In this series of three blogs we are discussing three topics which, in our eyes, make an ideal organisation. The previous blogs were about Vulnerability and Transparency. This week we are focussing on the third topic; Inspiration.
An inspiring Thursday morning
After working hard for three days, you get into your car Thursday morning with a secret smile on your face. Thursday morning is your teams’ ‘Inspiration morning’ and it is your favourite day of the week. Last week a colleague gave a presentation about the football-coach training he is doing. He wanted to share a few of the lessons learned from his training with the team. This week there is an external facilitator with a workshop about conflicts. Next week one of the companies’ major customers is coming to tell about their new strategic plans. You’ve already done a boxing workshop, given by your supervisor. It was a great laugh and muscle ache!
Everything is allowed on Thursday morning, as long as it is not about the content of work.
Your team started doing this approximately six months ago. In the beginning there was some resistance; “Inspiration can’t be forced” and similar remarks. And the first two months seemed like it wasn’t going to work. However, because you kept at it, it turned out that inspiration creates new inspiration. By allowing yourselves to be inspired, you become more curious and willing to learn. Meanwhile you guys have no shortage of topics and themes – there are so many ideas!
Which inspiration you are getting is a shared responsibility of the organisation and the employees. The organisation facilitates that really everybody is able to attend Thursday morning and there is budget to occasionally invite external parties. The topics and needs are put forward by the employees. And as shown above, employees themselves regularly give a presentation or workshop from their own experiences. In those cases the organisation facilitates two hours of preparation time and it quickly takes more than that, but nobody complains!
You get to know each other better as a team and person. Your connection is becoming stronger, and thereby trust; Which is crucial in cooperation. There is common understanding. In addition people are becoming used to receive, process and deal with new information. This gives them the confidence to deal with new situations, which is also beneficial to actual organisational changes – they become easier.
Inspiration feeds creativity. Thanks to the boxing workshop you work together in a different way. You make new sub-agreements and teams have even created new products because of some sessions. You are looking really forward to the session with your customer, last time a similar session gave a lot of inspiration on how to approach the market and remain relevant for your customers. Very important. This used to be the responsibility of the account managers, however the past months have showed that the Thursday morning sessions are more effective; more information, more perspectives, more ideas. And everybody is onboard from the start!
An inspiring organisation
Just like we were wondering with Vulnerability and Transparency, we wonder what is needed within an organisation to facilitate Inspiration. Here are a few of our ideas:
- Inspiration should be a continues process with priority. Not three times per year, but weekly. Not when it fits in our schedules, but we make it fit.
- Organisations should facilitate inspiration by making time and (some) budget available for the teams – even in times when numbers are tight.
- Employees should give the inspiration initiative (Thursday morning sessions) a chance for at least 4 months, really embrace it. Even when difficult at the start.
- Organisations and employees should be aware how ‘individual learning moments outside of work can be a collective moment of inspiration inside work’.
- We need to accept that not every session is going to be as useful as the others. So don’t only ask ‘What did I got out of this session?’ instead ask ‘What did we get out the collective of sessions?’
- Supervisors should have the courage to trust that these sessions aren’t a waste of time. On the short term it will cost some time, but on the long term they are totally worth it.
Again this list is not complete, and we are curious about your ideas!