I felt that this conversation in a recent peer with peer mentoring circle was valuable to share with you, worthy of consideration for your life, and for your work. The topic that came up was about developing our leadership to work with nature rather than against artificially working against nature. We used the four seasons as an example to stimulate our conversation and it is a good example to use because most of us have familiarity with seasons changing and thus the natural flow. Indeed, when seasons are disrupted by other impacts such as climate change, it is common for people to be deeply concerned and wanting to restore “Mother Nature”.
The Seasons of an Organization
We considered the importance of:
- the leadership capacity for being patient in the winter, understanding that a lot was occurring in the season of rest, even if it wasn’t yet visible
- the leadership capacity for the activities of the spring in which the soil was being prepared, the right seeds chosen, and the fields chosen that were most conducive for particular seeds to flourish
- the leadership capacity for the activities of summer with all of the tending that needed to be done, just like with plants, the need for watering just enough but not too much, to nourish in exactly the right ways, and to set conditions for thriving
- the leadership capacity for the activities of the autumn in which there was a lot of activity for the harvest, making choices about the right time to harvest so that it was not too late, and also not too early to harvest the best outputs and outcomes
- the importance of knowing when our organization or team was in its winter, spring, summer, or autumn and consciously working with the seasons of our organizations
- the importance of knowing when our projects, initiatives, teams were in their winter, spring, summer, or autumn and that the seasons for each could be different from the season experienced by the organization as a whole
Working Against Nature: Staying Stuck in One Season Year Round
Now, let us look at what we do to ourselves and our organizations, projects, teams, initiatives. What season do we seem to be stuck in? What is it that we do to ourselves as we work against the flow of nature?
In our conversation, we realized that we always seemed to be in autumn. The pressure to be in a state of harvest almost all of the time – getting results, outcomes, outputs. Always requiring harvest, and increased yield week over week and month after month without a break seems to be the current accepted standard. We concluded that in our organizations, the demands of continual and increasing harvest are exhausting. We found ourselves caught in a trap of working against nature rather than with nature. Some of us expressed how dissatisfied we felt about our own performance when we didn’t achieve daily, weekly, monthly harvest.
Learning to excel at essential internal processes, developing the needed capacity, sufficient space and time for important conversations, creativity, and innovation are not supported during the time of harvest, during the autumn. Learning collaboration, how to work with our diversity and inclusion are not seeded and nourished during harvest.
Developing Leadership Capacity to Work with the Seasons
We all agreed that we wanted to develop leadership within ourselves that flowed easily in working with the four seasons of our organization. The concept of four seasons didn’t require that each was equal in length to the other, only that all four seasons be allowed and supported so that our organizations could perform better as we worked with the natural flow. Imagine a leadership culture that supported the time and benefits of the organization going through its four seasons.
Now imagine having the leadership capacity to work with an organization that flows through its four seasons, while different projects, teams, and initiatives are experiencing their own flow of seasons. It is possible for the organization as a whole to be in winter, a project to be in summer, and a team to be in autumn, simultaneously. Do you have or want to develop the leadership capacity to lead with the flow of nature? Right now, as you read this, can you imagine the benefits of working with nature rather than against nature?
Modules from our Dalar International Learning Curriculum that support developing your leadership capacity for working with nature include: Individual Health and Balance for Leaders ( Foundational Module #3 of the Genuine Contact program and from our Next Level Leadership learning package for readiness and orientation Thriving in a Culture of Constant Change
Photo Credit: Holly Ireland on Pixy