Distinctive Choice ‘Aligning people with strategy’ Our approach ‘Everything you now do is something you have chosen to do. Some people don’t believe that. But if you’re over age twenty-one, your life is what you’re making of it. To change your life, you need to change your priorities.’ John C. Maxwell. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The lives which we are living today, and the quality thereof, is a direct result of our choices in the past. It is an expression of our mind-sets – on an individual and organisational level. Over all our lives and in fact from before we were born, our perception of experiences has been captured by our brain in neural patterns. This makes up what is known as a mind-set. Research findings quite clearly state that mind-set development has to be included in all training; in fact, it has to be addressed before the commencement of learning initiatives and OD interventions . Mind-sets can be developed through targeted mental activity, but it requires conscious effort and focus. Collectively, mind-sets create and maintain organisational culture. Any effort to change and renewal will be resisted by this culture which manifests in behavioural patterns, but are driven from subconscious belief systems and values. Organisations spend vast amounts of effort and money on strategic processes, yet strategic planning and –execution hardly ever take cognisance of this most powerful change dynamic. Values expressed on paper and posted on notice boards, must become part of the hearts and minds of employees and relevant stakeholders to effect and sustain behavioural change. Yet, due to ignorance on the issue, as well as uncertainty on how to take the process forward, it is largely ignored. Sustained business success requires due consideration of these dynamics in terms of change, growth and strategy execution. S us tainable B us ines s Model From a clear understanding of the strategic business imperative and roll out objectives, the organisational leadership, must be aligned with the process. Requisite capacity building and inclusion in terms of the process are crucial elements of leadership alignment. The problem, however, often comes with neglect of people alignment in terms of building a shared future. Values are the supposed mechanism to facilitate this particular dynamic, but most often than not, the competence and confidence to enact organisational values, are sadly lacking. It is here, that Distinctive Choice’s core competence lies – the enactment of organisational values from strategic value components to enactment throughout the organisation, with a specific strategic theme or core value as the process driver (eg. leading my team, safety, diversity or customer care etc). This is then interfaced with functional business- and HR practices, such as performance management. Successful people alignment is then comfortably integrated with functional aspects (functional alignment) upon which exceptional work practices can be built (excellence alignment). The sustainable solution Since current behaviour is the result of past thinking, the key to sustained improved behaviour is found in the development of a new mind-set. This is created by correct exposure to the relevant subject matter, improved understanding and making the right choices on a continuous basis. Targeted improved quality of thinking will lead to improved, sustained behaviour and performance in the targeted areas. It requires an involved process, based upon human dynamics, to develop new and effective behaviour, sustained into the future. As stated above, the key component in this regard is the often misused and misunderstood concept known as governing values. Values represent an ideal to which an individual or organisation subscribes and it forms the basis for relations, opinions, decisions, perceptions, and attitudes towards an object or situation. Key business values such as safety, ethics, customer care, efficiency, trust and respect are addressed accordingly. Furthermore, these dynamics must then be institutionalised in such a way that it permeates all decisions and actions, and be visible in interaction with internal and external stakeholders. Changed behaviour “My personal observation and experience during my tenure as HR Director and Corporate HRD Manager in blue chip mining houses made me realise that the normal approach of training people on theory of leadership/diversity management/customer care/business ethics/supervision etc was not very successful. New knowledge was acquired such as planning, organising, and leading and control but nothing changed when the learners went back to work. Learning takes place when we change the way we understand and do things.” Pieter van Rensburg. Our approach therefore is to change attitudes and behaviours by persuasion through exposure by thinking critically about the role and the expectations that the employer have for them. The strength and quality of the arguments in the message ensures enduring change through creating understanding. The problem occurs when people do not do any thinking and are swayed by employing heuristics on the basis of noncontent cues eg ‘experts know the best’. Petty and Cacioppo developed the Elaboration Likelihood Model of describing how attitudes form and change. The model is based on the idea that attitudes are important because attitudes guide decisions and other behaviours. While attitudes can result from a number of things, persuasion is a primary source. Elaboration Likelihood Model Our approach at Distinctive Choice is to ensure that all our behavioural change learning interventions are structured and aligned to develop the required mind-sets for improved and sustainable personal performance [please see our learning brochures].
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