The Guiding Principles were established in April 2001 by the Leadership Program Steering Team, which consisted of four Executive Leadership Team (ELT) members, a Regional Executive, and the Leadership Program Manager. Since this team was to provide guidance for the direction of the USGS Leadership Program, they first wanted to determine what the leadership behaviors were that they wanted every employee in the USGS to exemplify. With having just completed a particularly difficult ELT meeting the week before, they realized that as the ELT, they had not always modeled leadership. So they started the discussion around the behaviors they thought the ELT should live by. After several hours on that topic, they realized that the behaviors they wanted to model were exactly the same behaviors they wanted every employee to live by.
The goal of the U.S. Geological Survey is that all employees maintain a high degree of integrity, the foundation of the Guiding Principles. These principles are the behaviors that we each need to hold ourselves accountable for. The most important place for us to focus on as we review the Guiding Principles is ourselves. Ask yourself each day, "How did I do with each of the Guiding Principles today? Where did I do well? Where could I improve?" There are many creative ways that you can bring the principles into staff meetings, informal debriefings, and daily conversations to help people work more effectively together. If we each take personal responsibility to live by these principles, the USGS will be the most outstanding place to work.
View the Guiding Principles presentation (19 page PDF).
View a copy of the Guiding Principles card (9 x 6, 14MB PDF file).
View the Guiding Principles poster (21 x 33 1MB PDF file).
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If you plan to display or distribute the Guiding Principles poster, we recommend that you discuss the purpose and value of the USGS Guiding Principles. Communication about the principles helps people to understand them and can initiate ongoing dialogue about the importance of living them.