My assignments are quite diverse. There are a few elements that keep recurring:
- Conducting interviews with everyone involved, on management level as well as on employee level, to map the situation. I can gain the confidence of people. They tell me the true reality. This is the starting point for further discussion with my client.
- To guide managers and/or employees for a longer period to try out changes in the daily practice, to adjust and anchor.
- To give workshops in interaction with management and/or employees to contribute expertise and to get to the core. I don’t give trainings but workshops because in workshops I can cover problems that are relevant for the participants at that moment, and I don’t have to train employees in methods but can apply various methods in the specific context.
- The use of new techniques to make meetings motivating and effective and stimulate ownership of the participants.
- To introduce a new approach that is not focused on fixed structures, targets, and control, but on the creation of supporting structures for the people to function in flexible relationships. The focus is on autonomy, mastery, and connectedness. This new approach is well received and seems to work in practice, even without the entire organization needing to change in one go. It creates curiosity in the rest of the organisation and seems a good foundation for further spread.
Each assignment has of course specific aspects as well. I therefore will give you the specific character of a few assignments.
Guidance of project managers
I guided individual project managers in regular sessions for their project. This guidance is a mix of mentoring and coaching, whereby the mentoring serves to transfer knowledge and experience and the coaching to make the project managers think and let them find solutions themselves. The pattern was to deal with one specific problem in a session, to let the project manager start with the knowledge acquired in the session and to let the project manager report on the result in the next session. This turned out to be very effective. Project managers learned to unravel problems in parts that were practical to tackle and to get quick feedback on the effectivity of their approach.
In one assignment I was facilitator in intervision meetings of project managers. It turned out that the role of an external facilitator with experience in for them relevant fields was key to create a safe environment that invited the participants being vulnerable and challenging each other. This resulted in visible insights of project managers.
I guided several companies in improving the effectiveness of their product development. This concerned learning how to deal with uncertainty, the needed alternation between divergence and convergence in the development cycle, the multidisciplinary and cross functional cooperation, the supporting structures to direct projects, and the seamless integration of Lean and Agile in the way of working of projects.
I guided several companies in safety management in line with the aforementioned approach. I have drawn from the complexity theory, the Hearts & Minds safety ladder, and the Human Performance approach, to arrive at an alternative approach and applied this in practice with success. It reduced the tension between service departments and the workplace, reduced the bureaucracy, created trust, and increased the ownership of employees. The result is a generative safety culture.