The Buddy System
I’m sitting in a small downtown park area, on a beautiful day, eating my lunch, across from the Folly Theatre in Kansas City, MO. The Second Wind Tour is blowing into town and I’m excited to be there and experience it. I’ve read the new book. I have great passion about transforming Eldercare. I’ve been engaged with the Eden Alternative Philosophy since I read Nature, Hope and the Nursing Home in 1996. This is exactly where I need to be today and what I need to help me further my growth.
Everything would be absolutely perfect except for one nagging little thing that has me stirred up. What reminds me about this irritation is a group of school children. They are heading back to school from the park. As we all did as children, they are walking two-by-two, holding hands as they navigate the sidewalk and cross the downtown streets. And I thought that is it. If only we could all remember just how safe and how “big” we all felt as we were able to walk along holding fast to a friend’s hand. It is about the connection, the partnership, the willingness to be responsible for another human being and just how important that is.
This relates to my irritation because I have recently, once again, been reminded of just how fiercely independent, and self-reliant, individuals, and especially formal organizational leaders, want to be. Why would anyone walk away from a culture change approach they have invested time, energy and money in, in order to try to create their own thing? What is the downside of partnering, or connecting, with others who are trying to go in the same direction you are? Why wouldn’t you want to bring the best of what everyone driving culture change has to offer, to the table? Wouldn’t that partnership maximize efficiency and success? I throw these questions out into the universe to see if there is some logic I am missing …
In the natural world, symbiotic relationships make both organisms stronger. Is it just because we have a reasoning brain that we believe the experience of the natural world does not apply to human beings, or their organizations? What is really great about my daily life is that I get to learn from leaders who understand the power of symbiotic relationships. I spoke this week with an organization on the east coast who is working on reducing their falls. They had emailed me about finding a peer organization that has done well who might share their experience to help them grow. They found that peer in Colorado. The two organization’s team met over the phone, shared ideas, and both of them are much stronger with reducing the risk of falling because of that collaboration. How incredible, and somewhat, unusual are those leaders? It makes sense. In this busy, out of control world, how much easier did those organizational leaders just make their lives because they were willing to reach out and take each other’s hands and cross that street together?
I believe in relationship building. That is why my designation of Community Builder is something I treasure. How incredible is it to spend your days thinking about new ways to connect people who are trying to accomplish similar goals? It is life changing for me. From the regular Registry calls, to the networking groups, to connecting people through email, to facilitating focus groups of Eden Mentors and Educators, I love practicing the buddy system in my daily life. We need more leaders willing to do that and grab the “hand” of another leader to show them it can make a difference. What about you? Who are your buddies to help you on this journey to forever change the culture of Eldercare?
If you want to learn more about how you can find a culture change buddy through Eden Registry Membership, join our free webinar on June 24, 2014 at 3pm ET. It could be just the “hand” you need!
(link to register for the webinar: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/908385262)