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The Power of Vision
 
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Breakthrough of Research Institute

Context


X is a large research institute in size and in functions. Although the main research direction is usually decided by leaders of research teams, the concerns of the future developments are prevailing.
X is a semi government institute as a result there are constrains in regards of organizational structure, directions of research and budget. X always wants to create a path of its own, trying to reduce the reliance of government funds and increase the portion of private sector projects. However, as internal functions are so divided, private R&D is gaining pioneering positions and the economic down turns, X needs to create internal consensus before declaring future paths.

Process


X had several previous unsuccessful strategic planning meetings. The HR team has concerns that participants will not react positively to the idea of having another one this year. During the preparation interviews, facilitators of Open Quest discover huge amount of anger, frustration and powerlessness due to felt constraint and huge performance pressure. People also expressed mixed feelings of “no hope to change” and “huge thirst for change”. As HR team felt, there are indeed key team leaders expressing their resistance to having this meeting and even said upfront that they are not likely to be there. The facilitation team was in a dilemma of whether we should proceed or not, in consideration of the timing and the potential for successful change.
Luckily, the leader of X is very supportive of the thought of having this meeting here and now and he was able to exert enormous influence on his direct reports. Open Quest facilitators even supported HR team to do internal marketing about this event to gain higher support.
Before the official facilitation of strategic meeting, there is a key note speaker to kick-off the process by sharing his observations about the trends. It ran overtime yet the participants responded quite passionately and ideas were inspired. Open Quest facilitators were able to make flexible change on site to start of the discussion smoothly.
In the process, participants were not totally familiar with the high level of participation imbedded in the meeting design. Senior people were not used to listening to the juniors while the juniors were a little timid in voicing. Yet through the engaging process has the magic power to weave the invisible dynamics. People began to mingle and talk across boundaries. On potentially disputable topics, colleagues were able to be serious and at the same time bring in humor. The silos were broken and the big “We” was formed.
Before the meeting ends, people were able to identify key directions and had planned action next steps in task forces. The formation process of action teams was self-organizing with authentic consideration and warm supports amongst colleagues. The facilitators were able to let go of the big stone in mind and left with a smile knowing that the team is on track for action and the groan zone was left behind.

Results


HR team had the highest stake in the success of the meeting because they proceeded in organizing it while people had huge resistance. After the meeting they were relieved and they told us that they were able to recover the confidence of strategic meeting. They hope to keep up the participative nature of the meeting as a key movement to support X.
Because concrete internal follow-up mechanism was set-up, Open Quest team did not involve in the later process. We do have faith in this group of passionate leaders/researchers that they could take the breakthrough action plans and create a new future in the time of chaos.

 
Service
Consensus Building Meetings
Strategy Planning Meeting for The Organization
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