Concepts & Methods
...in the moment
...in the meeting
...in the macro process of organizational transformation
The Process of Organizational Transformation
Understanding, buy-in and commitment to Implementation
Dialogue-the heart of organizational transformation
In every encounter, with individual leaders and teams and large groups, at each stage of the transformation process, Genesis consultants facilitate the process of dialogue. It is through dialogue that mental models are modified or replaced, conflicts are resolved and emotions are shared and understood. That is, it is through dialogue that teams, organizations and networks craft a shared vision and plan and implement change. Dialogue is facilitated in the moment by moment of interaction; in the design of meetings and workshops and in the design of the macro organizational transformation process over time. (D = M³)
Dialogue in the moment
We use the term "dialogue in the moment" to focus on the actual verbal interactions which occur in the client team as a conversation unfolds either for problem solving or decision making.
Behavioral scientists have been documenting for decades the dynamics and effectiveness of dialogue. We have found that dialogue is not common in the behavior of leadership teams until it is learned through practice. The learning process happens with feedback coupled with facilitation and role modeling by the Genesis consultant and the leaders, themselves.
Listening with openness, voicing one's own ideas and emotions with ownership and respecting each individual help establish a climate of trust. By surfacing the underlying assumptions while understanding one another's feelings, defensiveness, denial and resistance can be overcome and a new vision or mental model can be constructed by the client team. These dynamics of dialogue in the moment are essential to the process of organizational transformation.
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Dialogue in the meeting
The design of meetings and workshops which cultivate dialogue include some of the following techniques.
- Agreement with the leader on the purpose of the meeting or workshop is a process of dialogue in itself and occurs in iterations. The Genesis consultant challenges the leader's underlying assumptions and uses interview data to help the leader address questions that have not been seen earlier.
- Interviews with the team members who will attend the meeting or workshop regarding the essential questions to be addressed. The interviews are summarized by the Genesis consultant and distributed to all members in a form which highlights both points of agreement and disagreement.
- The agenda of the meeting is designed to optimize dialogue among the members.
- Information input is distributed in advance so that a minimum of time is necessary to explain the inputs.
- The meeting is based on critical questions which the members explore via dialogue.
- The meeting is organized into sections whereby small groups develop answers to the questions, report back in plenary and then the plenary discussion is facilitated to find agreement.
- The ground rules for dialogue in the moment are employed and the facilitator guides the discussion according to the ground rules.
- Decision making is based on the following guidelines
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Dialogue in the macro process of organizational transformation
The process of organizational transformation usually takes months and sometimes years. Genesis co-designs the iterative process to optimize dialogue across the organization. Effective processes proceed by iterations. The top team conducts the first iteration employing the ground rules of dialogue and sets the direction, what we refer to as the "urgent vision". The top team also determines the "transformation priorities" and launches teams to develop detailed plans and implement the transformation priorities. The teams, usually comprising next level managers, engage in the next iteration of the process, also employing the ground rules of dialogue. Their work is typically submitted to the top team for validation and approval which represents iteration. It iteration refines and details the original direction. Through the process of iterations, in a sequence which proceeds "top-down", "bottom-up", "top-down", and by following the ground rules of dialogue, over the period of time of the transformation process, the top levels of management learn through application, how to enhance their effectiveness in dialogue. The process also contributes to agreement, alignment and mobilizing the organization to implement a shared vision.
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