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The Key – doing what we say

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We all know of organisations that tout their values as part of their image, but fail to live up to them. Take Enron, for example. Its stated values were respect, integrity, communication and excellence, shortly before the firm collapsed into moral and financial bankruptcy.

The Key has been supporting schools for more than seven years now, and our core values have underpinned our work. We’ve always believed in being member-led, trustworthy, pioneering, and committed to high quality.

As a small, close-knit team, we developed a strong professional culture, and we've worked hard to maintain this as we've grown. Over the past year, we've more than than doubled in size, so we decided it was a good time to spell out what our values mean in practice.

We wanted to make sure we are living our values, not just pinning them up on the wall.

Our starting point was our belief that The Key supports the needs and interests of our members, and their aspirations for their schools. We earn and deserve members' trust through our unwavering commitment to quality. We are pioneering in that we constantly seek and find ways to improve and extend the services we offer.

We reflected on our company culture, and identified key points that help us to live our values. Here are five of the most important:

  1. Integrity and honesty are at the heart of our business
    We believe in the worth of the work we do and the services we provide. We are honest about what we can and can't do. We don't mislead, misrepresent, cover up or exploit. We say the same things inside and outside the company about our work, our colleagues and our members. And we are honest about our mistakes and quick to correct them.
  2. Our members’ interests always come first
    We actively seek to understand our members and their contexts, and act on their feedback. The dedication of our people to our members, and the intense effort they put into their work, are greater than in most other organisations. Simply put, we try harder.
  3. We constantly strive to anticipate the rapidly changing needs of our members and develop new services to meet those needs
    The world of education and technology does not stand still. We stay close to our members and to the sector by using surveys, networking, professional dialogue, our data, and other means. As a pioneer in knowledge management, and in publishing information in response to questions, we also use our insights to anticipate professional developments and needs, and provide new forms of support.
  4. We stress teamwork in everything we do
    While individual creativity is encouraged, we are genuinely a learning organisation, and so we expect our people to share their knowledge and skills. We encourage the maximum co-operation and team effort, and we celebrate success as a team.
  5. We go the extra mile to identify and recruit the very best person for every job
    We select our people extremely carefully. They need to be highly intelligent and hardworking, and committed to our values. We expect high standards, high performance, and the utmost integrity.

We hope that school leaders and governors recognise our ambition to provide high-quality services, and trust us to live up to that ambition.

And of course, we’re not complacent. We hope that we'll grow over the next seven years, too, and we're committed to keep on learning and improving. Your feedback helps us do that, so we're always pleased to receive your thoughts on our services, and on how well we're living up to our values.

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