.Sustainable Organizational Wellbeing

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Organizational well-being is much more than just making money based on someone’s perspective, no matter how “expert” that person may be, or be based on a “Well-being workshop” or short-lived fad!

Sustainable Organizational Well-being must be based on higher purpose and this purpose must have a foundation based on open systems design principles built into the very DNA of the organization with transparency, integrity, and trust.

These organizational design principles must be, first of all, fully understood by top management and the leader of the organization.

By “fully understood” is meant that they must truly believe in them and are not simply trying to “sell it” to the rest of the organization.

This may seem irrelevant to some but is it of paramount importance if it is to have a significant and sustainable result within the organization.

The organization’s leaders must have a clear sense of responsibility to not only ensure the wellbeing of their people but also the fulfillment of their higher purpose, especially with millennials.

In turn, the organization benefits from the unleashed potential of its workforce that is desperate to come out and fulfill a fundamental human need of a higher purpose making a positive and lasting difference.

As some OD people put it “Managers and leaders are too quick to ask for the roadmap, the game plan, the checklist and/or the strategy.” In other words, a ‘quick & easy fix,’ or magic wand, is what most people want.

Well, good news, there is such thing!

But it is not about treating symptoms, as most big consulting companies like to do in order to keep “milking” their customers.

Your company must first have the right organizational design principles in place. Further, each organization is unique and also the circumstances around it.

So, the closest thing to a “quick-and-easy fix” is a two-stage process (which can take place in as little as one day!) called The Search Conference (SC) and the Participative Design Workshop (PDW). With the right organizational design principles in place, there is an immediate mindset shift. The amount of responsibility, opportunity to learn and the variety of work is no longer felt as either too much or too little, but optimal. Mutual support and respect build up, a true sense of the meaningfulness of work begins to emerge, and the vision of a desirable future becomes clear!

Hence, the organization begins to pro-actively develop strategies and new solutions naturally — new possibilities that appeared not to exist before become blatantly obvious!

Thus, you must begin with the genetic makeup of your organization, its DNA.

Here, the choice is rather simple, since there are only two types of DNA:

1) First Design Principles (Dominant Hierarchy, or Restrictive Organizational Structure, A.K.A.: Bureaucratic)

2) Second Design Principles (Non-Dominant Hierarchy, or Empowering Organizational Structure, A.K.A.: Tropophilic)

With the right organizational design principles in place, i.e., 2nd DP, everyone in the organization has a clear understanding of their individual purpose as well as the whole purpose of the organization. This establishes an immediate alignment of direction with a higher purpose. Thus, tapping into the essence of the second organizational design principles by creating symbiotic synergies within the organization, which is the only real sustainable business path!

When coordination and control of work is with those doing the work, people act knowing that:

  • Everyone’s ideas are valued and taken seriously.
  • Success comes from anticipating trends and initiating change.
  • Best outcomes are achieved through flexibility & Cooperation built into the approach.
  • Each individual is fully responsible for his/her work.
  • Making assumptions explicit and exploring them is worth the discomfort.
  • Every task is part of some larger whole (‘I can’t win at your expense’).
  • Skepticism and doubt are valued as they foster continuous learning.
  • Everyone shares a vision of a desirable quality of the work life and pays great attention to work processes and their sustainable development.

And then, one of the most wonderful transformations takes place, those who once were mere goal-seeking individuals (pay check to pay check), become ideal-seeking visionaries, ready, willing and able to take their organization to a new level!

To fully understand what the organizational design principles behind your current or desired organizational structure look like, you really need to study this link very thoroughly.

Once you have this understanding crystal clear in your mind and on paper, you can start to take action and make it happen based on the priorities and all the knowledge you’ll obtain by following this SC & PDW process.

No need of “expert consultants” who, by the way, may cost you a fortune and only create resistance!

Here’s to the Sustainable Well-being of Your Organization!

JC Wandemberg Ph.D.

President & Founder

Sustainable Systems International

About the author: Dr. Wandemberg is an international consultant and stocks trader, keynote speaker, published author, professor, and analyst of economic, environmental, social, managerial, marketing, and political issues. For the past 30 years Dr. Wandemberg has collaborated with corporations, communities, and organizations to integrate sustainability through self-transformation processes and Open Systems Design Principles, thus, catalyzing a Culture of Trust, Transparency, and Integrity.

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