I am #WorkingOutLoud to share writing from the Quiet Leadership book that i am working on. This piece is a rewrite of several previous descriptions of the Organisation as Ecosystem, and i hope will form the start of the first chapter.
Consider the Organisation that you work for as an ecosystem: a landscape that stretches out in front of you.
Some parts of it you are familiar with: those that are local to you, or that you visit often.
Other parts are foreign, distant, or lie as wilderness.
Each of us can look after one area: you may tend to a field, i can care for a tree in the forest, someone else stands on the river bank and clears the weeds.
Through our individual action, we make our own part better, and yet the ecosystem as a whole may not thrive.
Some parts flourish, others are denuded, some are simply out of sight and mind.
No one of us can care for the whole landscape, and yet the way we treat the ecosystem affects us all.
We are interconnected: my actions have an effect, not simply in front of me, in full sight, but in the ways that they interact, cascade through to, or influence, others.
If i behave in certain ways, i give permission or space for others to do so too. If i ‘take’ from the system, i demonstrate that ‘taking’ is acceptable. If i push, then others push back.
Much of this takes place in our everyday: not through grand ideas and large scale initiatives, but through our action in the moment.
We impact our ecosystem in the smallest of ways, and yet those small ways, combined, change everything.
If the water is polluted, if the skies fill with fumes, or if the wells are run dry, we all suffer.
Quiet Leadership takes this ecosystem view: it says that the system can only be healthy, our Organisation can only thrive, if we are connected, and if we care.
And yet it also recognises that we cannot impose this state: no one of us alone can save us all. No one of us alone can tend to the whole forest or plain.
On this journey into Quiet Leadership we will explore how we can tend to the ecosystem together: beyond hierarchy, beyond what is local, beyond what is mine.
Through the smallest of actions we can change everything, if everyone takes the smallest of actions.
Quiet Leadership looks at how we do this: how we care for our ecosystem, so that we can thrive within it.