Fiona van Haeringen thought that Poetry and Business were incompatible but she was inspired to flip the classic performance review – as championed by the corporate world – and put Nature as the manager evaluating the overall performance of the employee – humanity. It makes for compelling listening and thinking and has already gone viral for that very reason.
About Fiona van Haeringen
Fiona is busy with her studies in the MS (The Biomimicry Center) at ASU College of Global Futures. She wrote the piece prior to the recent devastating flooding in Brisbane and the Northeast coast of Australia so it is perhaps even more pertinent now… #biomimicry #asu She has an active business and higher education career and her focus is now widened and deepened to consider how we, as a species, can live better on this Earth. She is interested in regenerative design and economics and their power to create systemic change. The practice of biomimicry (to emulate life’s biological strategies), promotes taking a living systems’ lens to human design challenges, ensuring we are not working against nature but within it.
Her work now advocates for a biomimetic approach to how we operate – from the structures of our organisations through to the design of our cities, our products, our food chains and ultimately, how we define what is of, and has, value in our economy.
Firstly, we do want to thank you for joining us today
Your very first performance review…quite a moment!
Now let’s see…you’ve been with us here on Earth all of just 24 minutes
Compared, relative of course, to the 4.5 billion years of our shared Earth’s existence
And 3.85 billion years since we, Life, made our first appearance
Quite the newbie in our organisation aren’t you?
And now, we, who are made up of the current collective
30 million plus species on this planet
would like to give you a little directed feedback
It’s an important moment and it won’t be easy because…
You. Are. Not. Doing. Well.
We tried being more subtle
We tried waiting it out
We thought, for sure, you would pick up the signs, particularly recently
That you would look, learn and listen to the things unfolding all around you and especially
To all the mentors we laid out before you
But you just haven’t caught on
In fact, you are, dare we say it…can we say it?
A little slow…and far too self-important
There! We’ve said it
We have ALL observed and it HAS been commented upon across the board that
You seem to think you are somehow running the show
Ahhh what sweet delusion!
So now, we must take you in hand, “manage you more directly” shall we say
To give you this one chance to realise that
Starting out and
Actually we must emphasise
Here with us on probation
We do need to be up front and let you know now
That it is highly unlikely, based on your performance, that
We will offer you an ongoing contract with this organisation
We had such great hopes for you
Were so pleased when you first joined us and thought for sure
Would take note
Would have reverence for…
At the very least, “us”, as
Your own life support system
That you would clearly see that you were but
A small part of the whole and that we were
All interconnected, working together,
One and the same organisation and understand that
Life creates conditions conducive to Life
But it seems we do need to spell out the rules for you
As somehow you thought you were above them
So listen closely now as here they are
Our shared home, Earth, has clear operating conditions
These are non-negotiable and whatever role you choose to undertake must
Respond to these as all Life is subject to:
Sunlight, water and gravity
Limits and boundaries – yes everything on Earth is finite
(A point you particularly have not understood well) and
Furthermore, all Life in this organisation adheres to the following six principles in order to Survive and thrive:
Evolve to Survive
Adapt to Changing Conditions
Be Locally Attuned and Responsive
Integrate Development with Growth
Be Resource Efficient (Material and Energy)
Use Life-Friendly Chemistry
There you have it
Have we been perfectly clear?
Any questions? …No?
Then we look forward to seeing how you progress with this knowledge from hereon in
You should know that
We shall be watching you closely and
Scheduling a follow up review very shortly
In the meantime…
We would strongly recommend that
You consult with Nature and its mentors from hereon in
And would ask you to
Please close the door quietly on your way out
Cover image credit Deon Robbertze