Resources

Below are some of the resources and tools we use to trigger discussions about your individual work, team behaviour and organisational processes.

If you would like more information about the resources we use and recommend please contact us.

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Wessex Facilitation – work place review 

Might you, your team or organisation benefit from a facilitated review of your working patterns? Looking at the questions below, the more your answers are on the ‘never / not at all’ side of the 4 columns the more we believe we could help you improve your working environment.

QuestionsNever / Not at allRarely / partiallyOften / MainlyAlways / Completely
How often do you feel “in the flow” or   ‘zone’ when at work
How full of vitality to you feel at work?
How often do emotions influence your decisions?
How often do you feel satisfied by work?
How often do you smile, laugh or feel really positive about your work?
How often do you take time to reflect?
Is thinking time a valid thing to do here?
How often do you feel free of shame or unfair criticism at work?
How much does this organisation support you?
Do your family and friends perceives this organisation as happy place to work?
Are those you work with comfortable with their work / life balance?
How often do you feel creative, positive or joy at work?
How consistently are your values reflected in this organisation’?
To what extent are your emotions considered useful at work?
To what extent are you encouraged to support, constructively challenge or suggest new ways of working in the organisation?
How healthy is this organisation in your view?

Why not ask a few people you work with to also complete this review and then have a meeting to compare answers?

© David Owen

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Action Learning Sets – Would these help you, your team or your organisation? We have experience setting these up

A helpful definition to explain Action Learning Sets is as follows:- “Action learning is a method of problem solving, which also offers scope for personal learning and development. Each member of the Set prepares for taking action on the job – and at the same time learns about her/himself as a professional and as a person”. Gaunt/Kendall 1985

 Members of Action Learning Sets usually share some common ground in terms of role, situation, and/or goals, but different personalities and approaches amongst group members is helpful and stimulating, leading to different perspectives and suggestions for making progress with problems brought to the Set.   These problems and issues can encompass organisational, professional and personal subjects, with both emotional and practical help being offered. Often one group member has practical information which is helpful to every other member, there are usually many commonalities, and much mutual support and understanding is shared. The updates on progress with individual projects and action plans made provides continuity from session to session.

A possible format for each meeting of the Action Learning Set might include:

  • Welcome and re-connect
  • Report developments on action plans discussed at previous meeting
  • Agree ‘batting order’ for this meeting
  • Individuals have time to air their issue/problem with assistance from the rest of the group, and are encouraged to make specific plans for action
  • Review and feedback on the session. Plans for next session if necessary.

It is important that each Set has the opportunity to modify this format, according to individual need, and also that it is reviewed in the light of experience. There are different methodologies which can be used for tackling problems or issues which members bring to the group. These include:

  • Brainstorming ideas for possible solutions/next steps
  • ‘Sit out’, a process which enables the person with the problem to obtain some creative objectivity about it by sitting outside the group while their problem is discussed
  • Creative problem solving using different change management tools and techniques
  • One-to-one/smaller groups.

The group is usually keen to try any or all of these, and to bring other processes which they have found useful in other contexts.

It is important for the Set to spend time at their first session devising and agreeing ground rules to build safety and trust in the group. Abiding by these ground rules, which usually include specific agreements about confidentiality, taking a non judgmental, no blame attitude, celebrating success as well as exploring difficulties etc. and making them explicit is vital for the effective working of the Set.

In summary, a successful Action Learning Set will aim to develop individual learning and organisational learning through:

  • Peer support, encouragement and challenge
  • Practical action plans with opportunities to report progress and get further help
  • Effective facilitation and the development of helping skills

© Nicki Spiegal

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The Trust Equation

This is a relatively simple way of reviewing trust issues. You just need to reflect on four criteria and how they ‘come across’. Why not think about the level of trust in key relationships. If important issues can not be discussed in a safe and robust way then often trust needs to be addressed.

Credibility is simply ‘do they know what they are talking about?’ We trust people like doctors and lawyers because they are trained professionals. They’ve had to pass exams and been tested to make sure that they are credible and that they have a level of knowledge which allows them to advise people. We trust them as experts in their field.

Reliability is about delivering on their promises. Does this person deliver on their commitments or do they consistently fail in this regard? Repeated failures to do what you say you are going to do undermine trust. If someone is consistently late to meetings where a time has been clearly agreed, it erodes trust. When they say they’ll meet you at a time and a place there is a part of you that knows it is unlikely to happen – this is evidence of a reduced level of trust in the individual. If they can’t get to a meeting on time, what else are they going to fail to do?

Intimacy is about whether you can trust someone to keep something confidential. Do you trust them with information or have they let you down in this regard? Confidentiality is enshrined in relationships that doctors and lawyers have with their patients and clients. This is done to protect the individual but also to maintain trust in the profession. If someone breaks this trust, then there will be legal consequences – everyone is clear on this from the start.

Self-Orientation is the only denominator in the equation. It asks – where does this persons focus lie? Do they have my best interests at heart or are they doing this for themselves? Are they really helping me or are they simply doing this to get something out of it? If people sense that you don’t care about them or their needs, they will not trust you.

This goes for organisations as well. People don’t often trust institutions or organisations – they trust the people in those organisations. Companies are often described as credible and reliable – the first two elements of the trust equation. The last two are specific to individuals.

People have to demonstrate intimacy and self-orientation. It is why doctors have a simple criteria for making decisions – ‘put the patient’s welfare first’.

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Appreciative enquiry to build a team

In pairs (or threes) ask everyone to prepare to briefly talk about one specific ‘sparkling’ work interaction that has gone really really well for you – possibly a ‘break through or insightful of happy’ experience. Get paper and pen ready. One person talks first and the other JUST Listens. The listener or enquirer draws out and encourages the speaker to focus on what they did to make it such a positive experience, their unique and special contribution. NO CRITISISM OR IF BUTS ALLOWED.

As the listener notice how you receive what you hear what is said – can modify in 3s to have an observer.

The Listener may use the questions below:

Describe it in as much detail as possible, how did it feel, is there a metaphor you would use to describe it?

What made it so good?

What qualities did you bring to it?

What made this particular learning interaction work so well for you?

What was special about this learning?

Describe how you think the other person or people involved felt at the time?

How do you think it benefited you?

What was one special or pivotal moment that stood out for you?

How might you recreate this or similar experiences in your work?

Each person has a turn.

Then close your eyes and remember the other person telling their story. Imagine if you were meeting them the first time what qualities you’d notice and speak courageously to them. Share this and make sure you let your feedback in. Draw out how these qualities inform their work and how they might get even more in touch with them. What might you do to help others at work experience the same thing? What values or behaviours in your work place would maximise the likelihood of this (or similar positive feelings) happen more often? What do you appreciate about yourself and each other. What did you appreciate about the exercise and might you do it again or with others?

If feeding back to the whole group brief attention to the group rules.

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The Change equation:

A x B x C > D

Where:

A =  Dissatisfaction with current state

B =  Clear vision of a desired future

C =  A ‘do-able’ next (or first)  step

D =  The cost of (or resistance to) changing

The Beckhard change equation can be seen as a major milestone in the field of Organisational Development in that it acknowledged the role and importance of a teams’ involvement in change. Richard Beckhard has long been considered one of the founders of organisation development and he articulated a generic change framework, which comprises four main themes and understanding change as a process.

(1) Determining the need for change – We must be clear why things need to change. We need to articulate why it is unacceptable and/or undesirable to conduct business in the same way. If we are not dissatisfied with the present situation, then there is no motivation to change.

(2) Articulating a desired future – We must ensure a team fully understands and can picture their collective future as part of a changed organisation and can see their place in the new organization.

(3) Assessing the present and what needs to be changed in order to move to the desired future – We must be clear what individuals need to know and do to prepare themselves for the change and what steps they need to take in order for this change to be successful. The ‘roadmap’.

(4) Understanding resistance to change – issues of: loss, trust, lack of information, other secondary consequences, non ‘buy in’, lack of time. ‘Organisations don’t resist change, people do’– ‘its not that people resist change its just that they resist being changed’. (5) The process of change. You get to a desired future by managing the transition – Change is a process that has a number of stages and

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