Recently I decided that it was time to pull my Engage for Change website as our move to Dorset four years ago precipitated a gradual fall in consulting work and the realisation it no longer fully represented my new life in the Cerne valley in leafy Dorset.
That said I still respond to requests for engagement consulting when it is tightly focussed on involving people in strategy origination and execution. It’s extraordinary that when organisations initiate a strategy renewal so few ask themselves the question ‘who will add value to this exercise’ from around the organisation from the get go.
Fewer still ask themselves what role does the guiding executive need to have in designing the forward process and then challenging itself by considering which groups are qualified to contribute and challenge. Too often engagement in strategy is still seen as a communication exercise (dressed up as ‘colleague engagement’) once the plan is formed by an elite. In project after project where a properly thought through power sharing engagement process is employed senior managers who have had the confidence to conduct such a process see that the programme (be it strategy, crisis or change and transformation) sees faster, better results and enjoy a workforce that is much more motivated to deliver success for themselves and the institution.
In too many instances the strategy team, board or exec team go down a command and control road which once started takes on its own momentum with little and more likely no consideration who it makes sense to engage before the train leaves the station.
I act as an advisor utilising house staff – there are no legions of outside support staff. My focus is on diplomatic but disciplined facilitation of the C suite or lead group.