Each year, I take time to reflect on the year behind me and capture my learnings for the year ahead. What stands out above all else in 2018 is my journey to completely restructure our organization to be regenerative.
In the beginning, I thought this would just be a different way of thinking. Now I realize it is a complete transformation in the way that I think, behave, and make decisions.
One such transformation came about when we decided to focus on helping every single team member thrive. This meant recognizing something that was already true but was not perviously central in our decision-making – whether each of us is in a state of wellbeing, or not, has a profound impact on our organization’s ability to succeed.
We’ve all been there – something is amiss at home, we experience a health challenge, we’re down in the dumps, life is hard. And when this occurs, how well can we really focus on our work? I personally experienced a long season of pain – sciatica that seemed like a muscular problem and persisted for over a year. There were days I couldn’t make it through a meeting without laying on the floor. Once, I was training advisory board members for one of our programs, and I had to hang on a chair because I couldn’t stand up. Looking back, I see how much my team had to step up and carry the load for me because I couldn’t. Have you been through a season where you simply weren’t at your best? Have you watched a team member go through something, keenly aware that they were not truly serving the organization and fulfilling the responsibilities of their role?
It’s an inescapable truth that our wellbeing is the foundation for everything. On this foundation, we bring our unique genius (a subject for another day) and we design our roles to allow us to thrive. It’s amazing what happens in an organization when you ask your team members the question, “What does it look like for you to thrive?”…and you mean it. You actually care because you recognize they need to thrive in order for your organization to thrive.
For us, we asked the question and the inquiry made it evident that in many cases, we weren’t thriving. So we went about the work of redesigning roles, structures, and ways of behaving to enable health and wellbeing in each of us, so that we could have health in our organization. If you choose to open the door to this kind of inquiry with your team, it’s wise to be prepared. In some cases, your team members will discover that your organization is not the environment they belong in. Just as a koala bear cannot survive in the Rocky Mountains even though bears are prevalent, each person needs to be in an environment suited for who they are. CTLF is a very entrepreneurial organization and we want each person to be a decision-maker, engage in strategic conversations about our future, and take initiative. Knowing this, we need team members who want and need this kind of environment in order to thrive. It’s not for everyone, but for some, this level of freedom and openness can allow them to realize their potential more fully than ever before.
What is your environment? What kind of people can thrive in it? How can you enable health in your team members? Their wellbeing matters, because healthy people who have wellbeing, align with your purpose and values, and are invited to bring their individual genius to their work will naturally achieve abundant results.
Cheers to abundant results for you and your team this year!
Sara van Rensburg