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Seb Anthony

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How do I navigate an organisational minefield?


I am looking for ideas to provide a stimulating and positive experience for both staff and management. This is a dysfunctional organisation facing significant change.

The group is fairly large (30+) and has experienced 'business planning awaydays' previously when as far as I can ascertain things have not gone well (a destructive experience was had by all!).

The group will not take easily to games and role play, however I firmly believe that this session needs to provide participants with an opportunity to re-learn trust and listening, and to genuinely interact with each other.

All ideas gratefully received!
Anne-Marie Quigg

5 Responses

  1. Teams
    Whilst the business may be going through a dysfunctional stage the people will not be dysfunctional and may have quite clear ideas on suitable ways forward. If your company have been brought in by management and management are objects of mistrust and resentment you will generally have an uphill struggle. What exactly are you trying to achieve by placing them all together for this business? Unless the reasons are transparently business focussed the mistrust and feelings of being duped and patronised will increase. Hence the issues most business employees have with wasting time on a team game day when there are serious cracks appearing in the business which affects their security.

    Relearning trust and listening is a very tall order in a day but could be achieved by a real opportunity to be heard matched by a real change in them being involved in planning. Why not use a day to deal with four main areas of concern only instead of the usual full agenda? Circulate the reasons for attending well in advance, pick a pleasant venue and get the 30 into 2 groups each with 2 areas and get them to re-build the resolution taking into account all the present problems.

    Management should be prepared to provide truthful information to facilitate the process so they are not role playing but part of the change. You also have to get an agreement that part of each of the team suggestion at least is brought into practice or it will be a failure.

    Personal comments about leadership or the management are banned but behaviours need to be discussed so they can identify where they want to be post all the changes.

    From extensive experience of change management I know that real away days are far less touchy feely bonding, and much more about nitty gritty change processes that all buy into after examining where they all want to be post change. If this is done for adults taking into account the past issues honestly it could be a real watershed. The secret here is to talk with those who will be asked to go and listen, really listen, to their choices about venue etc. A small point but they need to own the day not the management or your consultancy.

    Lime One Ltd
    0870 240 4325

  2. Thanks for your comments Lime One.
    I have already spent a considerable time in one-to-one interviews with the people in the organisation and am aware of where the dysfunction lies. I am also aware of the ownership issues of the whole process (not just the day). Thanks for your interest.

  3. Do you have a model?
    Hi Anne-Marie,
    I’ve found one of the strongest aids to getting a group moving is to use a behaviour model. My favourite is the “Drexler-Sibbett Team Performance Model (TPM)”. If you have time (!) before your “day in the minefield”, you could look into David Sibbett’s Facilitation Guides, which are built around the TPM at his site . Otherwise, you are welcome to give me a call & I’ll see what I can do in short time to give you a kick-start.

    Good luck!


  4. Use OST!
    I would use Open Space Technology for this. It’s an energising and motivational process which gives full control to the participants, not the managers or the trainer. It works best in such situations as you describe: high emotion, stress, anxiety and mistrust. There’s lots on the net but contac me direct for more information.
    [email protected]

  5. is it too crass to suggest the business minefield exercise ?
    I have used an exercise called the Business Minefield to help with this sort of area. It is challenging and active and has some great learning points in the area of change.
    If you are interested give me a call on 07812 170391


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