21 Sep The core value


Respect for the identity of the individual is the bedrock of his or her creativity, motivation, cooperation, and equilibrium. This is what 35 years of innovation and change management practice have taught me to take into account to prevent resistance to change, and to enable controlled evolution. This is also what Behavioural and Cognitive Therapy, which has saved one of my close relatives from clinical depression, relies upon: teaching the individual how to respect their own identity in order to get back on the path to well-being. From this therapy, I have retained three key messages which help individuals respect their own identity:
  • Learn to know yourself
  • Be yourself
  • Alone, you cannot reach these objectives
  The first message promotes the awareness of what you like, what you don’t like, and your weaknesses and strengths, enabling you to be pragmatic in choosing your objectives and priorities and thereby opening the door to self-confidence. The second one opens the door towards freedom of the mind and unrestricted creativity, which enables the definition of a life project that is in tune with yourself, without any self-censorship. The third message stresses the need for the support from other people acting as mirrors so you can understand your difference and its added value for the community, and thereby regain your self-esteem. It also stimulates reciprocity in exchanges with others, which allows you to adopt a clear position not only in relation to them, but also to the environment imposed upon us, so that you can find your place as a contributor. It opens the door to collaboration without fearing others. All this contributes to the equilibrium and motivation of the human being, which are key factors not only of his or her own well-being, and consequently that of others, but also of taking responsibility as a member of any community. Keeping this in mind and letting it guide your decisions and actions, as well as your communication with others, you can accomplish miracles and make possible the impossible by overcoming resistance to change. You can create a working utopia, which is the starting point of any creative project, and furthermore, feel good about yourself. Respecting the identity of the other means you are sure to be dealing with a responsible potential partner, ready to bring their entire creativity and motivation to any project in which they may take a position at any time. This presupposes permanently keeping all contributors to a project informed to the same degree, and above all on the same level of understanding, no matter their differences in terms of language and jargon, their skills, or cultures. This is entirely possible, but requires one fundamental quality: empathy. This is the very prerogative of Collaborative Leadership and its methodology, the “win-win partnership”, based on respect for the identity of the individual. Any organisation able to understand this will be at the top of the scale of competitiveness, since it will benefit from six combined advantages other organisations don’t have:
  • A “joint project” mentality, and thus a strong sense of belonging and team spirit
  • Reliable diagnosis, since it is shared and strengthened by different and complementary skills
  • Invaluable potential in terms of collective creativity and open-mindedness to come up with the best solutions
  • Outstanding reactivity, since everyone feels involved and alert, ready to act
  • A harmonious patchwork of knowledge and cultures, unique and difficult to copy
  • A climate of serenity as a result of happy, motivated and non-aggressive partners, interested in more than just their salary or job title
  This applies to any organisation, company, administration or state, and more broadly, to any community, including any family. Despite a society organised on the “master-servant” model that excludes the reciprocity a partnership is made of, a financial system that pays no regard human beings in its pursuit of profit at any price, and an educational system based on the precept of “Do what you are told” rather than on “Be yourself”, Collaborative Leadership is currently gaining ground. Although defended by a minority, it is not at all a utopian idea. Having practiced it at national and international levels, on behalf of small, medium and very large companies, including multinationals, I can say that, for me, it is the most efficient way to enable, initiate and manage any kind of change, both from a human and financial point of view. By contrast, not respecting the identity of the individual means risking exposure to resistance to change, incorrect diagnosis, poor solutions, conflicting operational implementations, and a guaranteed waste of time and money – not forgetting the psychological damage which can be counted not just in financial costs, but can also cast depression on lives, which is a factor in aggressiveness and division, far from the well-being that we all seek. Respect for the identity of the individual is both essential to innovation and change management on the one hand, and to the improvement of our human condition on the other hand. Why do without it? From the same author:

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