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THE VALUES OF THE COMPASS FELLOWSHIP


Contents Hey! .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 2 Mission Statement............................................................................................................................................................................................................ 3 1. Participate Proactively .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 4 2. Commit Unreasonably .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 5 3. Live Consciously ............................................................................................................................................................................................................ 6 4. Think Adventurously ..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 7

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Hey! When we got together to put down the values of The Compass Fellowship on paper, we realized that we had all put so much thought into this subject, that we could probably write a book. So we did. But you’re an entrepreneur. Your time is very valuable, and so we’ve taken pains to keep it short, simple, and to the point. If you’re already running late to brunch, then here’s the short, short version:

The Core Compass Values 1. 2. 3. 4.

Participate Proactively Commit Unreasonably Live Consciously Think Adventurously

These values reflect the fundamental principles that members of Compass have shared since the beginning. This Values Guide is required reading for every member of Compass. We select students for our program on the basis of these values, and they are an integral part of everything we do. More than simply reading these words, reciting them, or even committing them to memory (which are all nice things, too), your real challenge as a member of Compass lies in committing yourself to these values. This small handbook was scribed for this very reason: to formalize the Compass values, to provide context to them, and to demonstrate how members of Compass can live and breathe these values every day.

“Many companies have core values, but they don’t really commit to them…. Don’t make your core values just a meaningless plaque on the wall.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

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Mission Statement The Compass Fellowship identifies passionate young innovators and, supported by a global community of mentors, empowers them to create meaningful solutions to the world’s greatest problems.

Our mission statement is our best attempt at explaining both what The Compass Fellowship is made of and what we endeavor to accomplish with the program. The mission refers to the three pillars of our program, which appear below. Our core values bind and reinforce this structure.

Passionate Young Innovators The Compass Fellowship is foremost a program for entrepreneurs. They are the building blocks of the program, and we are focused on the development of our people more than the ventures they create. Our values mirror the qualities we look to develop in our student entrepreneurs and set high standards for participation, commitment, and achievement.

Global Community of Mentors

Focus on Social Impact

The Compass Community is comprised of students, academics, professionals, and entrepreneurs all over the world, who freely exchange their ideas, knowledge, and skills with one-another through mentorship. Our community members actively contribute their time because they share our vision and resonate with our core values.

Ultimately, we just want to make the world a better place. Truly living our values means more than just having good intentions behind the program. Developing our people and fostering our community are aimed at the ultimate goal of developing solutions that work and lead to real social impact.

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1. Participate Proactively As a member of the Compass Family and the global community, be actively engaged. Contribute to conversations. Embrace your strengths and share your knowledge and skills. Reveal your weaknesses and actively seek the help of others.

Be a Part of the Conversation Compass entrepreneurs love people, and they love to exchange and discuss new ideas. Never close the door on a conversation, if you can help it. You never know what hilarious new jokes you might learn, but more importantly, you’ll be exposed to information and perspectives that could shed light on a difficult problem. You have been selected to be a part of this community, because you hold yourself to a higher standard. You see yourself as a real person, a voice, and a significant opinion in the communities to which you belong both locally and globally.

Learn from Others Be humble enough to realize you don’t know everything. It’s hard to imagine, right? We know this is a vice to which many entrepreneurs are susceptible. Acknowledge your weaknesses, identify what you need to learn, and seek experts who can help you.

We say: don’t wait until graduation day to suddenly grow up! Become a part of the real world now. Talk with adults and professionals and conduct yourself as one. This may require a shift in mindset, but it’s also very practical advice. By being bold, you can build your professional network early and open doors to nearly limitless opportunities.

Don’t wait until graduation day to suddenly grow up!

How We Live It  We share. Our e-mail archives are packed with articles we have shared over the Compass listserv along with long chains of discussion that followed. Every time we read something interesting, we share it along with our thoughts.

Be a Mentor to Others The Compass Community makes it easy to find people who have ‘been there,’ because everyone in this community has made an unreasonable commitment (value #2) to sharing their experience with the rest of the community. As a part of the community, you ought to take advantage of this tremendous resource but also realize your responsibility to contribute and mentor others.

Be a “Real Person” College life can be a bit sheltered, and at times it’s tempting to think of yourself as isolated from the “real world.” Many times, college students fall into the trap of deferring their involvement with the global community, because they don’t yet feel like a “real person” who is capable of making real impact. Instead, they continue to behave like children.

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2. Commit Unreasonably Bring passion and persistence to everything you do. Give more of yourself and your time to others than seems reasonable. Never settle.

Make People Say “Wow” Compass entrepreneurs are not just participants in their community, they are the superstars. We believe that you should always contribute more than is expected of you and more than others deem reasonable. Clean up other people’s messes and never complain about doing “someone else’s job.” Every time you take that extra step, you are creating a “wow moment” for others. Seize every opportunity to make others say “wow.”

Remember: we are focused on the development of people more than the

to others. In short, we commit ourselves to developing deep, lasting, and meaningful relationships.

How We Live It  We lose some sleep. After selecting their Fellows for the 2011-2012 school year, the Compass Mentors at Georgetown woke up the new Fellows at 5:00am, took them to the highest point on campus, and made them pancakes as the sun came up.  We pursue passions, not dollars. The founding members of Compass deferred and flatly rejected lucrative job opportunities to work on Compass instead and foster the growth of this community.

ventures they create.

Be Passionate and Determined, Never Settle Every member of the Compass Community has something that he or she is passionate about and is determined to doggedly pursue. We keep this spark alive by surrounding ourselves with equally excited and driven individuals. We set an example for others and lead by committing whole-heartedly to every pursuit. We never settle for adequacy, and strive to blow minds every time. We could go on….

Build Honest and Open Relationships Networking has a really bad rap, and rightly so. Many people try to get ahead by building fast and insincere relationships. Not only does this make everyone feel as slimy as un-brushed teeth, it’s simply not the best way to affect change. Compass Entrepreneurs are genuinely interested in what others are doing and are unreasonably committed to their well-being. Conversely, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open our lives

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3. Live Consciously Reflect often and deeply on the impact of your actions on the world around you. Be honest with yourself, and if you discover something that needs fixing, make a plan to mend it!

Be Reflective Personal reflection is the key to living a conscious life. Set aside ample time every week to honestly evaluate yourself, your goals and priorities, the decisions you have made, and the actions you have taken.

Develop Personally Through reflection, you should arrive at some conclusions about what is and isn’t working in your life. After that, you can work towards maintaining the good aspects, while systematically improving the not-so-good ones.

… before you can manage others in an organization, you must learn to manage yourself. Developing personally will ultimately make you a more effective and successful entrepreneur. We often say that before you can manage others in an organization, you must learn to manage yourself. Many of the skills of personal development translate directly to the development of a business.

Our Fellows and Mentors are incredibly gifted individuals who have often led very fortunate lives, and that’s exactly why we demand so much from them. We believe that being a Social Entrepreneur ultimately means being an astounding Giver.

Be Humble in Success and Honest about Failure Entrepreneurs are often portrayed as mavericks striving and succeeding entirely on their own against the world. This is rarely the case. Successful leaders of organizations are supported by strong teams. So you should realize that as a successful leader, more of your success belongs to others than you might like to think. It’s equally important to realize that the lion’s share of your failure is also your own. Admit when you’re wrong, and stay focused on the problem at hand, rather than doling out unearned praise to yourself and undeserved blame to others.

How We Live It  We hold each other accountable. Every member of Compass creates a mind map of his or her goals, shares them with others, and asks to be kept accountable to making progress

So take whatever steps are necessary to improve yourself and the systems you manage. If you do, positive vibes will ripple from you like psychedelic flowers in some groovy 1960’s animation.

Realize Your Gifts and Your Responsibility to Give Back Living consciously also means recognizing the contributions of others to your life, and the gifts and opportunities you have received, though you may never have earned them. Your inclusion in this Compass Community of Givers is itself a gift.

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4. Think Adventurously Let your imagination have no limits, and expand the boundaries of your comfort zone by thinking adventurous thoughts that lead directly to action. Set lofty goals, and be focused on creation.

Think Big, Honkin’ Adventurous Thoughts You’ll always hear entrepreneurs telling you to “Think Big,” and now you’re reading it here. At least in the creative phase, don’t allow your thoughts to be bounded by practical limitations. You may discover ways to stretch those boundaries, and the more distantly you set your goals, the more significant your steps will have to be to reach them.

Take Risks and Learn by Doing Unless your school experience has been uniquely awesome up to this point, you’re probably well-accustomed to passive learning, where you’re told what to know and what to do. This is okay in some contexts, but we believe that the best way to learn anything, especially how to start a business and change the world, is by doing it. That’s why we encourage you to think adventurous thoughts. Take control of your education. Figure out what you need to know and what you need to do to learn it. Grade yourself.

Be a Cool Geek ‘Adventurous’ is a cool word and all, but don’t discount the importance of that delightful verb ‘to think.’ Compass entrepreneurs embrace intellectual pursuits and are both thoughtful and fun-loving people. Our passions sometimes push us to the point of obsession over new information and data about our favorite subjects. We just can’t help but geek out, but that’s part of the fun and weird culture of a community that never stops learning.

At one point or another in our lives, we’ve all agonized over a difficult decision. These tough decisions are usually the result of uncertain or ambiguous outcomes. When faced with such uncomfortable decisions, our natural tendency is to delay, and hope the problem goes away. Especially in the context of business, there’s simply no time to delay challenging decisions, and often the toughest decisions must be made on the spur of the moment.

… there is no such thing as perfect information…. An effective entrepreneur and leader accepts the discomfort of imperfect information and commits to a decision, knowing that no matter what mistakes are made, it is a learning experience, and there is almost always an opportunity to turn back and recover.

How We Live It  In her goal mind map, a Mentor wrote that she would like to experience dumpster diving or skinny dipping.  A past intern with the Compass HQ staff graduated and booked a one-way ticket to Europe to pursue his interest in organic textiles.

Be Comfortable with Ambiguity One of the defining traits of an entrepreneur is the ability to be decisive in the absence of perfect information. Since there is no such thing as perfect information, this is a very convenient trait to have— and also a very powerful one.

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The Compass Fellowship identifies and empowers the most passionate young social innovators at universities around the world. To learn more, visit www.compassfellows.org


Compass Values Guide