Help yourself to an ‘Aha’ moment: Organisational Development for eco-inclusive enterprises
My personal ‘Aha’ Moment at SEED
My exciting journey with SEED started back in February 2016. As soon as I joined the team, I knew I was in for a whole lot of surprises. Before joining SEED, I had worked at a few Korean companies and governmental affiliations as well as international organisations, all of which had already established organisational structures, leaving no space for me to engage in the Organisational Development (OD) of those organisations. Never had I partaken in an organisation with flat hierarchies and accelerating growth. At SEED, I was amazed by the wealth of opportunities for the person like me who had just joined the team in an entry-level position — I could actively participate in strategy meetings to align my values with the rest of the team at SEED, co-map SEED’s organisational structure by identifying working domains with my wonderful colleagues, and allocate tasks. This unique environment nurtured me to develop diverse toolsets and continues to help me grow professionally and personally almost two years into my roles in the SEED Team.
At SEED, my ‘Aha’ moment was when I realised the power of our unique leadership culture of ‘shared-leadership’.
It taught me a lot since our leadership culture strengthens inter-personal trust, cooperation, and communication for the successful achievement of organizational goals. It also encourages every team member to actively participate in shaping and implementing our organizational goals, thus resulting in feelings of shared ownership of and responsibility for SEED.
Why does Organisational Development matter for eco-inclusive enterprises?
Organisational development plays a vital role not only for the SEED Team but also for eco-inclusive enterprises, especially newly-established ones but even not so new ones. Eco-inclusive enterprises often face the challenge of expanding their markets while building the right organisational backbone to support their growth. Despite innovative ideas and business plans, eco-inclusive enterprises tend to lack the pragmatic and effective tools they need to build the right team, structures, and culture needed for supporting and sustaining their organisation.
Organisational Development aims to improve an organisation’s capacity to handle its internal and external functions and relationships. However, to apply common textbook-approaches to organizational development often comes at the risk of creating a needless bureaucratic burden, reducing flexibility, and hindering innovation, which is a “no-go-approach” for eco-inclusive enterprises. In this regard, SEED supports eco-inclusive enterprises in their organisational development with just TWO simple steps!
Innovative eco-inclusive enterprises often lack the pragmatic and effective tools they need to build the right team, structures, and culture necessary to support and sustain their organisation.
Step 1: Toolifying Organisational Development
Combining our own internal experiences in the SEED Team and lessons gathered from the eco-inclusive enterprise scenes for supporting organisational development, we, in partnership with Siemens Stiftung – empowering people Network, have developed a Toolkit for Organisational Development.
This toolkit includes 16 tools covering topics from organizational structure to agile development and HR management. Most of these tools are already utilized by SEED in our daily operations.
Step 2: Applying Toolkit on Organisational Development
Following the development of this Toolkit, we applied it this year at two of the three-day-long epOnsite training of Siemens Stiftung on organizational development in South Africa and India. I was honoured to be part of the epOnsite workshop in India to impart some of this knowledge and insight in a training session in Mumbai.
The training session in Mumbai turned out to be a huge success for SEED, Siemens Stiftung, and the participants. More than 20 participants from across the continent joined the session focusing on organisational development – an area often neglected in their daily businesses despite many having an understanding of the role that human resources, decision-making processes, and shared values play in growing organizations. We were also honoured to have two previous SEED Winners - Tambul Leaf Plates, and Waste Ventures India - participate.
My ‘Aha’ moment during the epOnsite workshop was when I realised how effectively our Toolkit was already enabling and empowering the business owners participating in our workshop.
During this interactive three day workshop, I also gained some valuable professional insights into the organizational development processes at the workplaces of our epOnsite workshop participants. It came to light that participants regarded the elements of our Toolkit as critical for sustainable business operations, given how time constraints had often prevented them from considering many organizational development issues that had arisen in the past. These issues would become more apparent with time, and our participants would struggle to tackle them, despite knowing swift and effective solutions were necessary in order to continue running and eventually scaling up their enterprises sustainably. My ‘Aha’ moment during the epOnsite workshop was when I realised how effectively our Toolkit was already enabling and empowering the business owners participating in our workshop.
For example, after the epOnsite workshop Abdul Rahman Janoo from Waste Ventures India shared his testimonial on how the enterprise used the tool:
"Among different tools in the Toolkit, ‘Succession planning’ tool was very useful for us. We began to use this tool in our management & operations team. Our business is totally dependent on the reliability & transparency of waste pickup services we provide to customers, which is usually serviced by trusted truck drivers. As such, we are confronted with challenges: We have more than 10 trucks drivers who do informal pickups but they don't have experience using Toter Pickups (Pickups done through our Tech platform). When they didn’t have any idea how to do a pick up, we were forced to reschedule/cancel the pickups. However after applying succession planning we were able to tackle this challenge:
1. Now we allow other additional drivers to participate and provide them with hands-on experience in doing Toter pickups.
2. We have built an app for Toter Drivers in their native language. This helps bring transparency and less dependency on one individual driver.
We're currently working on Higher Management Succession Planning. As we can't afford to have more people on board right now, we make sure to keep in touch with the potential human resources who can join us later as full-timers."
-- Abdul Rahman Janoo from Waste Ventures India, 2016 SEED India Award Winner
Discover the ‘Aha’ moment in your Organisational Development
Now it is your organisation’s turn! Take a moment and revisit different elements of your organisational development. Casting questions include: what is my own role, as founder, in my organization? How do I engage with my team – inform and consult, involve and empower, collaborate yet delegate? How can I attract, inspire, and retain scarce and critical skills in my organization? How can I create a culture of feedback? We believe that this is the best ‘go-to’ solution for setting more efficient and resilient eco-inclusive enterprises.
Are you curious to learn more about the Toolkit on Organisational Development?