The Program

The Organization Workshop™ is a dynamic, fast-paced, 1-2 day experience for 20-50 people, combining a simulation, the “Organization Exercise,” with conceptual inputs, personal reflection, and group discussions. The workshop is designed for, and can accommodate, a wide variety of participant groups -- intact teams, cross-functional groups, project teams, executive and management teams, and start-up groups, among others. Key internal and external customers and suppliers can also be invited to participate, lending an additional level of “whole-system learning.”

The Organization Workshop™ focuses on the empowerment of individuals and the organizations they care about, and on the possibility of partnership within the work system, and with customers and suppliers. The program provides unmistakably clear information about some of the basic, dynamic forces that actually prevent empowerment and partnership from thriving in the organization, as well as insight and active learning and practice with the attitudes and behaviors that can make it possible to have the kinds of organizations that we all want.

The Learning Methodology

The program starts by guiding participants through a powerful, carefully led organizational simulation, where they experience with striking clarity the power dynamics surrounding interactions between different positions within the
organizational hierarchy.

At the outset of the simulations each participant is “born” into one of the essential organizational positions -- Top/Executive, Middle/Manager, Bottom/Producer and Customer/Client.

The simulation is punctuated with brief sessions called “Times Out Of Time,” which allow participants to step back and see how the system is experienced from each part of the system involved in the simulation.

Theoretical inputs presented along with the exercises and debriefing sessions add to participants understanding of their behaviors and mind-sets.

As the workshop unfolds, participants experience how “easy” it is to simply react to hierarchical power issues that are disempowering, and which detract from one's ability to make a real difference in the organization. At the same time, those involved will have a number of opportunities to experiment with alternative, empowering stands and strategies that create experiences of real partnership and teamwork.

Two additional organizational simulations allow participants to look further into the worlds of two other positions during the course of the two-day program.

Finally, a set of powerful structured exercise assist participants in finding specific ways to apply learnings to desirable long-term personal, group and organizational.

The Outcomes

Over the past ten years, the Organization Workshop™ has been conducted with many thousands of employees from top to bottom in the widest variety of organizations, from non-profits and small businesses, to Fortune 100 multi-national companies -- manufacturing companies, service industries, high technology, health care, the military, government agencies, universities, and religious institutions.

In its use as a module in management development programs and as an intervention in training and organization development projects, the Organization Workshop™ consistently galvanizes, stimulates and challenges participants to reach beyond their current ways of doing business to new and creative ways of seeing the possibilities of teamwork and partnership within the organization, and with customers and suppliers .

By providing participants with a radically new and informative way of seeing organizational life, the workshop can reawaken individual and organizational dreams. Individuals and units that participate in the workshop receive the kind of training it takes to make their organizations more flexible, innovative and more customer oriented. They learn more about what's required to bring higher quality products and services to market in a shorter time.

Workshop Variations and Applications

Besides its inherent value as an management and employee education tool, the Organization Workshop™ has been used by client organizations as an intervention to inquire into a variety of important and pressing system issues.

The basic one-day simulation serves as a template against which clients can study their reactions, concerns and hopes about such issues as internal communication patterns, power dynamics within the system, customer service issues, the alignment of company values, employee satisfaction issues, middle management and integration issues, and the
efficacy organizational design alternatives.

While continuing to utilize an organizational simulation as its primary instructional building block, the two-day program adds additional theoretical inputs which inquire into some of the deeper and more essential day-to-day realities of self and system organization, archetypes in system relationships and diversity in social systems. As noted, participants also have ample opportunity to work on projects of significance to their every-day work life, as well as to learn and practice giving and receiving coaching from peers.

The Organization Workshop™ was a core element in Ashland Chemical Company's “Simply The Best” management development program for over 800 managers, including participants from throughout Europe. The focus was on the development of strategies for improved employee and customer satisfaction and financial growth. The success of the program led to the development of Organization Workshop II: Global Consultants, Inc. (GCI)™ focusing on the dynamics between top and middle management.