The Human View

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Sacred Agreements

August 21, 20235 min read

Fostering collective fulfillment through authentic engagement
In the tapestry of modern organizational dynamics, the concept of "Sacred Agreements" transcends mere contracts or policies. It's a profound recognition of the intertwined destinies of employees, their colleagues, and the organizations they dedicate themselves to. If we choose to embark on what can literally be a transformative path, the essence is found not only in advocating a shared purpose, but in nurturing individual and collective awareness. We
choose to seek alignment for diverse personal truths, and we put clear, dedicated attention on fostering an environment where authentic engagement can flourish. After all, if employees are living in a state of internal discord, it won’t be easy for the employer to find a state of workplace harmony.

Embracing truth: illuminating the pathways to right action
In this dawning era, marked by constant change and unceasing demands, the voyage towards organizational excellence comes into clearer focus as hinging on more than just strategy and execution. It calls for a deep-rooted awareness that sources from Shakespeare's timeless counsel: "To thine own self be true." Just as individuals must heed their inner voice's guidance of "this is the way, walk in it," organizations too must acknowledge that the question of Truth is far more than a Pilatean shrug of "What is it?"

To be true to ourselves, we must be aware of when we are not being true to ourselves. Gaining that awareness is the spiritual quest of many, and it is more and more becoming the business quest of progressive companies.

The journey unfolds through embracing an authenticity that reflects what Fred Sterling observes: "Truth is the integrity of thought, word, and deed that creates the freedom to be who we truly are." This includes aligning individual, team, and enterprise actions with the organization's core purpose. As employees and organizations mutually strive to uphold personal truths, the harmony between individual aspirations and collective endeavors becomes the compass guiding all actions.

Accelerating awareness: linking personal truths to collective impacts
If we are to lay a cornerstone for agreements that can become truly "sacred," we must nurture a shared awareness that transcends traditional workplace constructs. Such awarenesses can only stem from acknowledging that both individuals and organizations carry an innate call to greatness. It's a recognition that the pursuit of personal and collective potential necessitates a deep understanding of the self.

Given that early well-being programs - going back as far as 20 years - rested heavily on the Health Risk Assessment (HRA), today's efforts have evolved towards new forms that not only assess physical well-being but also probe mental and emotional health, resiliency, flourishing and thriving. And these fresh approaches must explicitly incorporate the alignment between individual aspirations and organizational purpose. Through this holistic perspective, communication and education serve as conduits to raise awareness, guiding employees to recognize the congruence between their choices and the broader mission.

Voca; "to call"
Within the symphony of the workplace, the notion of vocation can re-emerge—where employees' roles evolve from jobs to callings, grounded in a profound and more personal sense of purpose. If we can support employees in becoming more attuned to their inner voice - cultivating a deep awareness of self - then the choices they make will become more informed, and more resonant with their deep human essence.

John Templeton said, “A job can sustain your interest while you make enough money to support yourself in comfortable lifestyle. But a career is more than that--it is a vocation. The word vocation comes from the Latin root to call. Therefore, your vocation is a calling and, in a very deep sense, finding your vocation is finding yourself. When you have found your calling, you can give love through your work. In fact, love is the key to successfully mastering your vocation. It directs you to those special talents you can give the world and shows you how to share them with others.”

Engagement as key to organizational flourishing
David Allen noted that, "Most of the stress that people feel doesn't come from having too much to do—it comes from not keeping agreements they've made with themselves."

What agreements could be more sacred than the ones we make with ourselves? Individuated genius simply cannot come forth except from people who are being true to themselves. Moreover, those who honor their agreements to self are the trailblazers whose transformative journeys don't just enrich them; their explorations can actually galvanize their organization's spirit. When employees embrace their roles as stewards of shared ideals, their company's market presence can bestow a profound and positive impact on society.

The heart of organizational flourishing
An Institute of HeartMath Research Overview observes, "With stress levels continuing to rise all over the world, people are becoming more conscious - not only of the long-term effects of stress, but also - of how unmanaged emotions compromise the quality of one's day-to-day life, limiting mental clarity, productivity, adaptability to life's challenges and enjoyment of its gifts. At the same time, most of us have experienced how positive emotional states, such as appreciation and care, add a quality of buoyancy and coherent flow to our lives, significantly enhancing our efficiency and effectiveness.”

This suggests that a latent tapestry of collective fulfillment is available if we but recognize that it is there, and draw it forth. But it requires a workplace culture where each individual is acknowledged, valued, and empowered with a sense of belonging, so that they can contribute more meaningfully.

The last word
Ultimately, the evolution towards authentic engagement is not only a matter of strategy but an embodiment of purpose. As employers and employees alike increase their awareness levels, as they begin to make better choices, and as they begin truly to enjoy their shared activities, the company and its people become more and more true to themselves. Only this can lead to shared trust, and that is a most sacred agreement, indeed.

~ Mark Head
© 2023. All Rights Reserved.

"From the lowest depths, there is a path to the loftiest heights. The tendency to persevere, to persist in spite of hindrances, discouragements, and impossibilities -- it is this in all things that distinguishes the strong soul from the weak."
~ Thomas Carlyle


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Mark Head


With 4 decades of combined experience in employee benefits consulting, wellness and health management, Head brings a unique combination of dynamic perspectives into a clear vision of where the future of health care is moving - and it's moving towards deeper human connection, awareness, and engagement...

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