Becky Wright FRSA and her company New Leaf Life Design have recently won the Innovation in Business Award in their locality for changing their organisational culture, in line with ‘next stage’ principles as articulated by Nick Parker FRSA and his Fellowship-supported South West Reinventing Work network.
Becky and her team looked at the word ‘Innovation’ and considered how they could use the free thinking it takes to be innovative and allow it into the heart of what they do.
The turning point came when Becky started exploring how she could change the leadership of the company, making it more inclusive and collaborative. She saw it as a real opportunity to increase the strength and scope of the organisation, creating a sustainable business that could have personal and social impact whilst helping to grow the local economy. She was aware of the Fellowship’s Reinventing Work network in the South West so she opened dialogue with network lead Nick Parker. The network seeks to make work more enjoyable, productive and ultimately more profitable through the use of ‘next stage’ organisational principles, as articulated by Frederic Laloux in his book Reinventing Organisations; those principles being wholeness, evolutionary purpose and organisational self-management.
Becky saw immediately how the ‘next stage’ principles could enable the team’s vision to be achieved. The challenge was how. She needed a model, a template, a structure; or at least she thought she did.
Nick listened to her requests and gently pushed back every time, encouraging her to look and listen and sense and respond whilst always keeping the ‘next stage’ principles in mind. It took over a year but then Becky and the team noticed a new way of thinking emerging, a new way of being began to evolve. So began the change.
“This was a truly exciting, but sometimes scary journey to make. We have achieved a self-managing structure so we don’t have a hierarchy in the conventional sense, but a far more fluid system. There is still a sense of leadership but the process of emergence has changed the way that is needed now.
This allows the people, who make up the heart of the company, to be themselves and work towards a shared purpose beyond that of competition. Once you begin to think about how you can do things differently, your perception changes. Yes, there is still ambition but it is not the destructive driver it can be, instead it is replaced by shared challenges.
Since adopting this approach, we are engaging with more and more businesses who value the way we work. Our work is bringing greater satisfaction to the team and we are enjoying the new found freedom that comes with losing the shackles of traditional management and embracing the fresh and free thinking that has become our new driver.”
The RSA Fellowship supported Nick to initiate the South West Reinventing Work network and test the concept of making the South West of England a crucible for the ‘next stage’ way of organisational being. Open invitation workshops promoted on Eventbrite brought in a rich mix of Fellows and non-Fellows. More than 200 organisations participated. There is now a practitioner peer support group and many organisations across sectors have embarked on the journey to becoming ‘next stage’. The concept has been proved and Nick is commercialising it to make it self-sustaining.
You can find out more about the South West Reinventing Work Network or contact Nick Parker FRSA via the RSA website. If you are interested in reinventing work, there is also a Reinventing Work network based in London, which can also be accessed via the RSA wesbite.
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