It is very hard to have a sense of belonging to a community when the community doesn’t have a clear name and image. Just imagine how hard it would be to manage a family, with its family members, family history, family properties and family traditions, if there were no family name!
It’s the same with teams, organizations, and other groups. If we want a person to feel part of a group and balance the needs of the group against his or her own needs, the group will need a name and image that is at least as strong as that person’s.
Managing identity is about managing belonging.Jurgen Appelo
Identity requires coherence and the coherence of a group is about the consistency of its behaviors. Actions emerge from identity and identity emerges from actions. The group’s identity and actions need coherence or else they are meaningless. In an organization, multiple levels of identity also occur and they include:
- Individual identity
- Team identity
- Department identity
- Business unit identity
- Corporate identity
These identities overlap. People want to be on the management team while at the same time, they wish to remain “one of the guys” in the production department. They want to be an appreciated designer in a project team but they also hope to be an active contributor to a community of designers across different projects. This juggling of multiple identities is normal and management should stimulate and nurture all these different shared identities.