The EI Tree
(Written June 2020)
This document about our EI Tree presents a more holistic view of what we offer to many organisations. The EI Tree gives an overview of the collective aspirations and desired outcomes most organisations dream of, but rarely manage to achieve due to a lack of truly authentic commitment.
The tree shows how we should all be working as one in our organisations. The fruit is all different shapes, types and different colours just like we as people are, with different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures and emotions. Our position or title should not dictate how we behave. What should drive our behaviour are the organisational values we expect all our people to adhere to, which should map across closely to our people’s values.
We should be proud to evidence and live those values every day and protect them from those who do not adhere to them. After all, our organisational culture depends on every one of us.
The EI Tree works similarly to how a tree grows. It transports the good and bad beliefs people have about the organisation around the whole structure. In essence, an organisation has a number of people in different departments, divisions and teams, and each person has an impact on how others feel about working in their organisation. They will either pass on goodness as an almost invisible fuel like inspiration and motivation, or sometimes pass on negative beliefs and behaviours which have an adverse effect. Negativity eats away culture!
Let’s look at the components of a real tree and then compare it to the EI Tree model. We’ll look at them side by side and get a feeling of why we saw the connection of a tree to an organisation. But, most importantly, why it works when it is nurtured and allowed to flourish.
The Parts of a Tree:
In the table below we compare how a tree works to our organisation. The parts of a tree most of us would quickly recognise include the roots, trunk, twigs, branches, leaves, bark, flowers/fruits/seeds and perhaps a lesser known word is phloem. We’ll see what phloem does as it occasionally surprises some people by how it nourishes the whole tree. I’d clearly forgotten this from my school days.
Trees, The EI Tree and Our People:
How The EI Tree Works:
The image of our EI Tree depicts the ideal end of our EI based Phoenix Effect programme. The programme seeks to identify what is not good about the current culture and address the root cause of each issue. The programme then burns down the old and builds up the new, hence the “Phoenix” Effect.
This programme can only work when every person unites to make it succeed. It is all the people who make it work, not just senior leadership and management of the organisation.
The image shows us how all parts of the tree are interconnected, but please take note of the little arrows flowing up and down the tree. These show how the tree is almost an elaborate series of transport routes which carry what it needs to survive, grow and become stronger.
Some people believe that a tree takes all its nourishment from its roots, but the sugars and nutrients which photosynthesis provide are transported all the way down to and through the roots as well. So a tree is actually a whole interactive and interdependent living organism.
We believe that whilst an organisation may have various departments, divisions and may even be spread across various countries, it too is a whole living organism and should work in the same interactive, collaborative and interdependent manner. A “Team of Teams” approach.
As each part of the tree is needed to contribute, every person in the organisation is responsible and accountable for the culture of the organisation through their behaviour.
Each person, regardless of position or title, is responsible for adhering to and evidencing the organisational values. Every person, whether consciously or unconsciously, affects the culture of the organisation by stating how they feel at work, how they feel about their colleagues, how they feel they are being treated and whether they feel that they can speak out or not. This makes or breaks organisational culture.
The small talk, the positivity, the enjoyment, the moaning, the complaining affects us all. Sadly people, more often than not, do nothing about the more negative aspects of their working life because they may feel they can’t do anything about these issues. They believe that no one listens, or worse yet, they’re afraid to speak out due to the possible consequences (They need ES²).
In summary, our organisation must be like a tree. We must use all the nutrients we can to grow, to deepen our roots which keep us standing against the worst of storms, to grow our branches and leaves giving us the nutrients to help give us our structure and keep us safe.
Our culture is created from our values and their underpinning behaviours. If we find people who are not adhering to those values, then unless we can help them change and improve, we must weed them out and cut them away just as the tree drops its waste in its dead leaves.
“If you stop trying to please others and just do the right thing,
with authenticity, transparency and integrity,
you will win the hearts and minds of those about you organically.”
~ Mac Macdonald 2020 ~