Eight NCDA Values: Linking the Past, Present, and Future

By Hyung Joon Yoon

Let’s suppose that NCDA is a client seeking career development. As a facilitator of career development, we determine that assessing values is one of the important tasks. What are the values of NCDA that can guide its day-to-day and long-term decision making? As a Presidential taskforce formed by Paul Timmins in 2018, the NCDA Values Research Team embarked on exploring NCDA’s organizational values by listening to our members’ voices and focusing on the following two questions: (a) What values were evident through NCDA members’ positive experiences with NCDA? (b) What values do NCDA members aspire to see from NCDA?

A Positive Approach to Discovering Organizational Values

We approached the values identification process from a positive psychology perspective employing Appreciative Inquiry (AI; Cooperrider & Whitney, 1999). AI adopts the 4D Model with the phases listed below. Values identification falls under the Discover phase.

Discover: discovering the positive core of the organization
Dream: envisioning potential future images of the organization based on the positive core
Design: creating the mechanism for fulfilling the dreams
Destiny: turning the dreams into destiny by carrying out the plan.

While using AI as a procedural model for the entire project, we adopted the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique (ECIT; Butterfield, Borgen, Marglio, & Amundson, 2009) for the Discover phase. Through a series of member interviews in addition to an electronic survey sent out to all NCDA members, we were able to identify and sort both attributed values and aspirational values. Attributed values are something that our members actually experienced and present in the organization. Aspirational values are something that our members wish to see more often. We explored both types of values in an attempt to identify any values gaps while keeping a positive perspective. In an effort to focus on the positive, we intentionally omitted exploring hindering factors.

NCDA’s Eight Core Values

Following the ECIT tradition, we identified eight values comprised of six attributed values including community, professionalism, diversity and inclusion, competency, integrity, and inspiration, and two aspirational values: innovation and accountability. These positive core values will, if utilized in a thoughtful and engaging manner, allow NCDA to be culturally unifying in fulfilling its mission and enrich NCDA’s organizational capacity. We defined the eight values based on the comments from member interviews and survey responses to ensure clarity and to reflect the spirit of individual statements.

  1. Community. Lead and engage members and other career development professionals to create a professional community and foster a sense of belonging.
  2. Professionalism. Value and deliver high quality, professional, responsive, and innovative service and resources to NCDA members and career development practitioners.
  3. Diversity and Inclusion. Foster a diverse and inclusive environment for all members to be engaged by addressing the unique needs of diverse members and clients.
  4. Integrity. Dedicated to being personally, professionally, and socially responsible by promoting strong ethical codes and norms for members to follow.
  5. Competency. Develop competencies for career practitioners through, learning opportunities and resources and recognize competency through credentialing.
  6. Inspiration. Inspire NCDA members by offering memorable events and professional development opportunities.
  7. Innovation. Use innovative ideas, technologies, and practices to create opportunities for members to share with the larger, professional community, contributing to the current and future success of the organization.
  8. Accountability. Committed to being accountable to the membership and the governing policies of NCDA.

The defined values through this research address “how we function” as an organization in fulfilling NCDA’s mission to “provide professional development, publications, standards, and advocacy to practitioners and educators who inspire and empower individuals to achieve their career and life goals.” Exercising the values can be useful in the following areas:

  • decision-making process at different levels in the organization;
  • performing various tasks;
  • internal communication within and across different committees and internal groups;
  • internal communication with its members; and
  • external communication with other organizations and affiliates.

Where Do We Go From Here?

In order to build NCDA’s future (dream phase) based on the values that our members expressed, we are administering a final survey (a) to prioritize the values and (b) to envision a possible future state of NCDA where each of the values is evident. If you have not participated in the survey, yet, you can still add your input by taking the survey. Please make NCDA yours by participating. While this is intended to be a member-only survey, you could take it even if you are a non-NCDA member as long as you know about NCDA.

Survey link: https://pennstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9HzdzjbEBW9ea9L

Here are some questions that you can consider in responding to the survey. You may also wish to see the preliminary results before taking the survey.

  • What would NCDA, as your community, look like in the future (community)?
  • How could it continue to provide intimate environment among members (community)?
  • How could NCDA provide professional development opportunities in an innovative way (professionalism and innovation)?
  • What activities should NCDA pursue in order to remain socially, ethically, and professionally responsible (integrity)?
  • What could NCDA do differently in assisting career professionals to be competent in delivering career services (competency)?
  • How could NCDA continue to be a source of inspiration for you (inspiration)?
  • What would NCDA’s membership and leadership look like (diversity and inclusion)?
  • How could NCDA be even more accountable to its membership (accountability)?

In closing, we should note that NCDA has been practicing these values for the last 105 years. We can make NCDA even greater in the next 100 year to come, honoring its history and members’ aspirations at the present moment.



Butterfield, L. D., Borgen, W. A., Maglio, A. T., & Amundson, N. E. (2009). Using the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique in counseling psychology research. Canadian Journal of Counseling, 43, 265-282.

Cooperrider, D. L., & Whitney, D. (1999). Appreciative inquiry: Collaborating for change. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.


Hyung Joon Yoon 2019Hyung Joon YoonPh.D., CCSP, SPHR, is an assistant professor in the Human Resource Development (HRD) and Organization Development (OD) emphasis of the Workforce Education and Development program at the Pennsylvania State University. Over the last 20 years, he has helped teams and organizations to identify their shared values, core competencies, mission, and vision statements in his organizational consulting roles. He is currently an NCDA board member (Trustee-at-Large; 2013-2019). He can be reached at drmtree@gmail.com



Ron BanerjeeS. Ron Banerjee, MPS, CFS, CLTC, is a financial professional for Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. Ron received a BA in Communication Arts and Sciences (2014) and MPS in Organization Development and Change (2016) from the Pennsylvania State University where he is currently a doctoral student in Workforce Education and Development. Ron currently resides in State College, Pennsylvania.



Jamie CampbellJamie Campbell, M.Ed., currently is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Workforce Education Program with concentrations in Organization Design and Human Resource Development at The Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on Succession Planning as a form of Crisis Management. He is a 1995 graduate of Morehouse College (Sociology, BA). He obtained his M.Ed. with concentrations in Adult Education and Instructional Education from Central Michigan University in 2003.



Willie VigilWillie Vigil, Jr., MPS, LSS-GB, MCP, CNA, CCA, DFM II, is in his second year as a Ph.D. student in Workforce Education and Development at the Pennsylvania State University. He is employed by the U.S. Department of Defense for the past 35 years and has received numerous awards. His area of expertise covers strategic planning, continuous process improvement, information technology, US Army-Malcolm Baldrige criteria, and organization development.




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