Values are unable to trigger change

In his book Are We all Lost in Management? we saw recently that François Dupuy warned us against the cynicism trap in companies values. Executives often think that values could be a starting point to change management and they either decide of a set of values within the Executive committee or launch a wide polling system to consolidate the employees’ proposition. But both options often fail to trigger any behaviour change. Is it due to a resistance to change or to a poorly designed communication plan? Not necessarily. François Dupuy explains that more often, this is due to the employees’ intelligence: they are fully aware that “values serve to compensate for the sense of meaningless afflicting companies”. So, it would make more sense to start with strategy:

 «As long as they remain on the level of “good intentions” or values present in some ideal society, why be curmudgeonly? But to ask for them to be implemented is another, riskier matter. I repeat: Values do not initiate action, they enshrine or even justify it. The process leading to their formulation bears little relation to what is actually undertaken. And even if extensive polling of the entire workforce were to offer them the possibility of choosing the values they wanted for their firm, one should not conclude that they will put those values into practice in their behaviour. To think that would be a sign of laziness, naivety, or manipulation: Starting with a strategy– which it is the chief executive’s responsibility to frame – and then stating the behaviors required to put that strategy into effect, are the first steps in the approach. Then one needs to create the conditions conducive to those behaviours. In the course of this process, the actors’ intelligence will cease to be a problem and can even come to serve as a useful resource. Placed in the right context, the actors’ capacity to find solutions appropriate to their context will lead them to adopt the desired practices. Then one can start translating those practices into values or business principles.

By then, these values will have acquired weight and substance. (…) These values will be an expression of the way people actually behave and could usher the firm into a virtuous circle, in which they come to stand as a practical “dominant standard”, genuinely reflecting reality. In that case, it would be hard to dismiss them as mere vague, hollow words; a chief executive’s whim; or an internal marketing gimmick. Everyone will know what they mean and can explain them to their colleagues and outsiders alike. The trap of cynicism will have been avoided and top management will gain much useful credibility– a fair reward for their hard work and refusal to be satisfied with ready-made solutions grounded in ordinary knowledge. As the saying goes: All work deserves payment.”

As for you, how can you make sure that your strategy is clearly defined, that your teams know it and are able to rephrase it in their own words?

Partager :
Tags : Laisser un commentaire

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *