After 5 years Lara Hurwitz, a social worker and care partner at Thembalami Care Centre repeated the 3 day Eden Associate training, in March 2019. We learn a lot from other people’s journeys along the path of culture change.
Thank you Lara for sharing your wisdom with everyone.
Why did you choose to repeat the three day training?
When we started with the Eden Path to Mastery Guide visits I realised that my Eden Eyes were not 20/20 and if I was going to be part of the leadership team I needed a refresher. I also felt that I needed some motivation and inspiration. It has been 5 years since I attended the Associate Training.
After your first training: What aspects of the philosophy did you manage to implement?
When I attended the first training I was still very new at Thembalami. I also attended the training with my superiors so I felt that I was being watched and I was scared to say the wrong thing (my issues!). I was so overwhelmed by all the changes that ‘needed’ to happen and knew I did not have the power to make these changes happen. Everyone was very positive to start but the motivation dwindled. The only real change was using the word ‘residents’. I started looking at the residents differently and respecting their autonomy. I have had a personal transformation but have found it impossible to implement anything on a larger scale.
After your first training: What barriers did you encounter and how did you engage with them?
My main barrier was management, specifically in the nursing department. Thembalami then was primarily run on a medical model and everything else had to fit in around that. I did not feel empowered to make changes or even suggest changes. Essentially I gave up.
What did you gain from attending the training a second time?
This time around I gained more than just the theory. I took away practical examples of the changes that could be done. I also realised that there are areas where Thembalami has made progress and are doing things right. I gained fresh motivation and inspiration to carry the Eden process of culture change forward. I now feel more equipped to implement aspects of Eden.
What would you recommend to an individual regarding implementing this philosophy within an organisation?
I would recommend that they be patient and not try to do too many things at once. Understand that people are resistant to change even if they know it is needed or wanted. To remember that this is about the residents and to put them first. It is also important to work in a team as this cannot be done by one person.
What would your suggestion be to management of organisations wanting to start on a culture change journey?
Determine that all staff are on board and are willing to commit to a journey of change. Make sure that all of management is committed. Management need to support the staff in this journey and not shut down every and all ideas. The staff needs to be fully prepared for the journey and know what is expected of them.
Would you recommend other Eden Associates to repeat this training? If yes, please explain?
Yes!!! There is a lot of information to process and internalise in the three day training. During the second training I heard things that I did not hear in the first training which I found beneficial. In the case where the organisation is attempting Milestone 1 it is important for the leadership team to repeat the training at the same time. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and motivated at the same time.
What support do you think Eden Alternative South Africa should offer to new Certified Eden Associates?
I feel that regular refresher workshops would be beneficial. Maybe a one day workshop once or twice a year. This can work as a reminder but also as a space to discuss challenges and share ideas.