Ben’s title at Creative Options Regina (COR) is Community Education and Outreach ... but in our short time with Ben, we quickly realized by the way he treats others – he means so much more to his organization. Here’s a bit of how we got to know Ben.
When COR opened it's doors they were a small group with big dreams built around the gentle teaching model. COR quickly established a culture of gentleness and began to grow in reputation and numbers. Growth for COR has been exciting to watch. They have developed amazing programs like 4to40, an initiative to connect people experiencing disability with forward-thinking employers who embrace a flexible 4 to 40 hour work week.
With growth, came more staff. While COR prides itself on being an employer of choice and creating a work environment where employees stay, they also identified some engagement challenges. Because we love COR's mission, we sat down with their leadership team to learn more about what was in their own DNA that keeps them striving beyond whatever a "best practice" is.
After our chat, we were truly inspired. And we learned that their goal was to support COR employees to maximize personal and professional potential. Using our three pillars, we had a few ideas to help COR further engage staff by consciously creating an environment that eliminates barriers, unifies the story of gentleness and expedites the ideas that are the hardest to uncover.
First we engaged leaders in one-on-one professional coaching sessions to help "unstick" their confidence and discover purpose. Then we facilitated a pulse check with another leadership group to uncover culture activity and alignment gaps. Finally, we used the outputs from our discoveries to hatch methods for COR to engage employees in new, exciting ways - this is where we met Ben.
In May 2017, Ben participated in a 12-Minute TREEO Incubator - part of our Innovation excercise.
Our Incubator provided Ben and his colleagues an opportunity to share, ideate and reflect on a gap identified during the Pulse Check: creating consistency in an inconsistent environment. Participants broke rules, reflected on trends and community, and shared openly and honestly. Some amazing themes emerged during the incubator which ended with a challenge for leaders to use output from this group think session within their teams.
That's what Ben did. As an infectious personality in the Incubator, the process helped him crystallize and socialize an innovative initiative that would help staff engage through their own passions. Here’s what Ben shared with us.
"Our purpose in starting (bring your passion to work) was to hear the voices of the people who are out there supporting and making a difference in our organization every day. They add an incredibly valuable voice when it comes to the people we serve, and they also have personal interests that often go unrealized or unnoticed for fear of overstepping or not having the (supports) best interest in mind.
By taking the time to hear about the interests of the people who support in our organization we are not only investing in the hidden talents that they bring to the table but valuing their right to have a voice. It doesn’t stop there either. We are also opening the door for new experiences for the people we serve.
When one is encouraged to bring their passions in to their work life, it is our hope that one can become passionate about their work."
We were incredibly inspired by Ben’s purpose and mission. Currently, the exercise has inspired concepts for new clubs, new initiatives, and even new conversation starters. And will get further life when it is featured in an up and coming leadership team meeting.
Super rad! Thanks for sharing your imagination and passion, Ben!
Your friends at TREEO