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Core Values and Concepts

These beliefs and behaviors are embedded in high-performing communities. They are the foundation of community performance excellence and the results-oriented framework that creates a basis for action, feedback, and sustainability.

Core Values and Concepts:

  • Community Systems Perspective
  • Visionary Community Leadership
  • Ethics and Transparency
  • Resident and Customer Engagement
  • Valuing Diversity and Inclusiveness
  • Building and Sharing Knowledge
  • Agility
  • Focus on the Future
  • Encouraging Innovation
  • Measuring Performance
  • Societal Responsibility
  • Focus on Excellence
  • Delivering Value and Results

Community Systems Perspective

A Community Systems Perspective means viewing your community as more than just the sum of its individual parts. A community of excellence views itself as a unified whole, with the different community groups, workforce groups, resident groups, and stakeholders actively aligned and collaborating to produce results.

Visionary Community Leadership

Your community’s formal and informal leaders should set a vision for the community, create a resident focus, demonstrate clear and visible community values and ethics, and set high expectations for the people and organizations in community.

Ethics and Transparency

Community leaders should demonstrate ethical behavior and transparency in all community interactions. Formal and Informal leaders should be role models for the community's ethical principles, deserving of trust by their community. Transparency is characterized by consistently candid and open communication by community leaders and by the sharing of clear and accurate information.

Resident and Customer Engagement

Residents and other customers are the ultimate judges and beneficiaries in a high performing community. To engage residents and other customers adequately requires deep knowledge of their needs and priorities.

Valuing Diversity and Inclusiveness

Communities of Excellence recognize the importance of celebrating diversity and actively seeking to include diverse opinions. They acknowledge that they must engage and include all of their residents as full participants who work together to create and enjoy living in a community of excellence.

Building and Sharing Knowledge

Building and Sharing knowledge includes documenting past and current successful efforts and sharing those successes with other community groups and communities across the country to benefit all our residents.


Communities of Excellence strive to act quickly and move nimbly in recognizing and addressing challenges and opportunities. They work to streamline processes to achieve their ends with minimum extraneous work while at the same time recognizing the importance of allowing all interested parties to contribute.

Focus on the Future

Taking the long view — how will this decision affect our children’s children? — is a key criterion when making decisions that affect the health and well-being of the community. Recognizing the importance of helping grow the next generation of residents to assume formal and informal community leadership positions, Communities of Excellence place special emphasis on ensuring that all their children have equal opportunity and support to grow into productive, engaged community residents.

Encouraging Innovation

Innovation means making meaningful change to improve your community's health, educational status, economic vitality, and safety, with the purpose of creating new value for residents, other customers, and stakeholders. Innovation should lead your community to new dimensions of performance. Innovation requires a supportive environment, a process for identifying strategic opportunities, and the pursuit of intelligent risks.

Measuring Performance

Measuring performance should provide critical data and information about key indicators, resident groups, community engagement, processes, and information sharing. Selected measurements should derive from your community’s needs and strategic objectives.

Mutual Societal Responsibility

Your community’s leaders should recognize the value of the businesses, organizations, and community groups that operate in a high-performing community. A community of excellence works to engage and align these groups’ efforts towards societal well-being to achieve maximum impact and mutual benefit for a community’s residents and the businesses, organizations and community groups that are based there.

Focus on Excellence

A focus on excellence involves focusing on not just results, but the processes and relationships that help create those results in communities. Communities of Excellence benchmark both results and processes and understand the difference between incremental improvement and direct comparison to best-in-class performance, striving for the latter.

Delivering Value and Results

By delivering value to community groups, residents, and other customers, your community contributes to the improved health status, increased educational attainment, and increasing vitality of society as a whole. Your community’s performance indicators need to focus on key results. These results needs to be a composite of measures that include process results, resident and other customer results, people and organizational results, leadership results, and strategy results, all with the objective of improving your community’s performance in health status, educational attainment, economic vitality, and safety.