"Thanks again for a wonderful and inspiring morning. I really like this belief you bring to the Company.”
— Senior Manager
Managers engage us to design and facilitate Issue-Based Workshops to help them address important aspects of business performance, such as: strategic management; organizational change; leadership and organization development; and group dynamics. We collaboratively design the workshop and provide informed facilitation of the event.
“Informed facilitation” means that we constructively challenge assumptions, content, interactional dynamics, and outcomes through our active participation in the emerging conversations. We don’t simply concern ourselves with the workshop logistics.
Workshop Facilitation Process
We design each event to suit the particular business circumstances, nature of the issues involved, and profile of the attendees. We’ve successfully applied this approach in a wide range of interventions, from intensive Leadership Team events to large-group working and participative, workshop-style conferences (e.g. 80+).
We might also carry out pre-work, to identify common themes and points of potential conflict. In such cases, we use a conversational (i.e. dialogic) approach rather than adopting a pseudo-scientific (diagnostic) stance.
Whatever the specific design, we focus directly on current work issues, emerging challenges, and required contributions, etc. rather using abstract approaches. This provides greater relevance for participants and tends to improve engagement.
Issue-Based Workshops set out, in a semi-structured way, to realise post-event improvements in business performance and/or capability. However, many of the benefits are likely to arise through the opportunity they provide for open dialogue, joint problem-solving, and shared sense-making around issues of importance and interest to participants. They can also provide a relatively safe environment to raise otherwise ‘undiscussable’ issues that might be blocking progress.
Examples of workshop topics
We have used this format in a wide range of situations, including as an effective way to:
- explore key aspects of strategic management and to provide a basis for strategy development, organizational change, and performance management - whether on an ad hoc basis or as a regular engagement
- help managers from diverse organizations to come together to develop strategies and action plans around high-profile and politically sensitive industry-wide issues
- reshape organisations and address issues of culture and climate
- explore the creation of strategic alliances between clients and prospective partners, in joint workshops
- develop proposals for divesting existing assets and identifying new business development options;
- develop new business models, such as a collaborative, ‘portfolio management’ approach to the management of otherwise separate business units
- establish leadership teams and enhance their effectiveness
- address historic conflicts between groups, as a basis for their future collaboration
- resolve problems relating to inefficient and ineffective business processes
- explore and exploit learning from a technological development project.