With it being Thanksgiving season and Jouta’s annual retreat having recently taken place, gratitude is on our minds and in our hearts. It’s been a tough few years for everyone and getting together (in person!) to share, re-think and re-energize was a much-needed salve. Discussing what we’ve learned, how we’ve grown, and how we collaborate, as well as the challenges we’ve faced, allowed us to begin defining a new way forward. While we have work and fine-tuning to do before we share our full insights and commitments, this month of gratitude and transition is a fitting representation of where we’re at.

We’ve been talking a lot lately about the critical importance of change and managing that change. We also acknowledge that there are certain long-standing aspects of ourselves, our team, and our ways of working that we wish to honour and build upon. Organizational change need not be about ditching everything and starting from scratch, or even about radical change in one or two areas. It may well arise from a better understanding of – and gratitude for – your teams’ strengths, talents, and challenges, and how those can be leveraged to create not only a stronger, more balanced team, but more innovative, meaningful and/or effective products and services as well.

At Jouta, for example, one particularly autonomous team member shared that, despite enjoying and effectively working solo, there are times when more support is needed/could be incredibly impactful – but that it’s difficult for her to ask for help. Another team member said she’s so focused on ensuring others have what they need/are well supported that it leaves little time to focus on herself. Despite working to their strengths, for both of these team members, over time, this has not only impacted their own well-being, but could also inadvertently impact others and quality of work. These examples illustrate that it’s important to hold space for our own ways of being and their impacts, in part because they are strengths and make us who we are. It also allows us to look at how we can do things differently to ensure collaboration and mutual support, even when it least seems necessary – which will inevitably have a positive cascading effect on our collective well-being, as well as the work we deliver.

No matter how far reaching the change is, it must address the piece that each of us play, and our commitment to individual action. If the change movement is to promote and foster well-being, for example, while there are organizational changes and supports that can occur, it must be accompanied by management and team-member action and accountability. We all have to be willing to look inside and truly see what we do or don’t do that contributes to the fundamental need/desire for change. Accordingly, while it often does, change in its many forms need not come from a place of ‘this isn’t working or serving me/us anymore’. It can be – and ideally is – more of a proactive approach that builds in what is working, with an intentional focus on gratitude.

We cannot impress upon you enough the importance of doing the intentional and focused work (individually and collectively) that accompanies change. We know the time will never be right, there will always be competing priorities, and those who are resistant to participating. And – it’s only through learning about and honouring who we are as individuals/what we bring to the table as team members, that we can effectively focus on what each of us are willing to do to change.