2020 Reflections from inside the RAW Network

Posted
14/12/2020

As with all our December RAW Network member events, we carve out space to reflect across the whole year and celebrate together. And what a year it’s been. Our intention was to work with the following theme;

Whole Person Wellbeing; A Toolkit

And then a global pandemic hit.

As a community of learning peers, we acted fast setting up the fortnightly CC calls which gave us a further opportunity to learn and support each other.

We asked members at our December event to check in by sharing what they were most proud of before moving into deeper learning and reflection.  We set up three rooms on zoom; Resilience, Adaptability and Wellbeing and invited members to flit between the rooms to cross pollenate the learning.

Here are the key outputs from the wisdom of those rooms:

RESILIENCE

  • Resilience is interpreted in different ways – without due care it can be seen as a push for working harder and longer, rather than providing support that enables people to thrive
  • Resilience is being able to recognise and manage the many demands on time and attention, parking some of them, prioritising what’s important, feeling safe enough to say no and to ask for help when needed
  • There’s vulnerability in taking steps to address depleted resilience – saying it out loud, asking for help, saying “no”
  • Important to recognise it’s different for everyone and fluctuates over time
  • Important to recognise when overwhelm is increasing not just fluctuating – noticing changes in behaviour (self and others), different body sensations (self). Useful to recognise personal “early warning signs”
  • Care must be given to how you communicate around resilience
  • Two sides of the same coin: Harder to recognise changing needs in others when working is online AND increased isolation for people working from home – makes it harder to speak up
  • The difficulty of drawing a line between individual and organisational responsibility for resilience and wellbeing

ADAPTABILITY

  • A growing understanding of how everything is changing all the time and chasing certainty is futile
  • Inner state and presence is crucial – stay calm, don’t panic
  • Learning to really listen was seen as essential and most issues arose when someone somewhere had refused to listen. There was a call to ‘cut through the bullshit’
  • The pandemic called for more inclusion. An ‘in it together’ feeling
  • Adaptability requires the following skills, listening, responding, creative thinking, time for reflection and space for review and diversity of thinking
  • Different personality types adapted in different ways to the restrictions
  • It takes a network of people not just one to hold responsibility for adaptability
  • We’ve had to decide much quicker than we’d preferred
  • Communication (often and clearly) was critical if employee engagement mattered

WELLBEING

  • One size doesn’t fit all
  • Culture really stands out when there is a crisis and act as a great reality check for what’s working and what needs attention
  • Regular review of what’s being offered is essential (as it will change as the context and needs change)
  • Isolation has been one of the biggest challenges for wellbeing this year
  • Crisis management has often overtaken but through a lens of supporting and helping colleagues to be able to do their work
  • Being realistic about what can be done and how
  • Rising levels of sickness alongside lowering motivation levels
  • Needing to support a general feeling of overwhelm
  • Working from home as proven that presenteeism fear isn’t real but has driven a new challenge in that people are working longer and not switching off when working from home
  • Some managers finding it difficult being a manager from a distance and we’ve seen an increase in micro management issues
  • Zoom fatigue is real

Reviewing the RAW Network

The RAW Network is a learning peer group and as such we (at Oasis) are always curious to know if peers are getting what they need from the network. We asked the group to answer the following question, ‘What does the RAW Network mean for me?’ and we wanted the answer in a metaphor.

We were blown away by the level of creativity… in no particular order…

Gardening

Selfish me time, to grow and find space. To fill up my pot in a nurturing environment whilst at the same time create growth in something else nourishing for others 

 

 

 

On a different planet

Being able to step out of the detail and see the bigger picture. Connect with radical ideas and be blown away (not too much, we hope!) 

 

 

 

Trail Running 

Can feel like a lonely sport, you’re on your own but then you’ll happen across other folk and for a while you’re run together, taking in the beautiful countryside and views. And then travel again alone. It’s a privilege and it’s hard work

 

 

 

Nourishing bowl of homemade Thai chicken noodle soup


A sense that it’s taken time care and luxury ingredients to prepare the soup. That someone has really thought about the execution of it. It’s both warming and nourishing. It takes time, effort and intention and a lot of love has gone into it. A welcome break from the day to day beans on toast

 

 

Oak tree: From mighty oaks, acorns are born


A sense that things can grow. It renews each year. Has solid roots and is established but space for all across the many branches 

 

 

RAW 2021 Theme

Keeping with the Oak Tree theme we invited member to drop a metaphorical acorn into the ground to cultivate over winter. Based on your feedback, our theme for 2021 is going to be:

WILL; Action and Accountability in your RAW World

You said you wanted more action and accountability and so here it is.

Before we wrapped up we wanted to learn more about what was working and what we needed to adapt about the network itself. You said you wanted…

More 

  • Access to business leaders to learn what they’ve done
  • Accountability and action
  • Articles central to discussion to read beforehand
  • Separating out the checking in with what’s currently being done with what’s radical and future
  • Space in a building face to face
  • Exploration of new ideas with practical applications
  • Tried and tested educational things that have worked
  • More awareness of which organisations are cutting edge – what can we learn (eg the £70k flat salary business)
  • Taking the frameworks into organisations and putting it into action
  • Theme, helps to have a frame
  • Balance creativity with forward thinking
  • Developing the relationships within the network
  • Variety of activities

Less 

  • Zoom
  • Basecamp – found it hard to look on top of all the other platforms people are holding (a request instead for a private Facebook group or WhatsApp group)

Lise and Jane will be reviewing all these ideas and suggestions in order to shape a fruitful year for the network.

Jennifer Potter

Associate

Highly experienced coach, consultant, and wellness expert offering an integrated approach to wellbeing at work