examples of systemic management consulting

Strategic development

The CEO of a medium size company with a weak financial performance presents us with her experience of tension between executive aspirations and initiative, and the difficulty, if not resistance, of the wider organisation to implement and deliver change. We develop the hypothesis that participants in the organisation are skilful and energetic in their way of resisting. Based on this hypothesis we conduct an inquiry talking with each member of the wider leadership team about her or his insights into initiative that would serve to close the performance gap and her or his energy to bring about change. We map the energies, hopes and ideas for what can be done and also the many stories evidencing contributions to help closing the performance gap. In workshops we develop a series of emerging options for turnaround through a bottom up dialogue, help create insight into the interdependences between these opportunities, and facilitate decision making on a coherent strategy making and the planning of next steps.

A leadership team of a large company is looking to revisit its strategy regarding a key dimension of its operations, aiming for a step change performance improvement. We decide to use an appreciative learning approach focusing on exemplars of break through performances in the industry and the organisation. We work with the extended leadership team to understand the principles, trends and processes that enabled step change improvements in these exemplars, which so become apparent and well evidenced. Finally we facilitated the decision making, planning and implementation change management. The targeted performance doubled within three years from the implementation.

Culture change

The general manager of a multinational business division sees a vital need to change the cultural blueprint of leadership in his business. His hopes include the development of strategic sensibilities, ownership, commitment and autonomy in leaders, the improvement of coordination between units, and the quality of decision making overall. We co-develop a course provision centring on a framework of practices responsive to the complexity of markets, organisational interdependencies and strategic requirements. We pilot the approach for further roll out in co-operation with the organisations learning department.

We support the two CEOs of a newly formed joint venture (JV) in the formative phase of building the organisation. Because friction between staff was apparent from the very start our interest quickly centres on organisational culture. The JV is owned and manned by two quite different companies which are also operating as competitors to each other. The hypothesis was that the sense of competition and the different cultures of the mother companies had seemingly been carried into the JV and was impeding on coordination and performance. To address this in a constructive way we deliver an intervention in a series of workshops attending to the requirements of the JVs, its organisational purposes and processes. We support the members of the organisation in reflecting and defining practices and values for the new organisation whilst valuing the different cultures, experiences and practices that relate to the mother companies.

Executive coaching

A client has been appointed to lead a major change initiative in a multinational engineering company. He consults us to develop his approach in this project; to him conventional project management approaches to this transition do not seem to fit. In coaching we explore the complexity and dynamic of the situation, what successful delivery could look like, and how to sustainable results could be built. As a consequence to the coaching the manager sees the possibility and requirement to renegotiate project scope and approach. He re-agrees the interfaces between project and operational units in a way that leverages existing expertise and resources of operational units and invites co-ownership of results.

A leader strives to build a high performance team. We support – first with executive coaching and later with the design and facilitation of key team events. In a collaborative workshop we develop a team agenda that integrates the historic and local knowledge of all involved and reflects the team’s passion for contributing to the organisational goals and development.

Change Management

A newly built task force is mandated to drive business processes and structural change across the operation of a multinational business. Its first challenge will be to build cooperation with a wide group of managers and leaders. We help framing the initial change plan and train the newly built team in organisational change skills in a way facilitating also the team building process.

The HR manager of an international business is concerned with the increase of ‘stress cases’, i.e. stress related illnesses, at a time when the organisation was undergoing major change. Following a series of talks we develop a hypothesis that the dominant discourse in the organisation is that ‘stress is bad’, but also, that ‘successful leaders are resilient to stress’, and consequently, stress is a requirement to demonstrate being a successful leader. Based on this hypothesis we develop a reflexive training for leaders attending to processes that lead to stress in their unit, inviting them into a position of agency in relation to their stress and stress in their team and for making the relevant, specific and local changes to reduce stress.