Staying Healthy in Sick Organizations: The Clover PracticeTM launched on Labor Day, 2008 (BookSurge). Author Kathleen A. Paris, Ph.D. asserts that a large percentage of modern workplaces are emotionally unhealthy places. In spite of this, she says, people can find peace of mind and reduced stress following The Clover PracticeTM.
The Clover PracticeTM comes from Paris's 20-plus years as a management consultant and, like a clover, consists of three principles:
Tell the Truth, Always
Speak for Yourself
Declare Your Interdependence
All three of these principles are simple, but not easy to live. Paris says. "If peace of mind is the aim, we need to be truthful even when it's not convenient and even when we don't look too good. White lies even compromise our integrity and the degree to which others trust us. This doesn't mean we say everything that comes to mind. We don't have to share our opinions on everything. They are just our opinions, after all, and not eternal truths."
Paris teaches that talking to others about how things look from your perspective based on what you have heard and seen and experienced is a much better way to be heard than telling people they are careless, uncooperative, clueless, unprofessional, incompetent, etc. "If you make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and are willing to entertain other views, you are more likely to be heard. In any work situation, there are as many ‘truths' as people in the room," says Paris.
Declare your interdependence is the third leaf of The Clover PracticeTM. Paris says this is a hard sell in a country that celebrates its independence every Fourth of July. "Our personal success at work depends on other people in the same organization being successful. No one succeeds alone even if they think they do. Organizations aren't machines, they are living fabrics. What happens in one part of the organization affects many other parts of the organization. It is difficult for us to see how what we do affects others in ways we would never dream of. It is also difficult for us to see how we have a hand in creating our own problems. When we wake up and see these connections more clearly, we can choose different behaviors which can ultimately mean less conflict and stress and more peace of mind for us."
Behaviors and coping mechanisms that we learned growing up may not serve us well as working adults. Doing our "adult homework" to clear the way for living The Clover PracticeTM is recommended. One chapter discusses making the difficult choice to leave an unhealthy work environment. Another examines why so many modern organizations are systematically unhealthy.
Staying Healthy in Sick Organizations: The Clover PracticeTM may be ordered from Amazon.com ($15.99).