As part of Cornwall Festival of Business run by Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, LifeMOT ran two sessions of Business Conversations on 31st October at Tremough Innovation Centre. We were pleased to be able to run both events free of charge to the participants and to be able to test drive this Business version of our established Life Conversations.
The sessions were based on the principles of Appreciative Inquiry and conducted as facilitated positive encounters focused on the area of Health and Wellbeing at work, a topic that proved to be fertile ground for conversation. The aim, achieved in both sessions, was for the participants to be speaking most of the time and interacting with each other.
We set the scene with statistics which we will publish in a later post.
There were three sets of questions.
We opened with a fairly obvious set of statements.
- People are important to business
- Employers/owners, managers and employees are all people
- In order to get the performance from a business, we must consider the health and wellbeing of those people.
We framed Health and wellbeing as being relevant to
- Mental Health
- Physical Health
Our central assumption was that some things are working within business and some less so. Our intention was to learn from each other on approaches, initiatives and projects to ensure a healthy and productive workplace.
Our questions were –
- Current business
- What is currently working
- What do you know could be better
- What more could you be doing
- Imagine 7 years in the future. Everything that you imagined has happened.
- What is going on?
- What has changed for
- The Business
- What 3 wishes would enhance the health and vitality of your organisation?
The conversation took place under Chatham House rules, allowing the conversation to be reported but nothing attributed to individuals. These notes follow that principle.
Much is working already within businesses and for individuals. For some their individual position had changed in recent times, moving roles or seeing positive e changes in their current role. Communication at all levels of the business was something that could be improved – knowing your employees, showing appreciation, staff events, time out spaces and external support for areas such as mindfulness or massage to relieve stress.
Looking 7 years into the future, a lot will have changed. Growth of the business was part of this but other areas included smarter working, shorter working weeks, delivering a better service and improved environment.
The 3 wishes for the future were all about the enjoyment of work, better communication, increased support, strategic use of training – for Managers and Directors as well as staff -which can be applied immediately. Collaboration and integration across the business featured with both groups and lack of that is clearly a major barrier to businesses performing better. Checking in with employees was also important, in a supportive way and to ensure that all is being done for the physical and mental wellbeing of that employee.
At the 2019 Cornwall Healthy Workplace Awards, Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work said “It is fantastic to see Cornwall and Isles of Scilly championing the health and work agenda and I look forward to seeing the Workplace Award act as a catalyst for further change in the county. Good health is good business and I encourage all employers that are serious about the agenda to apply for this confirmation of best practice.”
LifeMOT will be offering further Business Conversations in two ways –
- As a single company event, part of staff training or motivation or to kick off a new project, perhaps using the Appreciative Inquiry Model.
- Further public events with particpants from all levels and a diversity of businesses.
More will follow as we develop the outcomes from the Festival events and will appear on the News tab at Click on the Events tab to see our future events – Life Talks, Life Conversations and Business Conversations.