Join a Reflective Consultancy Group for those precious moments of illumination.
Thursday, 10.24 am
An organisational development consultant calls and says she needs help with a consultancy assignment in which she is currently engaged. Her client is a global manufacturer employing 20,000 people on three continents. The client says the cultural differences between the sites are difficult to manage as the corporate leadership tries to align them with central strategy. The sites are working well locally but insurmountable conflict arises when attempts are made at global integration. The different sites have divergent ways of doing things, there is rebellion in the hierarchy, and senior leadership staff are usually not retained for long. The business has to grow to survive and the company needs help. The company is successful in its business of manufacturing, the share price is rising and the competitors are still a long way off.
The consultant tells the story on the telephone with a mix of excitement to be working with such a prestigious global company and anxiety about how to take up her role confidently that would show that she knows what she is doing. She says she has been working with the client for several weeks and her anxiety has turned to despair and frustration because conversations with the CEO have been met with a sceptical reaction to her ideas and proposals.
A week later: a working hypothesis
Following this initial conversation and subsequently meeting with her and gathering more data, we were able to put forward the following hypothesis: that the inability of the different sites to collaborate was being enacted in the senior leadership in the conflicts they had with each other and reflected in the CEO’s scepticism towards the consultant’s ideas about how to work with these problems.
Back with the client
As a result of our help, the consultant felt more able to articulate back to the client this working hypothesis that had led them to be stuck in what seemed to be an impossible conflict. This then led the leadership to make better sense of the experiences they were having and take a more collaborative approach to the dispersed sites and their attempts at integration.
This is an example of the type of dilemma you may be puzzled about and would like to get some help with when taking up your role as an OD consultant or HR strategist. On reflection, the opportunity for this consultant to think about the experience she was having, gave her the chance to consider more fully and enlarge her capacity to take up her role and intervene in this complex system. Reflection and dialogue about complex projects like this are not a luxury but a necessity.
Find out more about the this regular Reflective Consultancy Group that explores the roles and tasks within organisational development and change consultancy/HR strategies and examines how you take up these within your practice or work setting.
For a no-obligation conversation about the programme, contact Rachel Kelly, Professional Development Manager.
You can also apply online here.