Values-Based Partnering

2 May 2016

Shared Values and Trust are Essential For Organisational Transformation

Change is an opportunity not to be feared; a Change2020 mantra.  To seize these opportunities requires individuals to be open-minded, curious and agile,  to respond to new requirements or expectations as they inevitably arise during major transformation. Crucially, this means that trust is a key currency of partnering in change programs to ensure the delivery of outcomes in complex, multi-stakeholder environments. In our experience successful change is also shaped by a context of shared values in order to create an agile approach to organisational transformation.

Organisation and Change Partner

Shared values are a key aspect of the fit between an organisation and change partner. Change partners, like Change2020, create a level of trust that supports a positive and forward-thinking approach, as there is an implied willingness to collaborate in order to undertake the constant analysis and review required during a change program. However, values can become conflicted and lead to unsettlement that is disruptive to the implementation process.  Larger transformational change programs with multi-stakeholder demands and colliding change initiatives increase in complexity and this scenario, in particular, can lead to values conflict. The risk of communication breakdown also increases, leading to a reduction in focus on partnering in change, resulting in an erosion of trust.  A climate of uncertainty can quickly unfold as behaviours are often being demonstrated which are counter-intuitive to shared values, resulting in blockages and barriers to the change program.

Leadership, and specifically change leadership is necessary for preventing blockages and barriers and for keeping real partnership as the priority. Shared values are often about keeping hold of basic principles, such as standing side by side with each other and remaining cognisant of day-to-day realities.

As a change leader you can build your approach to values-based change by:

  • Always knowing what your values are and what you stand for: we are all change leaders;
  • Understanding the values not process or power-underpin your change program;
  • Keeping an open mind and an agile mindset so that you can address ambiguity and uncertainty;
  • Remembering that the specific change program is a moment in time, it is not the absolute conclusion;
  • Considering your behaviours, including your body language and basic manners, when dealing with others; and
  • Communicating, engaging and collaborating as widely as possible– there is no gain in deceptive behaviour.

If change is the one true constant in organisations, today, then ambiguity is the one true certainty underpinning a transformation program.  Shared values drive trust and collaboration and are needed amongst all stakeholders in order to manage fluctuating demands and evolving expectations.  Often the real need for leaders’ is just to keep perspective.  Embrace ambiguity: see change as the opportunity.

Kerryn Fewster

Kerryn is the Founder and Director of Change 2020. She has consulted extensively in the area of Transition and Transformation. She places emphasis on strategy development and solution implementation to minimise people and operational impacts associated with major change.

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