Our recent strategy session has connected us on a human level like never before, sparking much-needed reflection on our work approach. This week, CEO Craig Arendse and Business Manager Melanie February reflect on important lessons learned from the ‘doing’ and ‘being’ mode and its impact on our work.
COLLECTIVE REFLECTION AND INTROSPECTION
A considerable part of the work that Resolve and Change Systems (RACS) focuses on is how we manage processes, conflicts of interest, and, first and foremost — people. Our collective approach as a team leverages lessons learned from a myriad of circumstances: our past experiences, personal experiences, perspectives, and the ground truth of our subjective realities.
Mid-June, we convened as a team to reflect on our work, asking ourselves existential-esque questions as an organisation: “Who are we?” and, importantly, “How do we show up in our work?”. It centred on situations where conflict can escalate, further considering the growing impact COVID-19 has on our work. The simple, soul-searching question: “What is the difference between who we are ‘Being’ and what we are ‘Doing’?” was the cornerstone of our approach.
THE ‘DOING’ MODE
Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, our day-to-day work has forced us into the “doing” mode. In this mode, the focus is simply on getting work done, with success measured through the narrow lens of “Where are my shortcomings?” or “What are the discrepancies?”
This approach reduces our work and function to a mechanical level: simply executing tasks and assessing where and whether we have fallen short and what remedial steps we can introduce to bridge that gap. COVID-19 has pushed many of us into the ‘doing’ mode of churning out deliverables and being valuable team players, still widely regarded as the standard for success and productivity.
This narrow lens is not effective in moving us closer to meaningful fulfillment, creative problem-solving or providing the best platform for solving problems. We are, of course, mindful of the importance of the ‘doing’ mode.
THE ‘BEING’ MODE
But we have found that blending both approaches — in our relationships, partnership-building, conflict resolution practice, and other deliverables, is a more holistic approach to success. Focusing on the process, the people and the outcome is equally as important.
When blended effectively with the ‘doing’ mode, the benefits of the ‘being’ mode are amplified, allowing us to focus on why people behave and express themselves in particular ways. This approach gets us closer to understanding the challenges of working with people to achieve systemic and transformative outcomes.
The chance to reflect allowed us to discover ‘how we are being’. The approach of ‘being’ is rooted in — and enables us — to be fully present in the moment. The insights garnered from this approach are critical in our work within the public transport and higher education sectors, including our broader work of empowering, enabling, and transforming.
A BALANCING ACT
Our collective consensus is that we should not give ourselves an ultimatum between our ‘being’ and our ‘doing’, rather blending and integrating both philosophies into our work. We already bear the fruits of these concerted efforts, which have been impactful, transformative, intimate and enriching.
PIVOTING THE PANDEMIC
As we ache for a world beyond COVID-19, we must carefully consider our approach to shaping our work environments. Whether hosting a masterclass for senior managers, coaching to enable transformation and capacitation or addressing conflictual relationships, our team members have undoubtedly benefited from this reflective approach.
As we continuously and consciously weave integrity into the fabric of our work, it facilitates a ripple effect on how we show up, how we engage with colleagues and collaborators, and how we engage with antagonistic or combative partners.
The journey ahead is exciting. As a result of the strategic planning session focusing on both external and internal factors, we have been pushed to find the bridges that connect and integrate us.
Our steadfast commitment to our internal collaborators, partners, clients — and each other, is always intentional. We are framing all our interactions around the fundamental question “How am I being and showing up” and how this fundamentally determines how we deliver by ‘doing’. The benefits of this realigned approach are immense for our internal engagements, recommitment to our work, and the service of providing a platform for transformative and enabling work and environments.
We are excited as we recommit our energies and efforts to this newfound approach and look forward to continuing to contribute to transformative work across multiple sectors in our country and beyond.