Organizational self-care, or lack thereof, is a direct result of individual self-care. It is often exposed in the choices leaders make when faced with business challenges.
Here are two examples that illustrate this point:
In 2008, if you recall, there was an economic crisis. The banks took lending risks that ultimately caused the value of real estate to plummet. This led to bankruptcy for many institutions and created hardships for the consumers, i.e. employees. BUT:
When an executive, at a major healthcare organization, was asked to cut her budget due to the business impact, her belief that “people are our most important resource” was tested. Rather than “lay off” employees, she sought their ideas and suggestions, included them in her budget strategy, and shifted “non-critical” business duties to remote work. That strategy paid off with additional business for the department and an increase in employee satisfaction.
In 2014, when the CEO and Board of Directors of CVS Caremark (7,700 retail pharmacies, more than 900 walk-in medical clinics, 65 million pharmacy benefit manager plan members, and an expanding specialty pharmacy services), announced that it would no longer sell cigarettes to the public because of its longstanding impact on health, it was industry setting.
CVS went a step further and united the four company brands (CVS/Pharmacy, CVS/Specialty, CVS/Minute clinic, and CVS/Caremark) as CVS Health, and created a new brand identity that represented their shift in thinking about healthcare. They also publicized their belief that “health is the gateway for hopes and dreams to be realized.”
The belief was not new. Their decision, however, showed leadership – standing up for what was right–and organizational self-care. The naysayers would say it was about profit and it could be true. The question, however, is, who do you want to buy from? A company earning money promoting health and well-being? Or a company selling a product it knows put a person at risk for diseases? Your choice!
THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL SELF-CARE DOMAINS
If you consider the notion that individual self-care is inextricably linked to organizational self-care, Maya Angelou’s quote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time!” confirms it.
Each of the leaders in the above examples took action, unbeknownst to them, from their individual domain of spiritual self-care playbook. When they put aside their individual belief for a greater and collective purpose, i..e the organization’s well-being, they acted on behalf of organizational self-care.
Leaders need to look no further than their own backyard (individual self-care) when the organization’s well-being is at risk. By the same token, they need not judge themselves harshly when it is not. Instead, look to see if how you care for your domains matches the organizations. If there is a disconnect, make adjustments. If it is aligned, be thankful.
The relationship among the domains, definitions of success, and actions of organizational care is the same as individual self-care. The only differences are the definitions and the activities. For example, the physical self-care domain, in the individual domain is defined as honoring the body. In the organizational realm, it relates to the environment within which work is done (currently the home or a building).
The activity of hanging the vision, mission, and values of the company on a wall (in your home or work office) is similar to posting a picture of an athlete in your room to remind you to exercise. Why? Because the definition of success is that a clean environment promotes safety (organizational self-care) demands it. Just as the definition of success for individual self-care (I am alive with energy) requires it. A table outlining examples for organizational self-care is below:
CREATING A DEFINITION OF SUCCESS
Creating a definition of success for yourself in each of the areas of the self-care domains; writing them down to make them visible, and developing a discipline to recite them when you are thinking about giving up on your goals, will sustain you in 2021.
As Jonathan McReynolds says in his song, make room ( I find space for what I treasure; I make time for what I want; I choose my priorities), allow your definitions of success to help you choose those priorities so you are living a fulfilled life (individual self-care), within the organization that you work (organizational self-care). Both are inextricably tied to each other. As an individual, you can embrace your organization as your own and care for its culture. And leaders can care for the organization by leading from a mindset that it is a privilege to guide a team of individuals exercising their will for the greater good.