Thursday, December 18, 2014

Organisational Adultery

The trend of "refreshing" Organisational Values becomes rather interesting as it suggests immediately that the current values are not valued, not understood, or are not contemporary enough.

Any review of values should be to reflect who we are, however I see many organisations simply trying to reword the language as if somehow it may help our performance or improve culture.

From the outset your values are a statement of “YOUR” values. Simply that. Not something you aspire to, or wish you had, as if its a signpost to some distant location or be confused with a mission statement or vision. They should be the ones you actually have.

The only reason you should write them down is to share them with your people and commit them to each other. A bit like marriage vows.

We often get lost however in the flamboyancy of the wedding day, the word crafting, the artwork and decor rather than the actual "Marriage".

So the question begs, why are we attempting to change them? Did we not fully understand them in the first place? Unless we are totally talking a different culture or language that our partners understand, "what is it" we are trying to change.

More likely its us.

Pulling together and not apart requires a relationship that depends on a common belief, commitment and trust in each other. "A team is not a group of people who work together its a group of people who trust each other”.

So how is our trust relationship? If the organisation can’t see the current values being played out then any trust or validity in the values statement is broken and it becomes tarnished or irrelevant.

Its akin to an adulterous husband or wife suggesting to their spouse that changing or modifying the marriage vows will make our relationship better.

So whats driving that suggestion? Is our relationship weak or wandering? Do I need a new contract to assure me? If we didn't trust the first commitment how is this different?

The first step here may be repentance. In an organisation the culture is set from the top not the bottom. So where does that leave the leadership?

How strong is the relationship with your people, and how much do you care to make yourself vulnerable?

Can your people trust you? Do you trust them?

Is refreshing your values just a distraction to the real problem. Was it all about the wedding and not the marriage? Are you avoiding your infidelity being discovered? Is your relationship strong enough to survive discovery?

If you can’t get past this aspect then the relationship is already broken. It must be stripped down completely and rebuilt.

"Who you are is what you say and how you behave when no-one is looking".

So where are you at with your organisational values. Are they your values, or are they only aspirational?

If your commitment is expressed every day in every way then a refresh or even a recommitment should be unnecessary?

Or are you just being contemporary?

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