Caroline Newns Consulting

Reflection on a Cold Winter’s Night…

Written by: Caroline Newns

Despite burgeoning spring blossoms, I’m turning the clock back to winter months to republish my January blog on ‘homelessness’ and how a personal experience resonated with the support I provide to business clients.

For those of you who follow my, not entirely ‘corporate’ self, on Twitter (@CarolineNewns), the above image may well have touched your hearts. It is a bronze sculpture by Timothy Schmalz, depicting the homeless Jesus sleeping on a park bench.

My Twitter followers will know that I volunteered at a local homeless shelter this Christmas and I felt privileged to do so.

A year ago, I wrote a blog about New Year Resolutions and the importance of gaining support from others to make our individual – and our business goals – ‘stick’. The theme of working with and through others resonated during my recent volunteering.

I noted the similarity between a successful business organisation and a modest (and Church-hired) Christmas shelter for the homeless. The similarity can be summed up in the word ‘collaboration’.

Environments that are truly collaborative have people who work together and get behind an intention or ‘strategy’.

The strategy may be about securing market share through great products and excellent customer relations. Or it might be helping individuals, who are frequently despised and marginalised, restore a little self-respect over the Christmas period.

Environments that are truly collaborative also set the right tone or ‘Culture’. Culture explains ‘the way we do things around here’ and it is expressed through behaviours and underlying attitude. Behaviours such as demonstrating energy, creativity and curiosity. Attitudes such as respect, inclusion and being non-judgemental.

Environments that are truly collaborative are prepared to ignore labels. They are less hung up about hierarchy and job titles, acknowledging that ideas (and solutions) flourish in individuals regardless of their status.

Labels and job titles frequently deceive us.

Getting to know and understand individuals who are labelled as ‘untrustworthy’ or ‘scroungers’ teaches us to look at WHO a person is, rather than HOW they are portrayed by society.