• Authentic Relationships
14 March 2016 Jennifer Cromarty

If you take anything away from this blog, please know this.

How we work is changing.

To have impact, you need to be agile, adaptive and creative. This means you need to share information freely, break down organisational structures, work as a network (not a hierarchy), embrace digital technologies and see your stakeholders as people who demand authentic relationships.

Google is leading the way in understanding how people must be at the centre of the new economy. They see the key to great teams is based on "psychological safety as the most important factor to building a successful team." Essentially -- let's be nice to each other.

If we are to learn from this, here are some simple first steps:

  1. Genuine engagement of your stakeholders is vital.
    • If they don't understand or believe in why you exist, they are not actively contributing to your wellbeing.
    • Do you buy and sell property or are you helping people find their dream home?
    • Do you provide services to vulnerable people or are you building a stronger community where no-one is left behind?
    • Be very clear of your purpose. It is core to whether people will actively support you on your journey or be apathetic or antagonistic. Think about why you exist instead of what you do.
  2. Take the time to understand the value exchange.
    • What do your colleagues, stakeholders and community want from their relationship with you? What do they value in the relationship? Is it an important relationship but purely contractual? What if they just want minimal information once a year, yet you contact them every month?
    • What if your stakeholders are extremely interested in your activities? How would they feel if you send them a generic newsletter twice a year but all they want to do is have a chat about how they can help?
    • What if your key customers are all on Facebook and you don't have a Facebook page?
    • If you don't understand the value of the exchange that matters to your stakeholders, not only are you wasting time and money but you are probably irritating them.
  3. Be guided by principles
    • In the new way of working, we need to be guided by principles of trust, respect, transparency and honesty. Digital technology is allowing us to work anytime, anyplace. Our colleagues, stakeholders and community have ready access to information and networks. We can all have a voice about what we care about through social media.
    • We can no longer be an organisation who 'controls the message'. Leaders are no longer authoritarian figures who demand adherence to fixed plans.
    • Trust your colleagues with information.
    • Respect points of view and and listen to ideas.
    • Break down structures for greater transparency to encourage collaboration.
    • Don't shy away from telling the truth.

Jennifer recently led a leadership workshop for a government agency focusing on the new way of working, the impact of digital and authentic relationships at work. If your organisation is grappling with these issues you can contact her on: jennifer@tandemvox.com.au