Framework - A basic structure underlying a system, concept, or text.
Human beings are hardwired to build connections, we thrive off access to open and honest communication paired with clear expectations. This holds true in the workplace, where interactions with team members directly affect our mental health and ability to provide for ourselves.
At Consciously Exposed Consulting we utilize frameworks designed to help organizations maximize emotional well-being and mental wellness.
This is a fancy way of saying that we encourage companies to have clearly defined roles with consistent expectations around communication and deliverables. When employees understand their role, know whom to go to when they have questions or need help, and respect whom they report to - quality work naturally happens.
To achieve this, we use the GRPI Framework ( Goals, Roles, Procedures, Interpersonal Relationships) to help managers and decision-makers at organizations better understand how to organize their teams and view the relationships between staff. We’ll use an imaginary non-profit as an example to show how this framework could be applied to an actual organization.
Let’s start with the first part of the framework - Goals.
In this example, there is an imaginary non-profit working at eliminating food insecurity in underserved communities. This company has a very distinct extrinsic goal that It aims to accomplish.
“ Reduce the number of households in (XYZ Zip Codes) who don’t have access to fresh produce by 15% within 24 Months.”
This is an example of a tangible and measurable goal. Employees may work towards this goal, and may even be motivated by this goal - but not because they share this specific goal. If the company only reduced food insecure households by 10%, employees wouldn’t necessarily change their own personal goals.
An intrinsic goal for an employee might be: To develop meaningful relationships based on trust & mutual respect. The Non - profit would then be responsible for creating alignment with the specific goal of the company, and the intrinsic goal. They can use the GRPI Framework to accomplish this.
How does this play out? Let’s look at the second part of the framework - The Roles within the company.
First, we look at the roles (examples) within the non-profit that are working to achieve this goal:
They all work to achieve the same extrinsic goal, however, their intrinsic goals may all differ.
Director - Support their families' material needs and provide their children with opportunities to be successful.
Senior Manager - Expand their sphere of influence in the professional community.
Program Coordinator - Develop more competence in transferable skills ( Public Speaking, Marketing, Graphic Design, UX, etc.)
Community Liaison - Develop meaningful relationships within the community
After looking at this list, you may already see where we would go with this. But the next step of the framework explicitly states this. The actual work someone does day in and day out should lend itself to the intrinsic goals of the individuals on the team.
To create the alignment required to achieve maximum success ( an emotionally healthy work environment), the procedures undertaken to achieve the extrinsic goal, and the incentives offered to employees to meet the extrinsic goal must speak to what the individuals find meaningful.
The procedures for each role may vary within the specific organization, but in general, these roles are fairly common. It is important to understand intrinsic goals during the hiring process to create better fits within the organization. Employees will follow the procedures because the incentives help them realize intrinsic goals, at least in theory.
The Community Liaison is responsible for identifying local farmer’s markets and connecting them with families in the community. The procedure for achieving this involves reaching out and developing relationships with families through town hall meetings and setting up exploratory meetings with the farm owners.
The procedures and intrinsic goals are closely aligned - which helps the Community Liaison find meaning in their position. The final piece in this framework is what makes alignment possible, and is key in creating the kind of impact needed. That final piece is the quality of interpersonal relationships on your team.
Their ability to find meaning in the workplace is immensely impacted by the quality of relationships within the team. This has changed due to the nature of remote work, but at its core, relationship-building is an indispensable part of growing a company, retaining employees, and nurturing development. The problem is - most companies are horrible at this. They use words like family, and community, and may even be successful at creating a community as a product for their customers, but will fall short of fostering that same environment internally.
Without a strong enough relationship, employees may not even be willing to share their intrinsic goals/motivations with senior management and leadership within a team. The relationships are the foundation for this entire model.
Your team-building activities should accomplish the following:
Create a space of trust, where a level of vulnerability is accepted ( Within reason - but ideally enough vulnerability to be honest about their intrinsic goals)
Create opportunities for the team to develop respect for one another
Space where they can talk about external factors that affect their mental state at work
The ability to hold other members accountable, while also being held accountable
Space for candid, honest, and direct conversation
How Consciously Exposed Creates The Environment:
The use of multidisciplinary arts and spoken word poetry art - More specifically the process of creating it, refining it, and then sharing it with a larger group is important, and can usually open a space where all the above points are covered in one fell swoop.
Are you interested in learning how your organization could benefit from the GRPI framework? Maybe you’re a non-profit organization like the example we used in this article, or maybe you’re a for-profit company looking to build an effective team.