How to Rejuvenate Your Workplace

Sharon (not her real name) had completed our three-day executive retreat and returned to her workplace determined to rejuvenate her people.

Sharon is an engineer and the chief operating officer of an infrastructure service employing 120 people.

Sharon’s motivation to attend the retreat was that her people were becoming disengaged, productivity was slipping and the culture appeared to be souring.  Some good people had left suddenly.

Sharon spent the first week after her return reviewing the company’s values, vision and annual goals, and checking with the people regarding their perceptions about those values, vision and goals.

She discovered that the values were desired but not lived sufficiently, there was little clarity about the vision and there were different opinions about what the goals were.

Sharon decided to run a series of workshops, with a top-down approach, to gain agreement about the following:

  1. Living the values and using them as the rule of how we think, speak and act, do and not do.
  2. Clarity of the vision, goals and roles and the associated key results areas.
  3. Standard of work and safety.
  4. Accountability and consequences, where the primary consequence is acknowledgement of achievement and great work, then subsequently through to the causes of dismissal.
  5. Coaching support provided by senior staff with an external executive coach supporting the senior staff.
  6. What development the staff desired.
  7. How they would measure their progress and return on investment.
  8. How they would celebrate their success.

The workshops took five weeks to complete.

Three months after the workshops, there was a noticeable difference in the ‘climate’ and the productivity had improved slightly.   No staff had left in that time.

Six months after the workshops, only one person had left due to the partner’s relocation; productivity had improved by 30%; the culture was noticeably more functional and committed.

In reviewing the process Sharon believed that the plan would have worked even better and more cost effectively if they had stopped work for two days and run the program as a blended appreciative inquiry/open space technology event, including everyone in the company who was interested in attending the event.

We had recommended at the executive retreat that the blended appreciative inquiry/open space technology process is more efficient.

Would you have the courage to implement something like this?

What are your thoughts on this?

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