The Power of Mixed TeamsOct 29, 2020
What is considered sustainable and healthy for nature also applies to companies: The Power of Mixed Teams.
Let's have a closer look to our nature, monocultures and permaculture - and what we can learn from there!
Conventional gardening generally uses a single method for growing food. The focus is on what the gardener wants to grow, rather than which plants best suit a particular piece of land.
“Monocultures can be managed efficiently, but they are anything but sustainable,” concludes a study by the University of Zurich.
Monocultures only use the nutrients in the soil unilaterally. Soon there will be too little of one substance, and much more of another.
- Because there is quickly too little of a soil nutrient, the farmer has to fertilize a lot. If he uses too much fertilizer, it damages the soil and the groundwater at the same time.
- Monocultures are more susceptible to pests.
Therefore, farmers have to resort to pesticides and herbicides.
- Fields with monocultures are more susceptible to soil erosion and require extensive plowing.
- Many animals find no food in the fields planted on one side.
- Bee mortality can also be partly attributed to monocultures - they severely limit the habitat and food diversity of bees.
In 2014, the research team at the University of Zurich came to the conclusion that plants in combination with other plants produce higher yields than monocultures.
Permaculture gardening, on the other hand, is based on the concept of using the right plants for the climate and only using what works best for the local environment.
When permaculture systems are designed well, they are intrinsically sustainable and much easier to care for (especially over time). Permaculture gardens create true ecosystems that have built-in mechanisms to constantly revitalize the earth, keeping the plants healthier. Healthy plants are more resistant to disease and pests, which minimizes labour for upkeep.
Permaculture was originally a sustainable concept for agriculture and horticulture, which is based on closely observing and imitating natural ecosystems and cycles in nature. In order to create independent, resilient and fairly distributed living spaces, permaculture proposes pragmatic methodological principles based on scientific ecology, traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, observation and experimentation.
But is this a new concept from the last century? No. We found out that “Milpa” is an agricultural system that has been operated by the Maya in Central America for many centuries until today; Mainly maize, beans and pumpkins are grown, which form a symbiosis. The maize serves as a climbing aid for the beans, the beans in turn supply the maize with nitrogen, while the large leaves of the pumpkin cover the ground, thus preventing erosion through rain and dehydration. Thus, each plant uses its own purpose and at the same time supports in symbiosis with others that everyone can achieve peak performance together.
What’s true for nature is true for organizations.
In the industrial age, we transferred the method of monoculture to people. Decades later, we are reaping the benefits of one-sided use of resources. Exhausted people who are spurred on to achieve maximum performance with extrinsic interventions. The fruits we reap: lack of loyalty, burn-out, inner dismissal, lack of purpose, lack of initiative and networked thinking.
Still, many HR processes and leadership principles are designed for the industrial age. But aren’t we living already in the age of the knowledge society - permaculture? Our society has forgotten existing knowledge from thousands of years ago, has not preserved it and has not passed it on, so we have built our concepts on the understanding of monoculture. The Power of mixed Teams is therefore not a new concept that has become fashionable again through diversity management, but a millennia-old knowledge that we were not aware of. Till today.
What do we want and expect from our employees? Fertility? Engagement? Think outside the box? I expect my employees to start living their uniqueness, to find their place in the system and to bear fruit. What do employees need for this? Certainly not carrot and stick.
Let’s look back to permaculture gardening and learn from there.
… which is based on closely observing…
… using the right plants for the climate…
… they are intrinsically sustainable and much easier to care for…
Healthy plants are more resistant to disease and pests, which minimizes labour for upkeep.
- How can we observe closely and take care to draw objective conclusions? Are we aware of our unconscious programs and conditioning? We have designed a program that can make unconscious thought patterns visible and how we can make more objective and therefore better decisions.
- How can we recognize the necessary framework conditions for cooperation of our plants? We have also designed a program for this. Based on bio-chemical processes in our brain, we can use a short survey to determine the "right" place, the ideal soil conditions and nutrients for your employees.
- How can we promote intrinsic motivation in our employees? Yes, you guessed right. We have also designed a program for this. There are actually several. But let's start with small steps. Leading by example and with trust. When people live their uniqueness, they are intrinsically motivated.
Happy and healthy people are more resistant to diseases and pests, which minimizes the maintenance work. The latest studies in natural science is making it very clear: Epigenetic. We always thought that twins will develop in the same way because of their same genes. Two identically twins brought up in different environment develop different – also in their genes. Shocking? No. These are great news. It’s in the hand of the gardener what kind of fruit the plant will bear.
Let me close with my favourite quotation from Alexander Den Heijer
"When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower." 🌻