106 Communications

6th Sense

The Democratic Workplace: coalitions, culture and collaboration.

January 2015 | Collaboration, Democratic Workplace

Five years of coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.  The first of its kind in recent history.  And if the pollsters are correct, we are likely to see another uneasy political partnership (between whom, we don’t know) in the next parliament.

Coalitions are in many ways part and parcel of the workplace.  While many of us have our own agendas (and some more than others), we are asked to put these aside for the greater good.  To achieve the mission and objectives set out.  To be a team.  Whether we like the people we work with, or not.

Now some commentators idealise that with a strong set of values, workplaces become veritable nirvanas where there are no individual agendas – only the common good.  We’d disagree.

Corporate values can help to guide behaviour and bring people together, but can never be said to be our own personal values.

Personal values are shaped by our experience, our views and our family and friends.

The two can be connected and aligned, but shouldn’t be treated as the same.

We can work with people but have very different motivations, ideas and values.  In fact, this is a good thing.  The coalition is proof of it.  Two parties who have had to compromise on different issues – university tuition fees and tax allowances, for example – and perhaps it’s been better for it.

So how do we create better coalitions at work?

Clear purpose – With strong forces in an organisation, the purpose is key to unifying people under a common narrative.  See how we helped one business build and communicate a new purpose under a new leader.  

Culture and values – Create a culture that encourages diversity of opinion and a set of values that people can connect with.  Read how we worked with a charity to find the culture and values that would inspire colleagues.  

Collaboration and innovation – Great coalitions are built on differing views and perspectives coming together to create something greater than the parts.  See how we helped one global organisation encourage greater collaboration and innovation.

Sign up for your weekly shot of Comms, Engagement and Employer Branding