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Incorporate Identity Inspiring people Hélène Søpnel | TOTAL IDENTITY


Incorporate Identity Inspiring people Hélène Søpnel

2008 TOTAL IDENTITY Amsterdam


“Tell me and I’ll forget; Show me and I may remember; Involve me and I’ll understand.” Confucius (551 BC– 479 BC)


First of all... Everything we surround ourselves with, from the sofa we sit on to the company we work for, is a manifestation of our desire for self-realisation. Not so much the brand, but the authenticity and essence of the organisation behind it play key roles in the way we express ourselves. This means that an organisation is judged on the way it manages to make contact with its stakeholders about essential subjects. Is the organisation able to get to people and bind them to itself by making it clear what its right to exist is and how it wishes to use its employees to develop? If the idea behind job market communication is to inspire, then it must first be clear what a company is really all about. What’s then required is to convey this essence to the existing and prospective employees of an organisation in an inspiring way. This involves more than simply formulating a clear mission statement. It is about sharing and getting support for an ideological ambition. This requires an organisation to come up with other competences than familiar concepts such as controllability, efficiency and manageability. If the organisation is capable of doing so and manages to go on to take the next step and inspire its employees by getting them to contribute to the ideological ambition, then what emerges is something that can best be described as Incorporate Identity. This essay will explore the content and the dynamics that take place when Incorporate Identity occurs and it will explain why organisations that manage to achieve this are more successful in attracting and inspiring people.

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Perspective 1 Job market communication in development. Looking at how organisations communicate with the job market, it is possible to observe a development in the way that this happens. Up until around 10 or 15 years ago, it was quite common for a recruitment advertisement to explain what the job entailed, what requirements the candidate had to meet and what the organisation stood for. A link to the company website for further information would have been unusual because the internet was less widespread than it is today. With the exception of house style requirements, there is hardly any relationship between corporate communication and a company’s job market communication. Job market communication as one-way traffic Many organisations still use job market communications as a one-way means of communication through which the organisations announce who they are and what they’re looking for. However, in a changing world in which people are looking for authenticity and involvement, and in which organisations are changing from closed fortresses into open network organisations, this method of informing and announcing no longer has a place. In the period that followed, organisations became aware of the need to set themselves apart, not only in terms of product or service, but also when it comes to recruiting people. The act of recruitment tries to convey something of the organisation’s characteristics in addition to the familiar list of requirements and corporate texts. Organisations spend increasingly more time thinking about what sets them apart from other organisations, which values the organisation is guided by and how these can be used to put a message across. Moreover, job market communication

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analytisch

initiatiefrijk projectmatig werken

Een hoofd en vijf inspirerende en ervaren beleidsmedewerkers voor Academische Zaken

gepromoveerd

communicatief bruggenbouwer

onderwijs en onderzoek stevig verankeren. Ze behoort tot de League of European Research Universities.

uitstekende arbeidsvoorwaarden en een collegiale werksfeer.

Wie zoeken wij

Een eervol lidmaatschap dat verplichtingen schept. Ons Instellingsplan 2007-2010 kreeg als motto mee ‘Leren Excelleren’. De gehele universitaire gemeenschap wordt nu nog meer uitgedaagd het beste uit zichzelf te halen: de wetenschappelijke staf, de studenten en de ondersteunende diensten. De UvA is ambitieus, kwalificeert zich op meerdere fronten tegelijk, en wil het momentum vasthouden. Om deze ambities te realiseren maakt de afdeling Academische Zaken een nieuwe start met het werven van zes beleidsmedewerkers. Eén van de senioren gaat de functie van hoofd van de afdeling vervullen.

Academische Zaken Academische Zaken draagt bij aan een goed onderzoek- en onderwijsklimaat. Ze adviseert rechtstreeks het College van Bestuur en fungeert als intermediair tussen het College en de zeven faculteiten

op strategisch en tactisch niveau over thema’s als kwaliteitszorg en accreditatie, onderwijsvernieuwing, onderzoeksbeleid en kennisvalorisatie. Academische Zaken werkt in toenemende mate projectmatig.

Wat bieden wij Een zeer afwisselende werkkring, met veel ruimte voor eigen initiatief. Vanuit hartje stad, het Maagdenhuis, heeft u voortdurend contact met medewerkers in de hele universiteit. De UvA biedt

Ambitieuze specialisten met kennis van de universitaire wereld, leergierig en initiatiefrijk. Bovenal kenmerkt een collega van Academische Zaken zich door denkkracht, analytisch vermogen en de vaardigheid om voor complexe problemen in heldere bewoording oplossingen aan te dragen. Hoofd Academische Zaken max. ca. € 96.000, schaal 16 Het hoofd geeft sturing aan de afdeling en leiding aan de collega’s. Hij/zij draagt in zeer belangrijke mate bij aan de formulering van het beleid en de strategie van de UvA op het gebied van onderwijs en onderzoek. Deze functie wordt gecombineerd met één van de senior beleidsfuncties.

Senior beleidsmedewerker Onderwijs (1 fte) en een Senior beleidsmedewerker Onderzoek (1 fte) max. ca. € 80.000, schaal 14 Deze senior beleidsmedewerkers ontwikkelen beleid en strategische doelen op het terrein van onderwijs of op het gebied van onderzoek. Zij adviseren het College van Bestuur en evalueren bestaand beleid. Zij zijn op de hoogte van nieuwe ontwikkelingen in het internationale wetenschappelijke onderwijs of onderzoek, anticiperen op nieuw beleid en ze ontwikkelen en onderhouden een relevant internationaal netwerk.

nieuw internationaliseringsbeleid. Hij/zij volgt nauwlettend de ontwikkelingen binnen de internationale onderwijsmarkt, en ontwikkelt en onderhoudt een relevant internationaal netwerk.

Beleidsmedewerker Internationalisering (1 fte) max. ca. € 67.000, schaal 12 De beleidsmedewerker internationalisering draagt bij aan de versterking van het internationale profiel van de UvA en ontwikkelt strategische doelen en

Manager Quality Assurance (1 fte) max. ca. € 67.000, schaal 12 Dit is een seniorfunctie op het terrein van de kwaliteitsbewaking. De manager Quality Assurance heeft een taak bij de ontwikkeling en handhaving van alle kwaliteitsmanagementsystemen, en

Beleidsmedewerker Virtual Mobility and Distance Learning (0,5 fte) max. ca. € 33.500-19 uur pw, schaal 12 De beleidsmedewerker vertaalt universitair onderwijsbeleid naar moderne ICTtoepassingen en adviseert en begeleidt universitaire projecten op dit terrein. De medewerker stemt het UvA-beleid af met dat van de Hogeschool van Amsterdam.

draagt zorg voor een resultaatgericht kwaliteitsmanagement. Medewerker beleidsondersteuning (1 fte) max. ca. € 50.000, schaal 10 Deze medewerker ondersteunt bij beleid- en besluitvorming, organiseert (commissie)vergaderingen, neemt deel aan projecten en ondersteunt bij fondsenbeheer. De functie is met name geschikt voor een startende professional met ambitie.

Inlichtingen Meer informatie over de vacatures en de sollicitatieprocedure: www.uva.nl/vacatures De sluitingstermijn voor solliciteren is 2 juni 2008. Acquisitie naar aanleiding van deze vacature wordt niet op prijs gesteld.

CGO 08.265

De Universiteit van Amsterdam neemt internationaal een vooraanstaande plaats in en wil deze positie in

is gradually becoming more integrated with other forms of communication. Companies realise that what they voice at counter A has to match what they say at counter B to people who are consumers at one moment, but who, a week later, may be applying for a job at the same company. Later on we saw messages in which companies no longer mention their values literally, but translate them into a more conceptual approach that can be more widely deployed than for recruitment alone. In addition, this concept also appeals at a deeper level than image and text, having the generation of feeling as its objective. A person often features in the message for the purpose of identification. Integration with other forms of communication within the organisation is also frequently well carried out. The above development which goes from ‘telling’ to ‘understanding’ via ‘showing’ matches the way in which the economy is developing from one in which people purchase products and services which are attractive in terms of price and (later) quality, to one in which people choose based on

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the feeling that the product can induce. Who will I become if I buy this product? Which product perfectly expresses who I am? We now live in a world in which the individual goes one step further. They no longer want a product whose origin is an organisation whose identity is carefully managed. They want an artificially generated experience. This individual wants authenticity and honest products made by organisations that send out the message that they are made of flesh and blood. Organisations that give us the feeling that they were born instead of just being a ‘desirable image’ that was thought up on the drawing board. Organisations are children of their time. The way in which they communicate forms a true reflection of what preoccupies people at that moment. In fact, organisations are in this respect nothing more and nothing less than interpreters of mankind’s development process.

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Perspective 2 Only that which is real exists The need for authenticity in the world around us stems from an urge for self-realisation, which each 21st century person has now that the most immediate needs have been met. In addition, Generation Y is among us and with it a large group of young people for whom personal development is important. We are continually thinking about who we are and how we can express this through our interior design, our clothes and through the choices we make, down to the smallest detail. Within the design of our own unique self, products and services play a vital role. The authenticity of the organisation behind the product or service determines how we associate ourselves with it. Is it consistent in its behaviour and the messages it puts out? Is it credible? Is it able to make its motives clear to me? And does this all match the person I want to be? Does the product or employer fit the image I want to project? Do I want to identify with it ... and, in no way less important, does this employer want to identify with me? Our desire to design ourselves is the outer projection of the way we are occupied with ourselves. What we purchase in the physical world is a manifestation of the movement to which our spiritual development strives. Self-realisation concerns finding the answer to the questions, ‘what does the real me want?’ and ‘who am I and where do I want to be in my life?’ The need for authenticity is not the goal but a means in the search for the answer to the question, ‘what does my true purpose consist of?’

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Perspective 3 Inspiring as a condition People demand authenticity from organisations, but there is an implicit, underlying demand for contact with the real me. People want to feel some connection and want to move towards their own essence. If the manner in which organisations express themselves actually forms a reflection of what motivates people, it means that organisations will increasingly be occupied with their raison d’être. Current practice: Current practice: Showing Showing change change (in (in form) form)

Future: Future: Making it possible to experience Making it possible to experience raison d’être thethe raison d’être

Organisation change The essence is the soul or the heart: it is the inner self that is affected if something of substance occurs. From this core, inspiration, which forms the basis for connection, can arise. If an organisation is to inspire, it has to show something of its own essence and share this with its surroundings, otherwise it’s not going to get us very excited. And yet we are more inclined to put energy into changing form. Changes in essence go from here to somewhere. However, wherever this ‘somewhere’ may be, we cannot know in advance because it is concealed. The goal is hidden like the stone in a peach.

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Changes in form can be established in advance. It’s a matter of setting the goal and taking purposeful action. Changes in form can be carefully managed. Profiling is a good example of a conscious moulding of the outside of the whole while keeping an eye on a certain effect. Profiling is useful and can bring about all kinds of feelings, but it doesn’t inspire. Perspective 4 The humanised organisation It is no easy task to move towards something that is invisible, has no shape, is unknown and, what’s more, leaves you uncertain as to how you are supposed to reach your goal. This is, however, what drives people. After all, they are looking for inspiration and passion. There is a striking similarity between a person and an organisation. In fact, organisations, like people, are systems that possess their own identity and soul which develop according to the same principles and rules. A person functions thanks to a model that has been internalised through education and experience, enabling them to set their goals and work towards them. However, the way a person functions isn’t only based on this model. Each person also has a personal longing. It’s because of this that we search for significance, driven by a desire to fully connect with ourselves and our surroundings. In that respect, organisations are not much different. On the one hand, organisations consist of an industrial model in which there is regard for the form that is deployed in order to reach objectives. On the other hand, organisations consist of a learning and living component that has regard for shared values, not just for management rules and for learning instead of establishing. An organisation also has ambition, a longing or calling,

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and asks itself what the relevance of its existence is, just like a person does. Finally, organisations also strive to connect with their surroundings and employees, their ideas and their efforts. It’s in this collectiveness where the solution lies. The organisation is able to start a movement and act as context for people who would like to ­connect with an inspiring vision. While searching for a connecting intention, people’s response brings them in touch with their own dreams and longings. Organisations are asked to assume the role of a hero by putting across their own personal and sincere philosophy in such a way that people ­recognise their own longings in it. This philosophy then forms a binding factor between the organisation and individual longing and also offers the individual something to hold onto in accomplishing their personal share within the context of a joint goal. The hero and individual heroism The role of hero is reserved for leaders who don’t go for self-centered profit but for the ideal; for the bigger picture. An ideal needs people who inspire because most people aren’t heroes, even though they are capable of recognising heroism by its heroic deeds, power, idealism and courage. Heroes inspire, convince and motivate those people who are less heroic. In the same way that a winner only exists by virtue of there being a loser or losers, heroes can only exist by virtue of those who recognise them as such. Inspiring people is not just a matter of setting out a vision and depicting a glorious goal. It is also about offering all participants the opportunity of becoming heroes themselves by making their individual contribution part

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of the whole system. What is important is space for the individual and a collective reaction to the idealistic development of the organisation. The learning process of both the organisation and its employees needs to be facilitated. New insights and growth come about through the sharing of ideas and visions, by working together, by letting go and applying new ideas, and through respect for each person’s individual contribution. This attention to the essence of the organisation - and thus the essence of each individual - often leads to a change in form. By contrast, a change in form will never bring about a change in essence. Good leaders are able to bring about the feeling of solidarity among their people. On the one hand, they see the unique contribution of each individual and create space for it. Whereas, on the other hand, they know how to link it to a vision, an inspiring view of the future or new opportunities. Good leaders are heroes. They invite others to participate in an organisation’s heroism in order to experience for themselves what it’s like to be a hero. Perspective 5 Connecting occurs from two sides Before inspiration can occur, an organisation has to adopt its own philosophy and ideological ambition. It must then manage to unfold this ambition in a clear and inspiring way for people inside and outside the organisation. After that, people have to be invited to provide their own personal insights with which to contribute to the idealistic development of the organisation. This does not concern a clearly defined task, but a personal interpretation of what the organisation needs in terms of insights, initiatives and solutions to get closer to its essence. New insights and growth come

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about through the sharing of ideas, visions and opinions by people who stimulate each other and work together. Barriers that block the way are removed and deadwood is identified. This is how the organisation grows towards its essence and each individual brings something entirely unique and personal to the collective development, resulting in mutual inspiration and connection. This way, an internal dynamic that needs to be facilitated arises between and with employees. The realisation that things are relatively unmanageable and the knowledge that there is a difference between achievability and the ability for things to come into existence within certain frameworks, is a key factor. After all, in the case of developments regarding the essence of something, the way in which change is implemented is less predictable. It requires letting go of what we have elevated to the principles for successful management: ‘controllability, efficiency and manageability’. This is because we still think we can control our relationships, our work and our organisations. However, this is only partly true. Our western way of thinking is not only based on the logical cause and effect principle; as our welfare increases, the idea that we are able to design our lives ourselves has also grown. Nevertheless, there is little in our lives that we fully control. We often ascribe much more influence to ourselves than is actually the case. Bringing things into existence demands the occasional willingness not to steer, to dare to let go and to trust in what will arise with an unknown future. Obviously, an organisation must set up and manage its business

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Internal dynamics

Organisation

Collective ideology

Self-realisation

Organisation’s ambition

Development of collective ideology

Incorporate Identity

Individual

processes; however, in addition, space is required for that which cannot be forced. An organisation that realises this makes use of more than just the knowledge and experience of its employees. It makes use of their full potential which is not freed if management is looking over their shoulder all the time, but can only be yielded if they are driven by a shared objective. The result therefore equals more than the sum of all its parts. Contrary to carrying out the usual tasks and living up to their responsibilities, each employee voluntarily puts in a supreme and full effort in exchange for personal inspiration. The moment individual and collective heroism coincide is the moment Incorporate Identity begins. This is where the inspiration belonging to the individual and the organisation unite.

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Finally Matchmaking in the future An organisation is judged on the way it is able to make contact with its stakeholders about what it sees as essential subjects. This is a key detail for job market communication. Many companies formulate their mission statement as a static expression from which every development is missing, and they now need to clarify the dynamics in their mission and ambition. Organisations must examine the question that addresses their right to exist and which mission they are pursuing. Only when they dare to talk about this and clarify how they wish to develop, with employee backing, will an organisation be able to reach people and connect to them. An organisation’s Incorporate Identity uses this to determine the success of job market communication, which is aimed at inspiring people within and outside the walls of the organisation. What illustrates the lack of complete manageability of organisations is the movement towards open and network-oriented organisations. These are much less manageable than traditional, closed organisations that are built up of clear units with respective goals. We are heading towards learning and living organisations in which management exists alongside space for interaction between where the organisation and the individual want to be. Organisations that make a link that is meaningful and inspiring for both parties. For job market communication, this means that the recruitment and selection of people based upon job profiles, competences or evaluations is no longer sufficient. We are ready for a new interpretation of matchmaking between organisations and potential employees. People will have to be

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selected not so much because of what they can do but because of who they are. Personal qualities and the motivation to develop them in relation to their surroundings or employer will play a vital role. By seeing educational demands, competences and experience only as preconditions and by paying more attention to vision, original ideas and having the courage of conveying personal convictions, an organisation will open up other paths. This enables obsolete structures or fixed ideas that stand in the way of an organisation’s development to be dissolved. Because the individual judges the organisation on its authenticity and does so at every moment of contact, job market communication starts, in fact, with the first step an organisation takes towards its rightful place. On the road to relationships and connecting with its surroundings. That’s why authenticity and consistency within what an organisation does and says are of crucial importance. What an organisation claims and does today has to match the personality that they say they have and wish to develop. If it goes on to inspire its employees and surroundings by creating space within its ideal organisational development for the personal progress and development of its people, then there’s a twofold benefit and Incorporate Identity is created.

While writing this essay, I was inspired by the ideas of Wessel Ganzevoort and René Tissen, among others.

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Incorporate identity  

Everything we surround ourselves with, from the sofa we sit on to the company we work for, is a manifestation of our desire for self-realisa...