Alignment Of Personal And Organisational Values

. "Because it matters" (personal results)

People care about business results but they really have a passion for the quality of their life. Direct personal benefits constitute an important source of reinforcing energy for sustaining change, ie it is inherently satisfying to work in a situation where people trust one another and feel aligned to a sense of common purpose. People seek joy in work, but with the "bottom-line focus" people often assume that personal needs are subservient to the business's needs. If the two needs can be aligned, change has more chance of success.

On the other hand, it is taken for granted in the traditional industrial-age model that employees are an input into the production process. This means that staff are regarded as employees first and people second. This has resulted in a lack of alignment between personal and organisational needs.

If alignment can be achieved, it has the following positive results

- committed people differ from compliant people in that the former have their own ideas and their own passions (this can be threatening for an authoritarian boss)

- as personal commitment increases, so must the ability to set boundaries and thus make healthy life choices

- sometimes personal results are often among the "undiscussables"

- there is a difference between passion and narcissism, ie recognising the importance of personal results does not mean obsessing about oneself.

. "Because my colleagues take it seriously" (networks of committed people)

Informal networks of staff interested in a common purpose, such as learning and quality initiatives, have played important roles in change management at organisations like Ford, Intel, Shell Oil, etc. Their presence has lent institutional legitimacy to projects at times when there was little direct executive support, and these networks provide a dynamic link for sharing and diffusing learning.

If in the informal network staff learn about new ideas from those whom they trust and who have no authority over them, they are not threatened and more likely to remain open-minded.

Informal networks should be allowed to flourish and be free of management control.

Organisations are a web of participation. Change the participation dynamics and you change the organisation

. "Because it works" (business results)

People will simply not invest themselves in initiatives which they don't see as leading to meaningful practical consequences, ie better business results. Again, the closer the alignment between participants' and organisational aspirations, the greater chance of success.

. Ideally "When the student is ready, the teacher appears"

Unfortunately, there are many forces at play in organisations that discourage people from asking for help, eg

- "macho" cultures as they foster an image that

"...I can do it myself..."

- asking for help is seen as a sign of incompetence and weakness as managers must create a perception that they have all the answers

- "don't know what they don't know", ie managers do not ask for help as they are unaware that they need it

- "no help amid an abundance of help", ie a great variety of help is available but it is not located where it is needed, eg help located in head office and not at the branches where needed

. As investments in change initiatives go up, more help is required which can cause a "help gap"

This help includes coaching, training, consultation, mentoring, and other forms of guidance for developing a change initiative

The question to ask yourself as a manager is

"...what can I give back to balance what's been taken away?..."

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