Self-hosted Organisational Change in the European Parliament

In April and May 2012 I worked together with two colleagues – Rainer von Leoprechting and Mary-Alice Arthur – on a collaborative inquiry with the European Parliament exploring how to make the work of the European Parliament more efficient and meaningful. Rather than us designing and hosting the 3 day conference, our role was to train and coach staff members to facilitate their colleagues.

A group of about twenty staff was selected and we had 2 days to train them on how to facilitate their ca. 300 colleagues from all different units of their directorate in sharing their insights and thinking together about areas of improvement for the organisation.

Each of us consultants was supporting a team of around six people as they hosted and harvested three parallel thee-day workshops, each with a different theme. At the end of each day the three parallel streams came together in plenary to share the major findings and insights of each workshop.

Nick Payne, a colleague and graphic facilitator captured the major insights from the days in a gigantic drawing that reflected not only the spoken words but also the spirit of the event – see photograph.

After the event we had a follow up day with the team of facilitators to consolidate harvest. The main themes and findings were fed back to the leadership team of the organisation to take them forward into their strategic planning. The process created a lot of momentum for positive change in the directorate, change generated by the staff themselves rather than done to them.

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