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A guided Organisation Transition

The way it was

Like many international companies this one was also organized according to the “country structure’ .All financial data were ordered to the reporting rules in the country. Of course, but the complete organization was also organized according to this principle. The legal director was also the operational leader. But the dominance of the bureaucrats over innovation and sales blocked innovation and initiatives to new markets.

A market driven organization

The Global board decided to change the dominance to the sales and production units. They get challenging targets and direct lines to the market. The aggregated data presentation to the local laws was not the main reference anymore.

The change had consequents for tall interrelations between departments and their managers. The reporting lines changed completely. The legal head changed to a bureaucratic function, a mere reporting function, without any executing power. All personal in the functional services: HR, Finance, split to serve management in production and sales units.

Green light?

Having done this on paper and informing the managers and staff of their new responsibilities the new topmanager asks the organization development experts in HR: will all agree fully on their new responsibilities? Do they understand their new contributions? Their new ways of cooperating? Will there be resistance? How can we prevent blockades by some?

Succes criteria for a guided transition

  • They decided not to wait and see, but to make an intensive transition activity involving all. The involved the external consultants Huiyan Zhang and Ton Voogt to participate in designing and execution. What makes a transition meeting successful?

  • All managers and involved staff members have to participate

  • The meeting has to be a ‘work’ meeting

  • When it covers ‘sharing and agreeing on the goals’ to practical actions plans for all participants, departments and the Management Team.

  • Follow up in the daily routines of Management

Focus on the most important ‘process issues’ involved in a transition like this:

a. Speaking up on doubt and other blockades

b. Agreeing on goals

c. Understanding and practicing the new interdependences between the departments

d. Facing and changing implicit assumptions on self, others and cooperation

e. Expressing openly learning points for each and give feedback to others

The facilitators designed with the new leader and the HR professionals a trajectory that is a two day sessions as the main transition moment and one or more group coaching sessions as a follow up. The basic model for the design is the Nine Condition model for Coworking’ (Ton Voogt, 2014).

Design for the transition meeting

The organization building line to guide the transition

a: All gather as individuals and sharing the goals of today.

b: Group in their new departments: managers and supporting staff.

c: Discuss with the director on the vision and the implications of this new structuring ending with expressing the personal commitment to make the new organization work.

d: After this constitutional moment the departments reflect on what they see as their objectives.

e: In the general meeting this is discussed with the Director, so all know what the goals are of the departments and the interpretations do not differ.

f: The next step is the cooperation between the departments. Each department reflect on what they need from all other departments to realize their own objectives.

g: In two-to-two talks they negotiate on the realization of their needs.

h: In a shared meeting all express the results and come up with questions for discussion. The express what they get from the others and what they will give.

i: To set benchmarks the departments were invited to share examples of interunit cooperation that show a direction for further development. All shared in developing perspectives for better performances.

At this moment in the process all departments are connected, now the focus will be on the functioning of the Management Team.

j: The members in the Management Team have two responsibilities: they represent their department and they represent the ‘whole’ of the company. So they must be able to think to all topics from two perspectives: the perspective of their unique responsibility and from the perspective of the ‘whole’. All share in a Management Team meeting and all express their evaluation of their own department from the perspective of the whole. All evaluate other departments from the perspective of the whole.

k: The last step for the Management Team is on finding ways to lead this transition to a continuous attention at the agenda to the cooperation.

l: All express publicly their individual learning goals for the coming year

Line of learning

In between the organization building line are awareness, training and lecturing modules

On becoming aware of the habits in spontaneous executing a group task. (the cloth exercise) On becoming aware of assumptions in organizing cooperation. (the lost prototype exercise) On becoming aware of assumption on the tactic in cooperation (the winning game) Lecture and exercises on giving and receiving feedback Lecture on the nine conditions for coworking as a comprehensive cooperation framework that guides their thinking and acting for the future

Contributions of the facilitators

Connect all activities in the day to the overall concept of coworking, collaboration. In all activities during the day the facilitators intervened to promote open talks Especially the facilitators helped with role clarifications and finding new contributions Most attention facilitators gave to openly sharing of ‘not clear understanding’ of their roles when they grouped for the first time in their new departments. Also in the beginning of the meeting the facilitators helped the participants to express feelings of ‘uneasiness’, ‘not-understanding’ and blockades.

Support when preparing the presentation of successful cases Involving the Director to comment on all. Formulating goals according to the SMART criteria Guiding the debriefing of the exercises

Follow up

The director and the Management gave attention to the progress in the cooperation by evaluating projects. the discussed the ways each manager monitors the interdepartmental cooperation.The director addressed regular each department manager on his personal progress.

Two months later in a grouo coaching session the director checked all personal goals to the business goals. He concluded the transition was made and now improving ongoing of the cooperation was ingrained in the routines of the Management Team.

Huiyan Zhang

Ton Voogt

October 2014

This case is based on a real case. Our intention is not to describe this real case so we changed details. Our intention is to show how we handle specific questions and design unique trajectories and contribute in the execution.

© 2019 TonVoogtConsultancy ~ Recent Update 24-08-2017
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