Facilitation methods for organizational development

Yesterday I took on a facilitation challenge with my Master’s degree classmates. We used some interesting frameworks and tools to develop a leadership, culture, capabilities and change agenda for our temporary consulting firm of 4 classmates.

To identify our consulting capabilities, we used a Management Consultancy Competence Framework.  On a whiteboard prepared with the areas of competence, each team member placed a green stickie with valuable experience they had in that area, or a pink stickie indicating a weakness.  We gave the team a score (from 1 to 5) in each competency, and discussed how to fill our skills gaps.  This short exercise built our confidence!

culture wheel double dotsWe used a double dot-mocracy method to discuss the leadership style and culture that is suited to working with our client.  The Denison Model of organizational culture was posted on a foamcore board.  Each team member placed 5 pushpins on the culture characteristics they thought were most important.  We discussed why “Strategic Direction and Intent” got many votes, and why “Agreement” was unpopular (the team wants space for critical thinking and disagreement before coming to consensus).  Each team member then added 5 more pushpins, which allowed us to change our views, but in this case reinforced the preliminary votes.

art-book-facilitationOur last exercise in this long meeting was to describe the change we want to bring about, in our client’s ecosystem and our own.  To revive our flagging spirits, we looked at art books to inspire some answers to questions about the situation, context, actors, strategies and pathways of change.  Each of us flagged pages with paintings that spoke to us, providing random signals to spark discussion.  A photo of the Rainbow City exhibition reminded a teammate of Tokyo’s design spirit, pushing us to keep seeking solutions that are intuitive for people to use.

These three exercises took about two hours, and gave shape to the amorphous topics of organizational culture and team leadership.  It’s going to be a great semester working with Kashfia Rahman, Alastair Woods and Andrew Hladkyj!

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