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  • Matt Turner

Local Government: Sooner Safer Happier for Stockport mbc (V)

Chapter 5

“Culture equals values plus behaviour,” as stated by Lt. Gen. George Flynn of the US Marine Corps was quoted by Bob Chapman is his book Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for You People Like Family.

Or if you prefer the context, here is how Bob quoted George:

“Culture equals values plus behaviour, as my friend Lt. Gen. George Flynn, USMC (ret.) says. If an organization has a strong and clearly stated set of values and the people act in accordance with those values, then the culture will be strong. If, however, the values are ill-defined, constantly changing, or the people aren’t held accountable to or incentivised to uphold those values, then the culture will be weak. It’s no good putting “honesty” or “integrity” on the wall if we aren’t willing to confront people who consistently fail to uphold those values, regardless of their performance.”

This week I have been taking all the great information and anecdote acquired through my time talking to and surveying the folks at SMBC and turning it into my story to read back and have scrutinised. If it resonates, and people recognise my interpretation of what I have heard conversation and seen in the data then hopefully they will agree to invite me to carry out the suggestions, of help and support, I put forward for their consideration.

Everything I have done over the past few weeks has been framed in Stockport Council’s ONE Team People Plan and the Values and Principles it describes…

Being inclusive, collaborative, human centred, agile & responsive and intelligence led is enabling a learning culture staffed by skilled, confident and kind people to thrive and grow.

Better Value Sooner Safer Happier share these values and it was super to be invited to Wednesday’s Corporate Shared Services All Teams gathering to describe not only how we align but how BVSSH practices, our everyday behaviours, help us live those values.

It has been heartening to see the evidence of strong leadership (at every level), collaboration and user focus; and as I have reviewed the survey results the responses suggest everyone appreciates their worth. It is clear that the pressures of the past couple of years and the hybrid working has made it more difficult to be transparent, have teams show their working out, make decisions easily, and keep a balance with ever increasing service demands.

It was also good to remind people of the great practices they continue to use… for any of you who have joined me in one of my Kanban University KMP course’s you may well recognise the physical Kanban board below and the superb story of stakeholder engagement, between the business and IT sides of the Revenue & Benefits team with Paul, Alison & Phil which led to strategic and tactical alignment, a continuous improvement journey, greater transparency, greater trust and looking after one another with kindness and compassion.

The icing on the cake has been to see Paul’s reaction to lock down, and moving those physical boards online asap through Trello. The understanding that in order to live collaborative, inclusive, agile and responsive values, there are certain things that still have to take place, there are behaviours and activities that need to be done whether you are in the same office or on the other side of the world. The tools you use might change, but the behaviour will remain.

These are the things, if my suggestions are well received, fingers and toes crossed(!), we will be putting into practice with teams in our BVSSH way, of starting small and learning fast, inviting people and not inflicting it upon them, focusing on outcomes and optimizing and measuring for learning in a safe and supportive manner.

Thanks for following.

by Matt Turner, 11/10/22


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