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SALT is good for your (organizational) health

Bijgewerkt op: 4 dec. 2018

This article has been written by Anita Sheehan, an experienced SALT-facilitator.

First published on her website:

picture by Eddy Van Hemelrijck

Salt, also known as sodium chloride (NaCl), is an essential ingredient in our food supply and for our metabolism. We all know it: without salt, our bodies cannot function properly. And today, I’d like to draw the parallel to another form of SALT. As I look around me, I observe that many, if not most, organizations and institutions, seem to lack the right amount of SALT. Their bodies are suffering from many malfunctionings, on all levels, in every organ. The symptoms are–a lack of organizational efficiency, absenteeism, rising numbers of burnout and much more.

By now you may have guessed: I am not talking about the chemical compound, but about a human element compound. And of course, SALT is an acronym.

Where does it come from and what does it stand for? SALT originated in the field of community development. For a detailed description about its birth, have a look at the website of “What Makes us Human?” by Jean-Louis Lamboray.

Why is SALT ever so important in our organizations and in our society as a whole? To find out, have a look at the acronym:

S – Stimulate (conversations; learning) A – Appreciate (each other’s strengths and qualities) L – Learn, Listen, Link with each other T – Transfer (the learning), Trust

These may come across simply as words. But think about it. In how many organizations do we really have honest conversations, conversations where we appreciate each other, where we listen deeply to each other and where we build the trust necessary for optimal collaboration?

What if? What if these simple attitudes and behaviors became the norm in your organization? How much would that contribute to the flourishing not only of each individual but the whole team, the entire organization? How would it affect a company’s culture? I let your imagination do the “math”.

Hundreds, thousands of communities around the world are living proof of the power of SALT. Using SALT, they have rid themselves of AIDS, malaria, poverty, drug abuse and, and, and . . . “simply” by focusing on each other’s strengths, their competences and a common vision of what they all want.

We realize that what can help communities not only overcome seemingly insurmountable issues, but also make them flourish each in their specific context, can be applied to any organization, no matter how small, no matter how big. SALT has proven to be transformational not only for a group, but also for each individual within the organization. And now imagine working in such a place. . . . Remember, what we pay attention to grows, and what is it you want to grow in your organization? So, put a little SALT into your life, and marvel at the regeneration of each cell in your (organizational) body.


next SALT-workshop in Dutch at Emagine Center : Impact through Appreciation, Feb 7-9, 2019

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