“You’re equal but different” – Au Pairs, “It’s Obvious”, 1981
At our last away day, we explored what each of our five values meant to us. You can read about Joy here, so let’s now look at Equality.
Equal but different
On the face of it, we are all ‘Agile coaches and trainers’, but we are not the same. Each one of us had a different career path and we have all acquired different skills and experiences along the way. The result is a huge variety of individual contributions we can make to the system, as illustrated by the photo below. It is this variety of ‘ingredients’ that feeds into a rich menu of services we can offer to our clients.
Most organisations we have been working with or have worked for were multi-level hierarchies with elaborate job titles and defined roles and responsibilities. People working in these environments are defined and bounded by their job descriptions – management and HR teams invest significant effort to make these as specific as possible. Compared with this, the work that needs to be done to deliver value to customers appears to get less attention.
It is our view that no job titles are needed to convey competence or influence. Like W. L. Gore & Associates in the US and Crisp in Sweden, BeLiminal has no titles, no hierarchy and no bosses. We are all partners in a network – a system we co-founded and are evolving together. And each one of us continues to evolve as part of it.
The right and the responsibility
We believe that each person in an organisation has a voice and deserves to be heard. In our experience, this is rarely the case. Even when the opportunity to contribute is provided, the suggestions made are often ignored or not acted upon. This is one of the main contributors to a demotivated workforce – people just stop caring.
We feel that each one of us has the right and the responsibility to say what they feel needs to be said and is free to follow it up by doing what they feel should be done. This is similar to what David Marquet calls “intent based leadership”.
Treat others with respect
Here we touch on another of our values: Respect. It is important for us to be fair and respectful to each other and to the people outside of our system. We aim to achieve this by not judging ourselves or others and ensuring that we do not discriminate on any grounds. We try to maintain a focus on curiosity over judgement.
The popular saying “treat others as you wish to be treated” as nice as it initially sounds is flawed as it assumes that others have the same views, needs and expectations as yourself. It should be replaced by “treat others as they wish to be treated”. To make sure we act in line with this, we exercise curiosity: we ask, listen deeply and aim to understand before forming opinions and offering solutions. We are therefore proud members of the ‘community of needs’ rather than the ‘community of solutions’ (with a nod to @PapaChrisMatts).
What does equality mean to you in your work and in your life?
Author: Dragan Jojic