Jill's experience: Creating "life changing" shared understanding
Posted on 2nd August 2023 at 13:02
Mondrem are advocates for shared understanding. That means everything we do is underpinned by the assurance that everyone involved in all levels of a project or plan understands its purpose, direction, and outcomes. This creates a powerful foundation for effective working, and shines light on often-brilliant ideas we might not consider alone.
Recently, shared understanding served another purpose: as an astonishing moment of recognition between two of our clients not previously connected. A moment too extraordinary not to share. So, I spoke with Jill, Planning Policy Manager at Swale Borough Council, for her perspective.
“It was a great moment. A moment of real connection”, Jill tells me. She explains that, during a conversation with another local authority planning team, a question was asked of how best to balance planners’ personal passion projects with the challenge of cohesive teamworking. “I thought to myself, I know the answer to that!” she laughs. “So, I said, of course, you have a conversation about it, create a shared understanding of the priorities, and it all falls into place”. Ensuing from the other team, Jill describes, was a moment's hesitation and shifty eyes, followed by the question “Sorry, but...have you ever worked with Mondrem?”.
“Well, that was it!” Jill laughs. A connection was made.
Mondrem began working with Swale Council’s Development Management team, with whom Jill’s Planning Policy team shared some challenges. They soon became involved with the project to improve workplace culture and morale, and it was during a mentoring session with our senior consultant Lucy that Jill first heard about shared understanding. “I don’t want to be cheesy, but it really was life changing”, she tells me. “If your goal is shared understanding, all these other good things happen!”.
Jill describes the professionally and personally rewarding impacts of shared understanding. She talks about the courage involved in breaking habitual behaviours and making change happen. “People find change scary”, she says, “but with a shared understanding, good will grows, trust grows, it’s a two-way thing. It enables you to move from situations of conflict to ones of mutual respect and value”.
A standout conversation Jill and I have surrounds the “psychologically safe space” that her new approach has helped curate within her team. “Creating shared understanding requires a vulnerability and openness”, she explains, “you’ve got to create a safe space where people can work out how they can work together despite their differences”.
Since working with Mondrem, Jill tells me she has grown into her managerial role. She describes her increasing confidence, professional satisfaction, and a team of people working more collaboratively together. “That’s what's amazing about humans,” she brings our conversation to a wonderfully fulfilling conclusion, “our capacity to keep growing”.
Mondrem CIC understand planners often have a tough time. We want to make their lives easier.
To find out how we could support your service, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
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