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by Artur Ferraz

The value of Values

When in previous years we said that we were going through a period of extraordinary changes, we could not foresee that the third decade of the 21st century would have such a dramatic beginning as the one we are currently experiencing.

Regardless of how much we have written and developed about the ongoing Knowledge revolution, the reality has become very different from what we might have expected. We are currently facing one of the most serious resistance tests on a global level. The implications of the virus, which has come to revolutionise our lives, are immense and extremely complex. One of the greatest resistance tests that we face is to practise the Values that are most in force in Western concepts of citizenship, which derive from the general acceptance of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, in essence, the values on which the European construction is based.

However, it is also essential to bear in mind that these Values, for many taken for granted forever, are at the centre of a great reconstruction effort in which we must all be involved, and which requires an attitude from each of us in our personal and restricted sphere of influence.

In the organisations, this resistance action starts with the awareness that the current moment is an exceptional and unparalleled moment. Without this perception of urgent action, we will surely not be able to accompany this process of global change.

The awareness of the moment has to be necessarily reinforced by the need felt by the different groups to develop a community of transformation, promoting the use of competencies which, due to their characteristics, may be differentiating and generate substantial added value.

Among the many skills required for this purpose, allow me to highlight three, whose characteristics act as extraordinary levers for differentiating actions in the communities where they operate. Empathic Capacity, Complex Thinking and Resilience.

The Empathic Capacity allows us to understand the environment where we operate, to feel the different sensitivities and to adjust the direction to the characteristics of the moment. It is about listening and understanding others’ perceptions and, in a genuine way, understand the complexities of different problems for other people.

However, it is difficult to develop the second competence - Complex Thinking - a difficulty that is substantially added if we do not use the previously mentioned competence properly. In effect, complex thinking requires that the different perceptions and information originating from information systems may be dealt with in the correct way and according to the correct Values. Without this protective layer, information systems download data that is not properly treated, or worse, all the systems are manipulated and conditioned by opaque and undisclosed interests.

Finally, we should refer Resilience as particularly crucial and consequential, and understood essentially as an inner competence, whose presence, should it be said, is fundamental and must be developed and worked on in organisations, in order to encourage the indispensable preparation to be able to deal with complex situations. This includes those involving high levels of stress, which, due to their impact in weakening resistance, often keep us away from positive actions, and hinder the capacity to send messages that are capable of making people understand the advantages of the solutions we provide.

The conjugation of these three differentiating competencies is currently of extreme importance in our companies, and the problem of knowing whether the structures of the organisations are prepared so that their employees can develop the activities demanded by the solutions equated using emotional competencies such as these naturally arises.

We cannot answer this question without investing strongly in modern management of people. This matter requires the development of effective information systems, encouraging a strategic and operational model of skills management. This is a task that must be, simultaneously, articulated with the different organisational communities, and demand a solid positioning with the surrounding environment.

The proposed articulation effort provides, without any doubt, a remarkable progression of maturity to the business communities and their surroundings. Consequently, it promotes the sustainability of the humanistic Values on which our society is based by always adding more value to Values.

Ultimately, only a strong and conscious articulation of Values, associated to a consistent approach, can provide the necessary strength to the resilience that is demanded from all of us, in the moment that we are experiencing.

Artur Ferraz, published in the magazine “O molde” n. 126 of July 2020

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Artur Ferraz é Partner na IBC.

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