Process for Growth / Thriving / Self-Actualisation team members

In the global gathering we began to pull together how we want people to feel at different stages of working with Open Food Network. We then began to reflect on process that instances can put in place to ensure we create a good working environment.

It would be fantastic to have more thoughts on this topic as in Australia we’re currently trying to set up some new processes around this and I’d much rather be working with global to share resources and not replicate work others are doing but instead work on complementary pieces of this.

  1. What else is missing in terms of how we want people to feel? (I’ve made this a wiki so you can add directly under the headings)
  2. Have you set up processes in your instance that you can share? Are you working on any?
  3. Are there any processes from elsewhere you think we should look at?

The stage Growth / Thriving / Self-Actualisation is about what it’s like to work for Open Food Network. How are people supported professionally and personally during their time with us.

How we want people to feel
Whole person
Efficient, unblocked, empowered
Able to be vulnerable
Always learning
That they are bringing more of themsleves (heart and soul) to this work than they have ever done before
Secure livelihood

What information we should convey
Our history
How we work

What we legally need to convey

Tools and processes in place

Inspiration for tools and process from elsewhere
360 degree reviews 360 review process notes - Google Docs

Gross National happiness processes Gross National Happiness Framework - Google Docs

From Hi I’m Laurie to Everyone: (10:52 PM) a process to get feedback from team members about how we are hard to work with would be valuable (or what makes us awesome to work with)
From Lynne Davis to Everyone: (10:53 PM) Yeah I’m working on a process for UK for this Laurie. Like an anonymous form with: - Great things Less good things Then in a meeting space everyone says good things and the person themself can talk about where theyd like to improve based on feedback

Presencing institute journalling

Stewarship process at Enspiral

do people know the “appreciative inquiry” process. I’ve been part of a number of organizations that used it over the years. It might be a process worth looking into - just a set of tools that are not framed around ‘assessment’ per se. What is Appreciative Inquiry? Examples & Resources for the Appreciative Inquiry Process

One process I think we should introduce is a personal growth plan that follows a moment of reflection. So a process could look like:

  1. Team member has a couple of hours of paid time to think through where they’re thriving, where they’d like to grow - this is whole self with work context. We could provide a variety of tools of prompts that they may choose to use (e.g. as above Presencing institute journaling, happiness evaluation process) but this is a private self-reflection.
  2. Team member talks through relevant reflections from this process with someone like their circle members, or a person or circle within an instance responsible for leading this work, e.g. a culture keeper.
  3. With input from others, the team member sets intentions for the year - what they want to learn, where they want to explore, responsibilities they want to take on or shed.
  4. From this they create an action plan, with learning they need to address, activities they will prioritise, activities they need to undertake to enable the team to support them in these plans (e.g. if they want to stop doing a task how will they actively make that happen, they don’t just get to opt out without working on the solution). They set review points on their different actions.

Some questions: Are they going to be measured against goals for others’ expectations of their work?

Adding @tschumilas’s notes from #operationalising-our-values slack channel:
Just introducing the group to the AI (Appreciative Inquiry) process (yes - a different AI) . I’ve used it in organizations in the past - and it feels like a good fit with our values and governance to me, so I wanted to offer it as an option. It can be a HUGE deep dive - and I’m not suggeting that - but I think you can get a quick over view of its intent and process here:,focus%20on%20deficits%20and%20problems.&text=Appreciative%20Inquiry%20is%20often%20presented,1. And scroll down to get a sense of kinds of questions to dive in with here:

Thanks for taking time to gather this. I think it will be useful for us here in Canada - we have some of this work on our ‘to do’ list also. In response to your question above ? (is a volunteer/employee assessed against others expectations…?) I think for me the answer is yes. As an employer, there ARE expectations - whether for a volunteer or a staff - clearly the situation is an exchange. Even for volunteers - who are coming to OFN to acquire skills or learn something… there is an exchange in that OFN is expecting some kind of contribution in return. So - I think, ideally, the plan (whether we call it a personal development plan or whatever) is mutual - there are written goals/expectations that OFN has, and there are self-develpment goals that the volunteer/employee brings. And - if at review, some of these goals are not met - then there is a personal IMPROVEMENT plan developed that pulls those things out and has a plan for doing better (whether its personal or organizational goals that aren’t met). Without this - goals re kind of just words on paper. And - we are not a counseling agency - we are an agency that has to accomplish deliverables for funders and for our users… so goals have to be met. (I’d say if people don’t want to meet OFN organizational goals, there are lots of counsellors of dozens of kinds out there that they could spend time with on personal development.)

@lin_d_hop @Rachel @NickWeir do you have any reflections/input to share on this post and @GeorgiaS’s post: Onboarding new staff and vollies about what your thinking on this for your instances is?

Also @Kirsten and @Serenity_Hill your thoughts would be v valuable here

I really like this suggestion. I would like to try this out with any of the UK team who are up for it on the basis of asking for their help in refining the process as well as being useful for them.

We can then bring any feedback to this thread to refine the process

Agree that the process is one that actively engages the team member in drawing up solutions. Its THEIR growth plan - and OFN indicates if/how/where we can support it as an organization. So there is a kind of ‘sign off’ to it. (I might want to become a Ruby developer, but I doubt OFN can pay me my time while I do that…) The key is, the team member needs context info to prepare Their plan - like timelines and deliverables promised to users or funders…, expectations inherent in our circle governance system… etc. It would be so great to have a set of OFN ‘form’ templates for all this. We’ve talked about this at OFN-CAN - but honestly we won’t get to it until the new year.

I think for sure this can be discussed in ‘circles’. But frankly where I am stuck - is that I think the team member also has a clearly identified ‘supervisor’. Don’t they? Someone has authority to authorize payment. And for volunteers, they need to clearly know who to go to for help, support guidance - even to know why the tell if they are going to discontinue. Usually the team member’s offer letter would identify these things, along with their term of employment/placement, rate of pay, deductions from pay… all these things. People always need to know all this up front in my view.

I like the sound of the suggestion @Jen

I guess I want to balance between allowing people to dream about their lives and roles, and being realistic about what paid OFN roles can offer people - particularly when people are new to the organisation and still settling into the culture and realities.

In the UK Nick and I are talking about a process that will go something like:

  1. Team review - anonymous survey from other team members asking ‘What am I doing well’ ‘What I am not doing so well?’ ‘What should I do more of?’ ‘What could I do less of?’
  2. The team member receives the results and is given the chance to participate in a reflective session as described above by @Jen
  3. In a team meeting we spend 20 mins with everyone in the team saying things they like about working with this person and the person spends a little time talking about how they might address the things that came up in the survey and reflections.