Values 101 @ Shotover

By Ben Witheford

By Ben Witheford

Reading our plan on a page, you’ll quickly identify there seem to be quite a few values.  This, on the face of it, may seem like value overload and could even risk the chance of watering down many, if not all of them.  However, this is a method and thought in the “value madness”, so to speak.  

At Shotover, we have three value groups; core values, aspirational values and permission to play values.

Core Values

Let’s start with those values that by name seem to be and are, I can tell you, the most important. These values are brand new at Shotover in 2019; we only have three and there are two really critical things that should be noted about our core values, aside of course from what they are.

The core values are values that we believe already exist and can be observed in action at Shotover.  Contrast this with a value that is aspirational in nature, a value that through design and experience you’d hope an individual or group develops.  The design phase for finding these three core values leads us to confidently state that they are already on display at Shotover. When we say on display, we are referring to the paid adults with the organisation. Over time, we believe many of our children will also demonstrate this too; if for no other reason they’ll be heavily influenced by the model they observe in the staff.

Aspirational Values

The actual values that we call our aspirational values are not new to anyone connected to Shotover, those of Growth Mindset, Curiosity, Thinking, Joy and Collaboration. They have been with us since day one.  


As the name suggests they are something we aspire for all Shotover people, but particularly our children. They are referenced many times in many different ways through Shotover life; value awards at assemblies and when Mentors are teaching and coaching children, to name just a couple.  By virtue of being aspirational, no one actually reaches a point where they can say I now have a growth mindset, or I always display a state of curiosity.  We are on a journey; a pathway of developing these values within our life.

Permission to Play Values

Shotover Primary’s Plan on a Page

Shotover Primary’s Plan on a Page

The permission to play values existed before 2019, however; we referred to them as our professional norms.  Of the three value sets, this one only applies to the staff. The core values and aspirational values are for all Shotover people.  This set is intended to give staff, regardless of rank and role, a principle-based guide as to how they should conduct themselves with each other.  

In a separate post, we’ll go into some granular detail about each value and how you might see them in action.  At this point in time, it’s important to know a couple of things about how they came to be.  They were originally designed by the staff at the beginning of 2017 and have been through a couple of iterations since.  What you can see on the plan on a page is the name of each value.  We have an accompanying document that gives staff a fuller description of each one and guidance as to what each one might look like in action.

There you go, Shotover values 101.  We hope and trust that while on the face of it there may appear to be a few values, there is a great deal of thinking behind the resulting values.

Ref:  Patrick Lencioni - The Advantage.