The fog has just rolled in. It is streaming down the bluffs and covering the redwoods. The fog drips down on the tops of the trees and through the forest. Nearly fifty percent of all water for redwood growth comes from fog.
In the Redwood forest, every drop of water counts. From the top of the trees to the forest floor, each drip matters. What can we learn from this unique ecological system? How can lessons from ancient ecological systems inform managers and teams? Just like redwood forests where every fog drip matters… in thriving organizations, every individual matters. Great managers know how to create these same conditions so each employee can thrive.
In the book, First Break All the Rules, the authors reported on a comprehensive research study on organizational performance. They wanted to know what conditions are needed to help employees thrive. The authors analyzed thousands of data points to identify the optimal conditions for performance, efficiency, morale and retention. The researchers distilled the data down to six key conditions for a vibrant workplace. Thriving employees report:
- I know what is expected of me at work.
- I have the materials and equipment I need at work to do my work right.
- At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- In the last seven days, I have received praise or recognition for doing good work.
- My supervisor or someone at work seems to care about me as a person.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development.
These six critical elements are the key to great managers. Each one of these qualities is like a drop of life giving fog over the organization. Just as the small doses of regular water nourish the redwoods; a manager’s steady attention to hiring the right people for the job, setting clear expectations, motivating employees, and continually developing each individual are the critical elements to helping employees thrive.
Thousands of data points and thousands of fog droplets, reveal an elegant key to a thriving system, honor and nourish all individuals. This interplay of organizational and ecological systems exemplifies my theory of Ecology of Strengths.
How does your organization nourish it’s employees so that they too can thrive?