonstrate an unwavering commitment to doing the right thing in every action you take and in every decision you make, especially when no one’s looking. Always tell the truth, no matter the consequences. If you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize and make it right. Be impeccable with your word.

2 | PRACTICE HUMAN CONNECTION. Listen for, and pay attention to, the unique things that make people special. Use handwritten notes, personal cards, and timely encounters or phone calls to acknowledge them, and to show your appreciation for them.

3 | TAKE OWNERSHIP. Take personal responsibility for making things happen – somehow, someway. Respond to every situation by looking for how we can do it, rather than explaining why it can’t be done. Be resourceful and show initiative.

4 | BE THERE FOR EACH OTHER. Be there for each other and be willing to step into another role or help a co-worker when that’s what’s required for success. There’s no such thing as one person or one department succeeding and another falling short. Consider how your actions impact your teammates. We win and lose as a team.

5 | PRACTICE BLAMELESS PROBLEM-SOLVING. Just fix it. Apply your creativity and enthusiasm to developing solutions, rather than pointing fingers or dwelling on problems. Identify lessons learned and use those lessons to improve ourselves and our processes so we don’t make the same mistake twice. Learn from every experience.

6 | RESPECT CONFIDENTIALITY. Our volunteers, donors, and their families share information with us because they trust us. Honor that trust by keeping their information in confidence and taking appropriate steps to safeguard how and where it’s used. The same is true for information about our own agency as well as about your teammates.

7 | GO THE EXTRA MILE. Be willing to do whatever it takes to solve the problem or to accomplish the job . . . plus a little bit more. Whether it’s starting early or staying late when necessary, or doing something that’s not in your job description, it’s the extra mile that separates the ordinary from the extraordinary. 

8 | BE HUMBLE. Don’t let your own ego get in the way of doing what’s best for the team and for our various stakeholders, even when it can be trying. Don’t take things personally. Be open to learning from others, no matter what role they have, and regardless of their age, experience, or years with the agency. Everyone has something he/she can teach us, and everyone’s perspective has value.

9 | CREATE A TONE OF FRIENDLINESS AND WARMTH. Every inter-action, whether it’s face-to-face, a phone call, e-mail, letter, or even a voicemail, makes an impression. Pay attention to every interaction to make sure that you’re displaying a tone of friendliness, warmth, and helpfulness. This is as true for every member of our extended community as it is for the wealthy donor.

10 | GET CLEAR ON EXPECTATIONS. Create clarity and avoid misunderstandings by discussing expectations upfront. Set expectations for others and ask when you’re not clear on what they expect of you. Where appropriate, confirm expectations in writing.

11 | ALWAYS ASK WHY. Know the reason for your actions. Will this help you accomplish the goal? Don’t accept anything at “face value” if it doesn’t make sense to you. Be curious and question what you don’t understand. Healthy, vigorous debate creates better solutions. There’s no better question than “Why?” Never stop asking it.

12 | FIX PROBLEMS AT THE SOURCE. Address issues by discovering the root cause rather than simply tackling the symptoms. It’s better to invest time in developing a long-term solution rather than simply putting on a “Band-Aid.”

13 | LISTEN GENEROUSLY. Listening is more than simply “not speaking.” Give others your undivided attention. Be present and engaged. Quiet the noise in your head and let go of the need to agree or disagree. Suspend your judgment and be curious to know more, rather than jumping to conclusions. Above all, listen to understand.

14 | SPEAK STRAIGHT. Speak honestly in a way that moves the action forward. Say what you mean, and be willing to ask questions, share ideas, or raise issues that may cause conflict when it’s necessary for team success. At the same time, practice alignment by fully supporting decisions once they’ve been made. Address issues directly with those who are involved or affected.

15 | BE MISSION-DRIVEN. Demonstrate a passion for our mission. Understand the difference we make in people’s lives and the full impact we have. As you make decisions, learn to think about the broader community. How does this decision affect our partners and other stakeholders? How does it affect the community at large? Remember, you’re part of something bigger than yourself.

16 | SHARE INFORMATION THOUGHTFULLY. With appropriate respect for confidentiality, share information freely throughout the organization. The more people know, the better we can collaborate. Learn to ask yourself, “Who else needs to know this?”

17 | CREATE WIN/WIN SOLUTIONS. It’s a 2-way street. Learn to think from others’ perspective. Discover what they need and find a way to help them meet those needs while also fulfilling your own. Show empathy. The better you understand them, the better will be your decisions and responses.

18 | BE A LIFETIME LEARNER. Seek out and take advantage of every opportunity to gain more knowledge, to increase your skills, and to become a greater expert. Be resourceful about learning and sharing best practices.

19 | LEAD BY EXAMPLE. The best way to influence others is through your own example. Take responsibility, both formally and informally, to coach, guide, teach, and mentor others. Walk the talk. 

20 | HONOR COMMITMENTS. There’s no better way to earn people’s trust than to be true to your word. Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it. This includes being on time for all phone calls, appointments, meetings, and promises. If a commitment can’t be fulfilled, notify others early and agree on a new timeframe to be honored.

21 | BE PROACTIVE. Plan your work. Solve problems before they happen by anticipating future needs or opportunities and addressing them in advance.  Looking ahead allows us to better capitalize on opportunities, and to prevent issues instead of fixing them.

22 | BE IN THE GRAY ZONE. Not everything in life and work is black and white. While pushing for clarity, learn to accept the ambiguity that’s inevitable in the complex web of connections, relationships, and reporting structures that forms our world. Though we have policies and procedures, you often need to be in the gray zone, where guidelines and guiding principles are more important than following a rule.

23 | EMBRACE CHANGE. What got us here is not the same as what will get us to the next level. Get outside your comfort zone, rather than stubbornly hanging on to old ways of doing things. Be excited by the possibilities that change brings.

24 | SHOW GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION. Be grateful for the opportunities and blessings we have, and for those who contributed to them. Recognizing people doing things right is more effective than pointing out when they do things wrong. Regularly extend meaningful acknowledgment and appreciation — in all directions throughout our organization and celebrate our successes.

25 | “BRING IT” EVERY DAY. Be present, passionate, and fully engaged. Make the most of each day by approaching every task with energy, focus, purpose, and enthusiasm. Your passion provides the electricity that makes JFC an exciting place to be.

26 | EMBRACE DIVERSITY. Know and celebrate what makes each of us unique. Be curious about and welcome backgrounds and perspectives different from your own. Everyone has something they can contribute.

27 | ASSUME POSITIVE INTENT. Work from the assumption that people are good, fair, and honest, and that the intent behind their actions is positive. Set aside your own judgments and preconceived notions. Give people the benefit of the doubt.

28 | INVEST IN RELATIONSHIPS. Everything we do is built on trust and trust is built on relationships. Make sound decisions that enhance long-term relationships. Show people you care about them as individuals, rather than as transactions. Strong relationships are the foundation of what we do, and they enable us to serve people better, as well as to work through difficult issues and challenging times.

29 | ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT WE’RE A FAMILY. Our relationships go deeper than simply being teammates at work. We genuinely care for and about each other. Whether it’s a kind word during a tough stretch, a friendly smile each morning, or a helping hand in stressful times, show your compassion.

30 | KEEP THINGS FUN. While our passion for excellence is real, remember that the world has bigger problems than the daily challenges that make up our work. Stuff happens. Keep perspective. Don’t take things personally or take yourself too seriously. Laugh every day.