Healthy organization change agents need to support each other

Last week, I received some interesting feedback on my book, Creating Healthy Organizations. A reader (I’ll call her Kay) phoned me to follow-up on how to implement the ideas in the book. Kay filtered the book through her own experiences as a customer service manager and former small business owner who personally valued the ideals of a healthy organization.

Kay expressed frustration as a result of feeling isolated as a healthy organization change agent – no doubt a bigger problem for people in small businesses but also true in large organizations because of the multiple silos that exist.

Kay’s experience is that while there indeed are many people scattered throughout workplaces who share the vision of a healthy organization, for all sorts of practical reasons it may be difficult for them to connect and support each other. The result is slower progress toward healthier organizations than if these change agents had been able to share experiences, provide encouragement and learn from each other.  And, of course, a sense of personal isolation.

Prompted by this frustration, Kay asked a simple question: what can change agents do to support each other? We talked about the pros and cons of various approaches. Websites (such as the excellent Employee Engagement Network) can help to foster a virtual network, but don’t quite offer the depth of “roll up your sleeves” problem-solving that’s possible in face-to-face meetings. However, organizing a group of healthy organization change agents in your company or community is not easy. How would you start and who would take responsibility for keeping it going? Furthermore, existing professional groups have their own agendas. Here I think of my local chapter of the BC Human Resources Management Association, which offers an active venue for nuts and bolts HR topics on which practitioners must keep up. In short, neither Kay nor I had the answer to her question.

So for the many healthy organization change agents out there, I have my own question: What would be most helpful to you as an on-going source of networking and support? Surely a first step in this direction is a discussion on this blog, so please let readers know your thoughts.