Most mental health and social service organizations that I encountered have unused and locked up potentials, and often very wasteful practices – in money, time and talent — that frustrate people at all levels of the organization and erode morale. They all have good mission statements and a code of values, yet unwittingly place unnecessary obstacles in their fulfillment. This doesn’t usually happen through ill intention, but due to missing elements (questions, answers, skills, information, communications, perspectives, etc.) that the organization is unaware of needing. They may have excellent staff and other resources which are not always well utilized because of missing skills and capabilities in key nodes of the organization. Even when the organization has endorsed good communication and conflict resolution procedures, other forces within the organization tend to block their implementation.
The type of issues I help with can be:
- Implementing caring and effective communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution
- Improving decision making, meetings, team dynamics and relationships. Coaching people and the organization towards a real inclusion of diversity (as different from theoretical endorsements.) Diversity is in every single person, not just in categories of people.
- Clarifying values, goals and priorities , understanding and resolving ethical dilemmas
- Strategic planning, revising policies, stream-lining procedures and work-flow.
- Managing change to minimize stress and improve morale and a personal sense of efficacy at all levels of the organization.
- Personnel: Making sure the human potentials within the organization are well utilized. Hiring and firing decisions.
- Improving the organizational design according to the desired culture and purpose of the organization. Conducting an organizational audit to make sure that the various positions — and how they are carried out in practice – make good sense within the whole, while reducing waste, role confusion and conflict.
- Learning how to create and maintain a satisfying organizational culture.
When managers look for organizational development help, they often need a short consultation on what kind of help best fits their needs. Without this many reach for expensive “remodels”, or for pre-packaged interventions (for instance, team building, or “shot in the dark” surveys) when these may not be what is needed to diagnose and fix the problems.. This can generate even more frustration and cause the staff to lose confidence in the leadership –increase burn-out — when the methods implemented don’t deliver. When things are not well in an organization there is also a great deal of blame and self-blame, of insecurity and defensiveness. These can quickly dissolve with a down-to earth approach that is non-blaming — that provides easily understood pathways to learning, growth and resolution.
That is why I am offering a gradual, low key and low cost, consulting service. It starts with a proposal to the management for a focused assessment. Once we agree on assessment methods, carry
them out and we develop a common understanding of the needs, problems, goals and resources available, I present a proposal for the intervention and follow-up. We design the assessment tools, the interventions and follow-up methods, together. Any help to facilitate change and growth needs to be sensitively individualized, helping to improve leadership and cooperation abilities in the person or organization, with as light a touch as possible and honoring, enhancing what is already there.