I was asked this twice last week by two of the least fluffy senior male execs I know.
I imagine the question arose because many people close them are struggling.
Knowing them as I do, they want to care for and support individuals. They also will be noticing that this isn’t just one or two individuals and that something is happening that is more systemic.
It’s tempting to want to address this at an individual level. And of course, that individual work is valuable. Be it exercise, therapy, mindfulness, skills development and training and any number of strategies for individuals.
Our contention is that these might be necessary- but they are certainly not sufficient for something that is much more systemic.
As social beings we need to belong to social groups: our families, communities, schools and the places where we work. It’s critical to our survival and our sanity. Our experience of belonging to a place of work can be a source of joy, well-being identity and resilience.
Or not. Many in the private sector are looking at new owners, new strategies, and fundamental changes to their work identities following a wave of acquisitions . (Resists mentioning twitter) In the public sector it’s no better- in fact the constant challenge around lack of resources make it every bit as difficult.
So creating, sustaining and designing organisations where people have a good enough sense of connection, purpose and identity is essential to well-being and resilience. Or as the quote that @Lothar Wenzl shared at a recent conference, ‘We need a space to hold us and a story that moves us’.
Our work is helping leaders in organisations create stories that move people. It’s no accident that our current research into strategy engagement is highlighting the importance of purpose in strategy. And it is also working with leaders and executive teams to create and facilitate spaces that hold people. This isn’t extra work- it’s how you do what you do.
What would it take for people in your organisation to have a story that moves them and a space that holds them?