When nature acts as our organisational consultant, this happens
Can you build an organisation chart as a mobile of strings, sticks and symbols in the forest? Can the seasons help you understand development processes? Here's what we learned at Denmark's Mental Health Day using nature as a coach and organisational consultant.
Do you experience more peace and mental energy after a walk in nature? Then you are not alone. Research shows that in addition to the benefits of moving the body, being in nature also positively affects our mental health.
We spent Denmark's Mental Health Day in the forest to get out into nature, feel autumn and calm the nervous system—and do team building around our contribution as individuals, teams and collective.
Can you build an organisation chart as a mobile of strings, sticks and symbols in the forest?
Of course! Guided by Sissel Lea Nielsen, our language for how we are each other's world and part of Mother Earth was shaped by things we found in nature.
Each person and each team collected tokens for their contribution, and we brought them all together. It brought insights and nuances that would not have come to life if we had used a template in PowerPoint to build our organisational chart the traditional way.
It was a simultaneously sensitive, mindful and creative process which created an experience of being connected. The connections arising within ourselves, in our relationships with others and nature, are unique when we leave desks, whiteboards and computer screens and work in the forest.
Can the seasons help us understand development processes?
Yes, it is our experience as we recognise that organisational development is not linear. Several processes co-occur, are related to and influence each other.
In the forest, the season became an excellent picture of our current development. Autumn is harvest time—now we harvest the fruit of what has sprouted and been nurtured during the spring and summer.
The harvest consists, among other things, of experiences and insights we have gained in developing our contributions. We have changed our traditional job descriptions into purpose-driven contribution statements at individual and team levels.
The cyclical rhythm
It also became clear that autumn is not only a time for reflection. During autumn, for example, trees set new seeds—whilst the leaves begin to fall to the ground to nourish the new seeds that will grow in the spring.
It's a cyclical rhythm, where processes focusing on cultivation, ripening and preparation for germination are linked to what happens in the soil in winter. We often experience these processes as passive, but they are a prerequisite for both our and nature's seeds to crack, take root and then sprout and blossom.
The cyclical rhythm reminds us to be aware of changes in life, organisation and nature. Changes in the seasons cannot be forced. Nor can changes in humans and organisations. What needs to happen happens when the right conditions are present.
The cyclical rhythm. So easy to forget in a busy world, so essential to remind each other.