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Values Driven Change Leadership 

The Alternative to Framework-Led Change

Taking a one size fits all approach is not going to optimise value, Given the complexity involved in human endeavour and different contexts. VOICE provides an alternative approach to creating lasting change, focusing on the unique skills and cultural norms of your organization rather than imposing one-size-fits-all prescriptive practices.

VOICE makes for effective leadership by promoting a culture of alignment, empowerment, continuous learning, and adaptability. Embracing this approach can help leaders guide their organizations towards sustained success in an ever-changing landscape. Consider how you might use VOICE when improving how you do things in your organization.







Values & Principles

These act as behavioural guardrails specific to your organization, such as “Focus on Outcomes” or “Invite over Inflict.” They should inform every decision and be communicated consistently.

Principles are universal across contexts, while practices are adapted to fit specific contexts. Encourage autonomy by allowing teams to develop their own practices within these guardrails.


  • Communicate values and principles consistently and frequently.

  • Encourage teams to hold each other accountable and align their practices with these values.

Outcomes & Purpose

Clearly define why improvement is necessary and what outcomes are desired. Outcomes like "Better Value Sooner Safer Happier" should have measurable indicators. Make data transparent and timely to understand cause and effect, and use this information to guide improvements. Avoid rigid targets; instead, use outcomes and purpose to align teams and empower them to innovate. Targets should be avoided when inviting teams to change their ways of working. Outcomes and Purpose provide the What and Why for improving ways of working. They provide high alignment, which enables empowered teams, with support, to inspect and adapt in their context in order to improve. The goal is not Agile for Agile’s sake. It’s to enable agility to improve outcomes


  • Clearly define and measure desired outcomes.

  • Use data to drive decisions and understand the impact of changes.

Intent-Based Leadership*

Foster an environment where outcomes are highly aligned, but teams have high autonomy. Empower teams to make decisions by moving authority to those with the information. Leaders should act as gardeners nurturing the culture, not as micro-managers. Promote a pull approach within guardrails, enhancing autonomy, engagement, and intrinsic motivation. *Intent-based leadership by IBL is a useful leadership technique to help foster autonomy. 


  • Invite over inflict. Decentralize decision-making and empower teams.

  • Provide minimal viable guardrails to guide but not constrain.

Coaching & Support:

Leaders must be proactive in coaching teams and fostering an environment of continuous learning.

The focus should be on enabling teams to improve their own practices, leveraging coaching and support mechanisms.

  • Develop coaching capabilities within the organization.

  • Establish a support structure like WoW CoE to facilitate ongoing improvement.


With high alignment and autonomy, encourage small, safe-to-learn experiments.

Use fast feedback to adapt and make progress, recognizing that you are working in a unique, complex adaptive system. Experimentation helps to probe, sense, and respond effectively to changing conditions and improve the system of work.

  • Promote a culture of safe-to-learn experiments.

  • Use feedback to refine practices and adapt to changing contexts.


A VOICE approach can help organizations create a dynamic, agile environment tailored to their context, leading to sustained improvement and better outcomes.

Example: Patagonia


Patagonia integrates strong values and principles into every aspect of its business. 

​You can see a strong link between Patagonia's values and the products and innovations it produces. 
It's values to 'Build the best product, provide the best service, and constantly improve everything we do. The best product is useful, versatile, long-lasting, repairable and recyclable.' Let teams at Patagonia tp  launch Worn Wear, a service that keeps gear in action longer.
"We repaired 83,794 garments at out Reno Nevada, repair center from May 2022 to May 2023"

Example: Spotify

Spotify has focused on minimising its company 'bets' down to 4 to minimise competing priorities. 

Product design and tech to work as a team - "individual accountability, collective responsibility" Jokiem -  

Example: GM

One of the first things Mary Barra GM CEO actioned was to simplify GM's dress code to a directive of "dress appropriately." Barra explained this basic form of empowerment—if managers and their teams “cannot handle ‘dress appropriately,’ what other decisions can they handle?”
Barra encourages teams to take ownership of their decisions and actions by fostering a culture of accountability and trust. Rather than micromanaging every aspect of their work, she trusts teams to make informed decisions and take appropriate risks.
“To make an organisation like GM run it needs everybody - my job is to enable you to do your job, what can I do to help?” - Mary Barra

Example: Allen & Overy


David Morley, as senior partner at Allen & Overy, made coaching a core aspect of the firm's leadership, focusing on improving high-value conversations. He emphasized that leaders have around 100 pivotal conversations yearly that can significantly impact lives. By equipping leaders with skills to maximize these interactions, Morley’s approach resonated deeply within the firm. This strategy led to a 175% increase in profits and secured Morley three consecutive re-elections, showcasing its effectiveness.

Example: Amazon


Tolerance for Failure: Amazon’s culture embraces failure as a natural part of the innovation process.


The company understands that not all experiments will succeed, but each failure provides valuable insights and learning opportunities.

"As we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time."

Further Learning resources:

If you found this article useful, you might be interested in additional Sooner Safer Happier learning resources on this topic


Want to experience the difference between siloed project teams and value steam aligned long-lived team?

Contact us for private organising for outcomes simulation workshop for you and your team.
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