The Living Organisation :


Inquiry and Design

Urgency to change can become part of the problem if we leap into action with an off-the-shelf approach not suited to the situation.

Involving team members and stakeholders in gathering data, helps shape the specific nature of further interventions, validates team member’s own (differing) experiences, raises awareness of what is going on and helps people to consider their own role in whatever is happening in the team that they like and don’t like.

The data may reveal strengths or challenges in many areas, for example; structure and boundaries, clarity of mission and strategy, shared (or not) perception of the need to change, quality of collective thinking connected with quality of relationship, individual’s perception of themselves in the team, broader themes and resonances connected to the wider system.

Contracting for Next Steps

The data is used to continue to widen and deepen awareness amongst team members. The next steps required to improve team functioning emerge and become clear through this process. The focus at this stage is on the quality of the team’s agreement/buy-in to these next steps. If there is sufficient cohesion around what needs done, the team will likely accomplish it with some ease. If there is insufficient cohesion, the team is likely to agree to actions that do not get actioned.

Some of the “next steps,” may require facilitation. Many may be accomplished by the team itself.

Working Together and Reviewing Progress

In team development meetings/workshops a blend of discussion, reflection, action and experiment supports the team in raising awareness and improving team function. A key role for me as facilitator is designing (both in advance and live, in the room as the action progresses) the flow of the work, to maintain connection both with the data collected previously and with whatever is actually happening in the room right now.  If this connection is lively and engaging, action, movement and change will follow.

It is important to contract for and view the work as an on-going process over time, rather than a one-off fix. Meetings to review progress with leaders and the team are essential both to support this frame and to position the work as an essential, on-going part of the team’s business and delivery (rather than a one-off that can be quickly forgotten about.)