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Day: November 29, 2021

That time when I realised that the way we do work isn’t working

As a People and Talent person for over two decades, I’ve built and rebuilt teams and organisations like Shazam, Onfido and bp Launchpad. Whilst I was in the thick of it, working hard towards trying to make these businesses successful made a lot of sense to me. This year though, things felt different.

I realised this year that I have seen similar culture struggles, relationship issues and growing pains play out over and over again within otherwise incredible organisations. Kind hearted, well-meaning, brilliant people come together to build something with the best of intentions. Some of the team (often the leaders) feel like they are creating a great culture, whilst many of the team feel like they are overwhelmed and underwhelmed, all at once. I have been on both sides of that coin at one time also.

By moving away from Talent and stepped into heading up People teams as a People person, I was responding to the call of my purpose by attempting to support other humans to find the flow of life, growth and work that works for them. I feel I only ever created glimmers of that. Instead it has felt like I have spent time either papering over the cracks of organisational distress or before that as a headhunter, helping them to leave it.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again so this summer I did something radical. I decided to stop. I left my job.

I took a break, a proper break.

There in the midst of the unravelling of my relationship with work, myself and where my frustrations lay, I realised that the way we do work isn’t working. Not for a lot of us.

Sure, there are magical pockets of people thriving here and there, but they are magical pockets. Across industries, across locations, I see soooooo many companies who aren’t able to create an environment where all their humans can really thrive.

I think we can do better. I think we can build something different. Something where we all actually thrive and feel like we belong.

Why does it matter so much?

Creating the space to innovate is essential, for humans, for businesses and for our society as a whole.

When people are thriving, that is when we do our best work. We become brilliant, bold and even more innovative and apply that energy to whatever we are doing. When we feel safe and like we belong, we are free to innovate without fear. When we feel the opposite, we spend all of our time in survival mode and working on the closest problem in our lives, rather than the ones that might be the most impactful. Until all the people in our organisations feel like they belong, we won’t ever truly get to experience the magic of them.

With space we can learn how to thrive, and once we create space for ourselves, we can learn how to build it for others.

I’ve decided to spend a little time unpacking the world of work and reimagining how we might do this better. I’m thrilled to be working with some brilliant clients who want to reimagine their environments currently, coaching some amazing humans and building out aa course with the ASPIRE team on how we create the space to innovate. I’ll be sharing my findings as I go, here in cyber space with writing and on my pod Pancakes and Peacocks.

If this is a mission that resonates with you, let me know. I am keen to see if there might just be a community of reimaginers out there who want to come on that journey with me. One of those reimaginers is definitely Jules Fedele. And taking her lead, I’m going to set some longer term impact focused goals, some very similar to Jules (that’s likely why we found each other!), you can hear her explaining them here.

I have realigned my purpose to be to help people and businesses to reimagine, experiment and reinvent our environments to create a space where we all truly thrive and feel like we belong. That translates to the following impact goals:

  1. To create space for innovation within humans, whether by supporting organisations to create that environment or by supporting the individual to create the space for themselves.
  2. To support leaders to step into a truer expression of themselves through deep self awareness and being to lead from that place in what Jules refers to as Embodied Leadership. Only when we learn how to do it for ourselves can we really provide that space for others.
  3. To be part of a community of reimaginers that reinvents the idea of work to create a thriving community of beings of all life stages, that come together and create things, have a tonne of fun and step into the fullest expression of ourselves – mind, body, soul.

Who is up for a little reimagining with me?