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Evolving Beyond Teams – Cultivating Ecosystems For Organisational Success

Written by: Delanie Jooste, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Delanie Jooste

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern organisations, the way we work together is undergoing a profound transformation. We often use sports metaphors to describe our teams, but have we ever paused to consider the subtle impact of these metaphors on how we collaborate and succeed together?

Teamwork of businesspeople work together and combine pieces of gears.

When we refer to our workgroups as "teams," we unwittingly enter the arena of competition, where lines are drawn between "us" and "them." This dichotomy not only limits our actions to two stark outcomes – "winning" and the inevitable "losing" – but it also spawns a host of unintended consequences. It can foster internal competition, sow discomfort when our team isn't "winning," and, more crucially, anchor us in a fixed mindset.

The "winning" and "losing" mindset can trigger negative emotions that cause us to operate defensively, stifling our creativity, innovation, and appetite for healthy risks. It can erode trust within organisations, undermining the psychological safety required for growth. Worst of all, it can hinder shared learning and seeking support, slowing our progress towards continuous improvement.

Is this truly the path we wish to tread in today's dynamic business environment, where adaptability, innovation, and resilience are paramount? How can we foster the profound interconnectedness that recognises the worth of every individual's contribution to the greater whole? How can we broaden our perspective on success, extending it beyond our immediate organisations to encompass external stakeholders such as service providers, competitors, government bodies, and, most significantly, the customers we serve?

Recently, I encountered the concept of organisations as "living systems," as articulated by Richard K. Knowles, where all components are interconnected and constantly adapt to changes while preserving their identity and sustainability. This notion prompted a thought-provoking question: How might our thinking, emotions, and actions change if we embraced a mindset akin to an ecosystem?

Shifting from an "us-them" mindset to one of interconnectedness requires a significant cultural transformation for organisations. It involves fostering collaboration, vulnerability, empathy, and a shared sense of purpose among employees.

Shifting from a "winning/losing" mindset to one of "thriving sustainably" in organisations involves a fundamental change in how success is defined and pursued. It requires a focus on long-term sustainability, well-being, and responsible business practices.

In the articles that follow, we will delve into the nuances of this transformative shift, exploring how it influences our approach to goals, structure, interactions, problem-solving, sustainability, culture, and measurements of success within our organisations. I will also provide practical action steps to help organisations cultivate this ecosystem mindset, as well as guidance on transitioning from "us-them" to interconnectedness and from "winning/losing" to thriving sustainably.

Join us on this journey as we navigate the terrain of organisational transformation, discovering how nurturing ecosystems can propel us toward shared success, sustainability, and a thriving future.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Delanie Jooste  Brainz Magazine

Delanie Jooste, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

I am a Certified Integral Coach through New Ventures West and the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. I am also a passionate Certified Enneagram Practitioner through Integrative Enneagram Solutions and run my own Consulting Business and Coaching Practice. I am creative and analytical and incorporate LEAN principles with Positive, Conversational and Emotional Intelligence concepts in Team and Leadership Development Programmes which integrate coaching, training and development initiatives to build the systems, skills, competencies and habits that allow teams and individuals to develop agency, expand their perspective and increase their capacity to achieve their desired outcomes.



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