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Discover how to transform your organization into a thriving ecosystem, harnessing the power of nature’s wisdom to foster purpose, innovation and abundance.

In the corporate world, there’s often a natural instinct to try to approach business growth as if we’re building with LEGO bricks, where everything is structured, organized and linear. But in reality, our companies are made up of people who each have their own non-linear processes, motivations and lives outside of work.

So what are we missing when we’re building organizations without taking into account the complexities on the individual level? What if we viewed our companies not as rigid structures, but as dynamic ecosystems, similar to forests bursting with diversity and synergy?

Purpose and Performance

I first started thinking about how to grow an organization like a forest at Korn Ferry, where I served as a principal in the firm’s Global Consumer Market. I was increasingly working with impact-driven clients and wanted to explore purpose on a deeper level.

I founded Korn Ferry’s Purpose Community as a space where people could come together to explore the intersection of purpose and their work. The community soon blossomed into a catalyst for organizational transformation.

Over time, our endeavors expanded, evolving into a repository of research, content resources and solutions that underscored the symbiotic relationship between purpose and performance.

Successful organizations thrive by fostering environments that honor individuals and empower them to operate from their authentic roots.

As the community grew to include 200 members, I found myself undergoing a similar transformation, reconnecting with my own roots and values, and redefining the impact I sought to make in the world.

It was during this journey of personal growth and introspection that I had my ‘aha!’ moment: Successful organizations thrive by fostering environments that honor individuals and empower them to operate from their authentic roots.

This is what produces fertile ground, nurtured by a purpose-driven culture among the people who coexist inside the company.

Shifting Mindsets

Although I eventually left Korn Ferry to pursue my entrepreneurial aspirations with Kindred Lane, this thought stuck with me. The notion of growing organizations like forests lingered in my mind, compelling me to imbue this approach in my work with other leaders.

It became clear that the fixed structures and processes often prevalent in corporate environments hindered the very growth and creativity they hoped to foster. By shifting our mindsets to consider our organizations like forests, we are able to access the untapped potential that is lingering in the organization.

Growing your organization like a forest means recognizing the importance of fertile ground for growth, the complex, rich soil and biodiversity. In this context, our organizational soil consists of values, culture and purpose – the fertile ground from which growth naturally emerges.

By embracing the ‘Wisdom of the Forest’, we allow for the emergence of outcomes that surpass our expectations, fostering an environment where growth happens organically.

Rather than imposing rigid structures and processes, when we invite spaces that prioritize the why over the how, the goals over the method, we invite in abundant possibilities.

By embracing the ‘Wisdom of the Forest’, we allow for the emergence of outcomes that surpass our expectations, fostering an environment where growth happens organically.

When people are rooted in their personal values and aligned with the organization’s purpose, it’s as if magic happens. Just as a forest thrives on biodiversity, so too does an organization thrive with the diversity of people, ideas and perspectives.

As leaders, it’s essential to consider how we foster interconnectedness along the root systems of our organization. Are we leaving room for wild spaces to exist – spaces where creativity, innovation and growth can flourish unbounded?

Tips to Guide Your Journey

If you’re ready to embark on the journey of growing your organization like a forest, here are some tips to guide you:


• Fertile Ground: Begin by assessing your organization’s cultural soil. Do you have fertile ground to work with? Is your culture built upon pillars of trust, transparency and collaboration fueled by shared values? If not, prioritize clarifying authentic, honest organizational values that you are committed to living, not just putting up on the wall.

• Be the Mother Tree: Just as forests have mother trees that give life to many others, as leaders of the organization, you play a pivotal role in bringing your organizational values to life. Reflect on how you are embodying your values in your daily actions. Are you aligned with the company’s values? And importantly, are you prioritizing your own holistic wellbeing to ensure you aren’t depleted while you nurture others?

• Create an Interconnected Roots System: Encourage employees to live from their roots and provide space for them to find commonality in their values, both with one another and the values of your organization. Embrace the stories of our roots that bring our values to life – where were these values learned, and who informed our root system?

• Soak Up the Sun: Demonstrate to your employees that you support their wellbeing and holistic growth. Ensure that they feel valued and are not merely seen as resources to be utilized. Define what wellbeing means within your organization’s culture and align it with your values and purpose. This commitment to wellbeing continues to nourish the fertile ground of your organizational culture. 

• Foster Community: Recognize that progress often occurs outside of set functions and structures. Provide space for community growth and connection on a deeper level. Allow employees to forge meaningful relationships beyond their immediate roles and responsibilities, fostering a sense of community within your organization. Embrace this ‘wild’ growth in your organization and see what grows.

• Cultivate Impact and Abundance: Consider how your organization contributes beyond its own walls. Like forests, which give life to many beyond themselves, assess the regenerative impact your organization has on your stakeholders, communities and the world. Be clear about how your purpose provides meaningful impact and strive to create value for stakeholders outside your immediate circle. Embrace a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity, ensuring that you are generous in creating value beyond what you take.


As you put these tips into action, remember that transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It requires dedication, commitment and a willingness to embrace change. But with each small step, you’ll move closer to cultivating an organizational culture that mirrors the endurance and resilience of a thriving, life-giving forest.

Elaine Dinos

Contributor Collective Member

Elaine Dinos is the Founder & CEO of Kindred Lane and has guided hundreds of senior leaders and corporate executives through career and life transitions resulting in greater levels of fulfillment, purpose, impact and wellbeing. Elaine spent most of her career as a Leadership Advisor and Executive Recruiter at Korn Ferry. But it is through her journey of surrendering to motherhood that Elaine’s true path unfolded; a path that led her to the Shakti Leadership Global Women’s Fellowship and Pranic Soul Yoga Teacher Training. In trusting the path of regenerative growth in her own life, she discovered the work that has since become Kindred Lane. For more information visit https://www.kindredlane.com/

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