The Integrity Conversation- A Conscious Process for Making Structures Work

All About Integrity

When you hear the word “integrity” you might think about how honest, reliable or truthful someone is. You might also have heard the word “integrity” used in a sci-fi film such as Star Trek. “We’re under attack, Captain. The structural integrity of the ship’s hull is breaking down!”. You might have also heard of the integrity of someone’s viewpoint. “I think there’s a lot of integrity to what you are saying.”

What does integrity mean?

It means all of these things.

Integrity is all about how things hold together. How they fit together. Integrity is all about whether there’s a harmony between the bigger picture and the pieces and elements that make up that picture.

The integrity of an organisation all all about having a structure that makes sense for what it is trying to achieve in the world. It’s about the harmony between its values and its behaviour. Integrity is low when things don’t fit together, then the overall picture and structure feels “broken”.

An organisation is comprised of many things. All organisations and businesses are structured in some way, and those structures can be more or less fit for purpose. When they aren’t their integrity is compromised. It can be the purpose that needs to change, and it can be the structure that needs to change to harmonise better with the purpose.

If your organisation’s structural integrity is weak or unable to meet its purpose, it might be time for an integrity conversation.

What does it look like?

An integrity conversation might last for a day, or more, depending on how lacking the business is in structural integrity. Basically, things aren’t holding together. Things aren’t joining up. There’s a mismatch between our purpose and the ability of the organisation to meet that purpose. In that integrity “pool” will be people, behaviour, organisational “designs”, processes, values, resources, technology, assumptions – a lot of things!

An integrity conversation brings the organisation’s design right onto the table, out into the light of a skillfully facilitated, conscious conversation.

What’s the aim of an Integrity Conversation?

It begins with a honest, specific and engaging dialogue, between all those who need to talk about the organisation and what about its structure is and isn’t serving the business’s purpose.

The aim: to make the structure work better.

Many organisations and businesses were designed years ago, at a time when change was less volatile. Many organisations’ designs were fit for purpose once. But purposes can change. The world is changing more than ever around us. We are all part of that world, so, as organisational citizens – employees, leaders, suppliers, customers, shareholders, partners – we bring those influences internally as well.

And those changes put pressure on structures that were designed in the past and may not have changed, responded or adapted quickly enough. The structure begins to fail to serve the new environmental pressures – both inside and outside. Integrity breaks down. A gap opens up and widens between structure and delivery, between values and behaviour, between goals and capability.

So, what does an Integrity Conversation Involve?

The Integrity conversation involves an audit of the business’s timeline, our past, present and future – where we have come from, where we are now, and where we are or might be heading. This is the business’s “story”, its narrative, and, like a good story, the narrative might need a rewrite to make the structure work.

So, into the room, onto the table, we then map the organisation, create a real picture of it, challenge any collusion by ensuring the conversation risks uncomfortable honesty. We find out what from the past is no longer working and what still helps the integrity of the business.

We then collaboratively picture changes to the structure and, giving the increasing change in the world, any new and emerging structure will need to have “flex” built into it. We imagine a structure that is resilient – able to meet the purpose of the business (which may also need to be explored) and also able to adapt and evolve.

Making structures work. Consciously creating integrity – an organisation that holds together – in its purpose, its values, in its interaction between people, and in its core design.

An integrity conversation is all about organisational “creation”. We may need to break and remake. Form and reform. Imagine and re-imagine. Reflect and Project.

Interested? Then begin the integrity conversation…

We can help you to begin the conversation. We can help you have the conversation. And we can help you to strengthen, rebuild and build a new integrity into your business or organisation in ways that make the structure work in purposeful ways. And whatever you create won’t become dependent on us. As quickly as possible, we’ll step away and leave you to consciously get on with things.

If you are interested in beginning and integrity conversation and getting your business structure to work properly again, then get in touch.

I am passionate about making structures work. We have long experience in organisational design because we love creating and sustaining integrity in businesses and organisations.

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