(Written June 2020)
This document about our EI Tree® presents a more holistic view of what we offer to many organisations. The EI Tree gives an overview of the collective aspirations and desired outcomes most organisations dream of but rarely achieve due to a lack of authentic commitment.
The tree shows how we should all work as one in our organisations. The fruit is all different shapes, types and colours, just like people, with different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures and emotions. Our position or title should not dictate how we behave. What should drive our behaviour are the organisational values we expect our people to adhere to, which should map closely to our people’s values.
We should be proud to evidence and live those values daily and protect them from those who do not adhere to them. After all, our organisational culture depends on every one of us.
The EI Tree works similarly to how a tree grows. It transports people's good and bad beliefs about the organisation around the whole structure. An organisation has people in different departments, divisions and teams, and each person impacts how others feel about working in their environment. They will either pass on goodness as an almost invisible fuel like inspiration and motivation, or sometimes pass on negative beliefs and behaviours with an adverse effect. Negativity erodes a positive culture!
Let’s look at the components of a real tree and then compare it to the EI Tree model. We’ll look at them side by side and get a feeling of why we saw the connection of a tree to an organisation. But, most importantly, why it works when it is nurtured and allowed to flourish.
The Parts of a Tree:
The table below compares how a tree works in our organisation. The parts of a tree most of us would quickly recognise include the roots, trunk, twigs, branches, leaves, bark, flowers/fruits/seeds and perhaps a lesser-known word is phloem. We’ll see what phloem does, as it occasionally surprises some people with how it nourishes the whole tree. I’d clearly forgotten this from my school days.
How The EI Tree Works:
The image of our EI Tree depicts the ideal end of our EI-based Phoenix Effect programme. The programme seeks to identify what is not good about the current culture and address the root cause of each issue. The programme then burns down the old and builds up the new, hence the “Phoenix” Effect.
This programme can only work when every person unites to make it succeed. It is all the people who make it work, not just the leaders and managers of the organisation.
The image shows us how all parts of the tree are interconnected, but please take note of the little arrows flowing up and down the tree. These show how the tree is almost an elaborate series of transport routes which carry what it needs to survive, grow and become stronger.
Some people believe that a tree takes all its nourishment from its roots, but the sugars and nutrients that photosynthesis provides are transported down to and through the roots as well. So a tree is an interactive and interdependent living organism.
We believe that whilst an organisation may have various departments and divisions and may even be spread across various countries, it is a whole living organism and should work in an interactive, collaborative and interdependent manner. In our terms, a “Team of Teams” approach.
As each part of the tree is needed to contribute, every person in the organisation is responsible and accountable for the organisation's culture through their behaviour.
Regardless of position or title, each person is responsible for adhering to and evidencing the organisational values. Every person, consciously or unconsciously, affects the organisation's culture by stating how they feel at work, about their colleagues, how they feel they are being treated and whether they feel they can speak out. These ingredients make or break organisational culture.
The small talk, the positivity, the enjoyment, the moaning, and the complaining affect us all. Sadly, people often do nothing about the more negative aspects of their working life because they may feel they can’t do anything about these issues. They believe that no one listens, or they are afraid to speak out due to the possible consequences (They need ES²).
In summary, our organisation must be like the EI Tree®. We must use all the nutrients we can to grow, to deepen our roots which keep us standing against the worst of storms, to grow our branches and leaves, giving us the nutrients to help give us our strong culture and keep us safe.
Our culture is created from our values and their underpinning behaviours. If we find people who are not adhering to those values, then unless we can help them change and improve, we must weed them out and cut them away just as the tree drops its waste in its dead leaves. Consequences must be employed!
“If you stop trying to please others and just do the right thing,
with authenticity, transparency and integrity,
you will win the hearts and minds of those about you organically.”
~ Mac Macdonald 2020 ~