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Consultancy Expertise

Level 1: Thinking it Through

STRATEGIC PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION

A strategy fails when the leader computes and then expects their workforce to implement. Lack of ownership really is the nail in the coffin, and considering analysts who value companies set greatest store not by the quality of the strategy but by the organisation's ability to implement it, even the most brilliant strategy is worthless if you can’t apply it effectively.

There are two significant implementation challenges to overcome:

  • The inherent intellectual problem of creating a winning strategy in the first place.
  • Creating alignment and coherence in the people system (the social network) that must devise, implement and maintain the strategic effort.
Let's describe them and then discuss our approach.

Creating a winning strategy: the logic bomb


Your organisation operates in a landscape teeming with such complex variables that the chains of cause and effect are often too intricate to fathom, which makes it impossible to factor all of them into your strategy. Thus, a definitive strategy can never be achieved. Plus, a truly sophisticated understanding of the strategic problem only reveals itself once you’ve implemented your strategic solution and thus brought the problems to the surface.

Coherence and fragmentation in the social network

The workplace has become increasingly democratised: it is informed by flatter structures, empowered teams, partnering, stakeholders, shareholders, the various disciplines, agencies, functions, equal opportunities and employment legislation. Even if you were so inclined, stuff cannot be managed just by diktat in the modern world.

In this environment, it’s easy to see how people might feel more separated than united. The challenge is to create shared understandings of the different perspectives all these people hold as a preamble to the commitment to search for solutions.

Our approach to Strategic Planning and Implementation


We can help you identify the appropriate tools and approaches for developing your strategy and facilitating your organisation's thinking. With excellent processes that have helped over a hundred organisations, we minimise the risk of launching a strategy with avoidable errors and help you address the implementation issues.

In addition to helping you conceive, develop and reach consensus on your strategy, we support you in producing the expected benefits. Plus, to avoid the strategy becoming worthless due to passing its sell-by-date, we help implement your strategy at speed through:
  • Engaging the whole organisation in the strategy to create coherence and alignment
  • Personal coaching, supporting the sponsors and change agents in tackling the tough situations and avoiding the personal attrition of being ground down by resistance and vested interest
  • Managing the people-in-change issues so that crucial perspectives are factored in and avoidable resistance, delay and scepticism are factored out
  • Skilled facilitation of work streams, the steering group and the whole system events to reach speedy consensus on actions, decisions and solutions
  • Excellence in helping you to manage a project environment that delivers the benefits
Two examples of our work in action

Project one:

OPDC worked with the Property Management Division of a UK-based organisation to regenerate the business. We worked with the extended management team to discover and clearly define the future value proposition for the market and the top four Strategic Goals for the next two years. We then facilitated a meeting with a selected group of employees (a ‘diagonal slice') to get their input into strategy formulation. Following this, OPDC worked with the different project groups to support implementation as well as provide 1:1 coaching to change sponsors. This approach meant that the majority of employees were directly involved and supported in the implementation. This in turn meant high levels of enthusiasm and commitment and a successful implementation.

Project two:

A large mental health NHS Trust decided to conduct a root and branch review of its psychological treatment services in order to develop an integrated strategy for their delivery. Using individual and focus group interviews, we helped them assess the current state and then we designed and facilitated the search conference that produced the vision, strategy and plans for the reconfiguration of psychological treatment services.

To discuss how Strategic Planning and Implementation could help your organisation, please contact us.

WHOLE SYSTEMS WORKING

Your organisation faces the full brunt of the high-speed, global, networked economy, with all its potential for disruptive change. If you want to be successful, there really are no hiding places. Whether you’re going after those emergent opportunities or anticipating changes to your landscape, you need speedier adaptation. And for the changes that can’t be anticipated, your response must be like lightning or they threaten your survival.

But how can you solve complex problems in such complicated circumstances and with such little time? And once you've solved the problems, how can you implement actions, decisions and solutions fast enough for them to remain relevant in such a turbulent, competitive landscape? 



The management imperative is weaker than ever


In our interconnected and crosscutting world, linear direction and lengthy decision making by managers is impossible. The solution lies in harnessing the whole organisation by designing cutting-edge interventions that draw on the new science of complexity. 
Complex Problem Solving using the Whole System puts the whole (or a substantial microcosm) of your workforce and stakeholders in a same place, same time event in order to:

  • Harness the valuable knowledge, perspective, intelligence and diversity of your workforce and stakeholders to come up with answers that are both excellent and surprising. The solutions that a neural network like this can create are vast
  • Release the energy and goodwill locked in the system through people supporting what they’ve helped create. There is no lengthy line management, but instead massive parallel processing by people who are now ‘thinking global but acting local'
  • Maximise the possibilities for real-time decision-making by bringing stakeholders, including partners, managers, the workforce and staff representatives into one room at the same time (how we make this happen is technical but we're happy to explain it to you)
  • Begin work immediately on the projects, initiatives and work streams in the event itself whilst relationships are warm. We support these projects and work streams until the work is done
We achieve our results by:
  • Careful contracting with the senior sponsor to ensure the Big Question is being posed to the System and that the parameters and constraints within which the System must develop the answer are made clear
  • Excellent event design based on many years’ cumulative experience of design and delivery
  • Design informed by a deep understanding of system dynamics, complex systems and participative whole systems methodologies. The need for speed drives the deployment of these insights
  • Careful assessment of the right intervention for the job, co-developed with your nominated, diverse planning team, so that we begin the event with their informed cross-organisation understanding of the issues
  • To get the job done, we take the emergent, transformational change that bubbles up from these events and integrate them with rigorous project management of the work streams
Two examples of our work in action

Project one:

A global IT outsourcing company wanted to reality-check its strategy for growth with the workforce and with some of its customers and also get their input on how to make the change happen. The large group identified further contributions to strategy and also new work streams, which the group then populated with great enthusiasm. The strategy team evaluated this as a roaring success.

Project two:


The Government asked Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to takeover the commissioning of Prison Health Care, requiring the local PCTs to work with their local prisons to develop the mechanism for doing this. We convened and facilitated a large group drawn from both primary care and the prison (including a group of prison inmates, i.e. the service users) to work out the local response, which was submitted on time to a tight deadline.

To discuss how Whole Systems Working could help your organisation, please contact us.

ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE CHANGE

Culture is heavily implicated in organisational success. Organisations that support employee participation in decision making, adaptable work methods, sensible work designs and reasonable and clear goals perform at a significantly higher level than those that don’t.

These correlations are straightforward, but the cultures that provide certain firms with a competitive edge may be hard to emulate. And to make things worse, the classic literature on culture change refers to it as an extremely difficult, long-term process lasting 6-15 years. Such timescales are unrealistic in our rapidly changing business landscapes. 



But here's where it gets interesting: performance results over time are supported by cultures that emphasise anticipating and adapting to environmental change, which is doable within rapid timescales.
As we’ve said before, rapid change and adaptation comes from getting the whole culture in a same place, same time event to provide them with:

  • Some good questions (informed by the organisational diagnosis we'll help you perform)
  • Information, intelligence and data to support and inform their intelligent thinking
  • A well-designed process to enable them to work on the questions and produce coherent plans and actions for changes that have realism factored in, by design
With the right information and a good process, large groups with good ground rules can work out how to adapt. And, because the process selects the ‘right’ people (as well as the diversity of perspectives and intelligences required), they have the seniority to take decisions in real time and prevent the organisation from going off on an unrealistic tangent.

Where’s the risk?

Significant risk comes when the culture that is essential to strategy implementation is incompatible with existing patterns of behaviour. Using the interventions we have outlined above, the organisation will successfully create an adaptive solution that addresses:
  • Whether implementation plans should be changed to fit around the existing culture
  • Whether the culture should be changed
  • Whether the strategy itself should be modified or even substituted for another
What we offer, in a nutshell…

We don't do it TO you, we do it WITH you:
  • We help you select from a number of cultural assessment methods so that you know what culture you've got and the degree of fit it has with your strategy.
  • We will co-design with you a process that helps you rapidly address the cultural issues in a way that is consistent with the organisation.
  • We will support you right through the change, from cultural assessment to facilitating some of the work streams or creating an excellent project and change management environment.
  • We use our experience of working across national and multi-national cultures to help you anticipate and avoid pitfalls.
  • We are skilled in engaging the whole system in defining and implementing a cultural shift, helping you work with resistance.
Two examples of our work in action

Project one:

An electronics company was concerned that the organisation had slipped into a blame culture. We helped them to carefully define what ‘no blame' looks like (just to caricature the problem, how can you sack someone in a ‘no blame culture' for serious misconduct without blaming them?). Once senior management had accepted the model, it was rolled out across the organisation in a series of large group events, using a process we helped to create, delivered by facilitators we helped train. These events gave the workforce the opportunity to test whether senior managers were serious. They were, and the staff survey regularly tests the issue. There is now a high level of awareness of the need to manage blame across all levels in the company.

Project two:

A leading soft drinks manufacturer recognised that to remain at the competitive edge in their sector they must ensure more employees throughout the organisation were ‘responsive and autonomous decision makers'. OPDC rolled out a Coaching Development Programme, which establish a coaching culture by equipping all people managers with the necessary skills to develop their teams through coaching.

To discuss how Organisational Culture Change could help you, please contact us.

Level 2: Making it Happen

CHANGE MANAGEMENT

Statistically, if you’re in the middle of a change initiative, there’s an 80% chance that it’s going to stall, is already stalling or has stalled. In implementing complex change, you may find:

  • There is a high level of resistance to doing things differently
  • The momentum of the change has slowed down
  • People impacted by the change do not seem to appreciate the business drivers
  • The change has been diluted or lost direction
  • The uncertainty created by the change is not handled well
  • Managers are not managing the changes as they need to
  • The change initiative is not producing the expected changes in behaviour needed to succeed
The light at the end of the tunnel

High risk is not to be confused with inevitability. Recent advances in the field are providing new methodologies for either rebooting a stalled change or conducting preventative maintenance on a change that is at risk of stalling or failing. Plus, these new approaches accelerate the implementation of change, which is always preferable in our fast-paced world.

The death of resistance with whole systems thinking

Successful change starts with systems thinking, moves to projects and work streams and ends in the thousands of individual actions that make it happen. What matters is that you plan with the whole organisation in mind in a methodical way, ensuring maximum participation by all relevant stakeholders.

You want your people to contribute their smartest ideas and perspectives, so that they embrace the change that allows your organisation to adapt and flourish in a complex environment.

We work with you to ensure they receive the right briefings, knowledge, information and analyses, using the right media. Their informed thinking can then produce the sophisticated actions, decisions and solutions that progress your complex change issues.

This is when the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

A new beginning

Change is good. We work with you to dramatically reduce the cycle time for getting the work done and we’ll help you implement successfully, supporting you over tricky hurdles. We enable accelerated, transformational change, whether it’s a greenfield change project or a stalled change in need of a reboot.

Two brief examples of our work in action

Project one:

Following a major restructuring, a global telecoms organisation invited OPDC to support the subsequent change initiative in one of their divisions. This resulted in us working alongside a transition team to plan the necessary structural changes, formulate a communication plan, facilitate process improvement workshops between the different functions to encourage ‘process thinking' and facilitate large group whole systems events to ‘nail strategy and action plans' to get to the new vision.

Project two:

We worked with a charity to design and implement a performance management system that would encourage managers to:
  • Manage poor performance
  • Set clear objectives
  • Coach their people
  • Reward people for the behaviours the organisation needed to grow to ensure a customer-focused culture
With the input of a great number of people in the organisation, we designed the behavioural competencies, all documentation and the process, ensuring participation and buy-in from the start. As a result, the rollout and implementation proved painless.

To discuss how Change Management could help your organisation, please contact us.

POST-MERGER AND ACQUISITION INTEGRATION

So you've spotted the opportunity, done your Due Diligence and you’re either already, or you are about to become, financially and legally joined at the hip…


M&As hold great promise for increasing shareholder value, productivity and growth. However, statistically over 70%  of all M&As fail to realise the promised benefits. There are at least three reasons for this:

  • Failure to carry out a rigorous Due Diligence, leading to the discovery of financial and organizational holes when it’s too late
  • Lack of clarity on Post Merger Vision and Strategy, resulting in post D-Day chaos, melt-down and painfully slow integration
  • Lack of Poster-Merger Integration, resulting in a merged workforce that’s become wrapped up in the turmoil and debris of post-merger emotional fall-out and is therefore not working as a new team in the new reality
Considering the enormous mountain of work you have to get through in order to clinch the deal in the first place, how can you then avoid the common pitfalls and create a successful post-merger integration?

The best solution lies in prevention

Timely and structured preparation and planning is integral to successful post-merger integration and something OPDC can make an expert contribute to. If it’s too late for that, then the sooner you can address the post-merger troubles, the better. And we can help you with that, too.

Due Diligence

If you’re thinking of commissioning OPDC  to help with your Due Diligence, stop right there. Instead, find yourself a good firm of accountants to pour over the numbers, margins, outstanding debts, current contracts, pipeline and assets, a good firm of lawyers and a talented HR professional

Post-Merger Vision and Strategy

We've written about strategy elsewhere on this website, so let's get into the people integration stuff…

Post-Merger and Acquisition Integration

The Due Diligence we have in mind for this piece  arises from your HR Due Diligence; the assessment of organisational culture differences, workforce capability, management potential and a raft of other ‘people data'. Using this data we can offer you integration that is successful and fast.

What we offer

We help management teams pull together a 100-day post-merger integration plan, which will give direction and achieve speedy integration. The methodology we use makes integration everybody's business. The OPDC Whole Systems approach to integration will relieve pressure on the few while:
  • Increasing employee participation and ownership
  • Enhancing employee understanding of the changes afoot
  • Producing high levels of energy right through the organisation
  • Accelerating the integration process
  • Have a look at our explanation of Whole Systems Working if you’d like to know more!
It’s what we’re good at…

Through facilitated large group and small group meetings, building new teams, developing change managers, accelerated change tools and frameworks and our ability to navigate people through conflict and differences towards consensus and agreement, we support organisations in getting the workforce integrated speedily and effectively.

Two examples of our work in action

Project one:

A well-known building firm decided to grow the business through acquisition. After identifying the right target, the senior management team invited OPDC to help them finalise the business plan to be presented to the Board, as well as plan for the post-merger integration of the business processes, structures, assets and people. The plan was finalised and owned by the extended management team with frequent communication and participation opportunities for the whole workforce, leading to high levels of activity and buy-in.

Project two:

ZenithOptimedia


We couldn't improve on the customer's voice, so here it is from the horse’s mouth:

"Zenith and Optimedia were both leading media services companies working with a number of blue-chip advertisers. Due to the consolidation that is happening in our sector, and in order to provide stronger, more focused resources and solutions, we developed a strategy to bring the two companies together to form a new organisation. Having announced this merger, we decided to bring together our leading CEOs in order to discuss issues relating to positioning and integration. We went through a lengthy search process before we appointed OPDC to work with us. It was our view that they had the best relevant experience to help us tackle the issues of integration that we were facing. We worked closely with OPDC  during the preparation of our seminar and they conducted a number of questionnaires and telephone interviews, as well as face-to-face appointments, in order to better understand the specific integration and merger issues. There was obviously some trepidation on our part about how the meeting would evolve. OPDC, however, played an extremely important role in leading a number of the discussions, building a consensual view of the key difficulties and then led individual breakout groups as to how we should position ourselves. Since this meeting, we have made great strides. ZenithOptimedia has become a new force in the media world and is newly positioned as the ROI agency. In support of this, we have an approach, process and tools, which allow us to deliver an improved, competitive advantage based on our Return On Investment philosophy. I was delighted with the contribution that OPDC made and would certainly wish to use them for future events, or indeed recommend them to other companies facing similar complex issues (to our competitors, however, I would say that OPDC are completely useless and a waste of money!)."

Steve King, CEO Global, ZenithOptimedia

To discuss how Post-Merger and Acquisition Integration could help your organisation, please contact us.

BUSINESS-LED PROJECT AND PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT

On any given day, ambitious organisations are busy fielding a whole range of projects. But the complex, shifting sea of variables inherent in modern day organisations has the potential to disrupt even the most well conceived plan:

  • Customers refine or redefine their requirements, creating mission creep.
  • Yesterday's strategic project may be today's dead duck; a dynamic, competitive landscape and other aspects of the environment need a flexible, adaptive response.
  • Emergent change creates an imperative for new projects.
  • The political dimension prevalent in all organisations informs shifting and competing priorities.
  • Your best people are not usually found sitting on the bench when you need them, so their input is hard won.
Without an integrated, coherent, excellently managed project environment, you can look forward to projects that are delayed, failed or stalling, due to:
  • Poor change management leading to insufficient buy-in from key stakeholders
  • Lack of prioritisation, resulting in more projects being created than there are resources to service them, consequently slowing down or killing other important projects
  • Changes to the organisation and work practices necessary to embed the project deliverables and benefits not being managed in an integrated manner, leading to waste, duplication and conflict
  • Major projects that are hurtling towards one another because the control room doesn't know they’re sharing the same track
How we help

Through our business-led, project management process, we’ll work in partnership with you to implement the process in your organisation.
  • Sweep up the messy, component parts of projects and programmes into a joined-up methodology, improving the efficient delivery of projects across the organisation.
  • Integrate the project, the processes, the systems, the work practices and the organisational changes in a methodical and intelligent manner that revs up the people involved.
  • Provide early and high visibility of issues and risks, reducing hidden, expensive surprises.
  • Streamline the task of establishing and launching project teams that can get the job done with reduced cycle time.
  • Manage out the issues that cause strategic projects to fail.
  • Address not just the technical structures, but also the people-in-change issues that create not only resistance but impoverish the project through non-engagement and delay.
  • Equip programme managers and project leaders with the skills and group processes needed for conflict resolution and rapid implementation of actions, decisions and solutions.
  • Support you with hands-on facilitation of all aspects of your project environment, including large group whole systems events, interface meetings for two or more teams, or facilitation of discrete teams.
Two examples of our work in action

Project one:

We worked in partnership with the Housing Service of a Greater London Council to establish a ‘Best Practice' programme and project management process in order to achieve consistently high standards and Key Performance Indicators. With the new processes in place, the Council is in a much better place with more clarity on Roles and Responsibilities, a ‘Fit for Purpose' process and skilled-up project managers who are masters at facilitating others to get things done. The Council feels this has ‘constituted a culture change and a much improved customer-orientated service'.

Project two:

We worked with one of the UK 's largest online Entertainment and Leisure Services to undertake a review of their project management processes. This involved:
  • Establishing a new project management process
  • Identifying and developing communication structures and methods to support projects
  • Introducing and establishing a range of project management tools
  • Identifying and establishing project roles
  • Creating core competencies for project managers
The new ‘Fit for Purpose' process is working effectively. The organisation has implemented a single approach for all projects with established benchmarks and standards.

To discuss how Business-Led Project and Programme Management could help your organisation, please contact us.

TEAM DEVELOPMENT AND GROUP FACILITATION

Someone once calculated that when two people communicate, they exchange 5-10 thousand bits of information per second. So, you can imagine the ‘bits’ hurtling around when you put a whole team in a room. Luckily, these ‘bits’ can show as three patterns, which can benefit from team development and facilitation: 



Pattern 1


The team are a new team who need to be up on their feet immediately so that they can take off before they get eaten (c'mon, it’s better than 'hit the ground running'). 



Pattern 2


The team is happy and relates well; the members are functioning and productive. Their focus is on The Goal and they are looking for external, dispassionate process expertise to enable them to find the fastest, most efficient way of achieving their intended outcomes. 



Pattern 3


The team are dysfunctional, troubled or traumatised and spend precious organisational time spinning their wheels on conflict, absenteeism, correcting poor quality work or failing to get much done at all. 



What we can provide for new teams:

  • We help kick-start and fast-track project and other teams so that they migrate as quickly as possible from talking about the work to doing the work and getting business results.
  • Evidence shows that innovative teams have clear objectives. We co-design with the team a well-structured, efficient process that helps the team rapidly develop its Team Charter: Mission, Values, Vision, Strategy, Measures and Processes.
  • Where you have a number of teams, we can bring the team leaders into action learning sets in order to develop their contribution to the business.
What we can provide for intact teams:
  • We can work with teams who are further on than newly commissioned teams to expedite their journey to high performance.
  • Following Tuckman, if your team is forming, we move it along, if it is storming, we pilot it through the storm, if norming, we sharpen the approach and if performing we help it plan for high performance.
  • If the team has a discrete issue to consider, we will provide you with an expert facilitator who will co-design your team retreat with you and your team and then facilitate the retreat to achieve its intended outcomes.
  • We can fast track your Project Teams from development of their Terms of Reference to evaluation and wind-down.
What we can provide for dysfunctional and troubled teams:
  • We can handle and resolve difference. OPDC majors on its conflict resolution, negotiation and psychological skills, enabling us to handle the entire continuum from mild disagreement to more significant conflicts threatening litigation, dismissal and resignation. We work hard and ensure no one gets hurt, no one is humiliated and that the outcome is win-win.
  • Some teams don't want a post-mortem, they’re just desperate to move on and constructively create their future. Other teams cannot move on unless their emotional baggage is fully expressed.
  • For those teams who first need to deal with unfinished business, we help them navigate this road safely, using the formal discipline of dialogue.
  • Where a team has been traumatised by some event or catastrophe, we help them with sense making, facilitated with a light touch. We provide ongoing support and coaching for the manager as the changes and new agreements are embedded.
  • We encourage paced reviews that motivate the team because they want to report success and show they honoured their agreements.
To put it simply

Whatever the situation, our expert facilitators get the team to consensus on actions decisions and solutions, fast.

Three examples of our work in action

Project one:

A major global manufacturer faced a serious conflict between three senior managers in its management team. There was talk of litigation, dismissal and resignation. We interviewed all members of the management team individually and then met with the three protagonists at a neutral venue. Following a highly structured process, we kept the meeting safe whilst the managers faced up to their differences and negotiated tough agreements on how they would conduct their business in future. On follow-up, we learnt that so successful was this piece of work that the managers were not only doing business with each other happily, but were also beginning to socialise outside of work.

Project two:

A large utility company called us in following a fatality. We worked with the members of the team individually, before bringing them together for sense making, grieving and enabling them to work with their teams on preventive measures

Project three:

An NHS Trust Board (executive and non-executive directors) wanted to work on a large number of issues but was under severe time pressure. We planned the event meticulously for the retreat. On the day, we equipped each member of the Board with a networked laptop running decision support software). A large number of important agenda items were quickly dispatched using this accelerated process.

To learn more about how Team Development and Group Facilitation could help your organisation, please contact us.

MANAGING DISPERSED & DIVERSE ENVIRONMENTS

They say if you sit more than 30 feet from a colleague, you're likely to ring them or send an email rather than approach their desk.

Working in a dispersed environment, is now commonplace.You work with people on different shifts, possibly in partner, customer or supplier organisations, and with people of very different cultures. Maybe you work with people across continents or in different time zones.

It’s clear your opportunities for face-to-face contact are limited, and so effective working requires considerable planning and effort. Add the fact that it’s likely the people you work with don't share all of your cultural values, and the challenges can be substantial.

Let’s rehearse a few of the problems:

  • Out of sight, out of mind. The currency of the promise to a colleague is weakened by distance: how easily we are seduced by the person who can influence us with warmth expressed face-to-face, whilst a distant colleague wonders what happened to the promise that hasn't been kept. The result: project deadlines slip, people fume in cyber-silence and relationships and trust deteriorate (and they can be hard to rebuild).
  • In this extended space, there’s no water cooler moment where you can button hole someone over something you need to discuss. These same-time, same-place incidental encounters, which help to reinforce webs of trusting relationships and shorten decision cycle times, aren't available. Without efforts to build trust and keep the drumbeat going, this low visibility environment becomes a recipe for assuming the worst: are they working against me (and are they working at all)?
  • We mistakenly assume that others share the same worldview, and we don't understand it when they don't. We may be quick to reject people who don't follow the same cultural dance moves as ourselves, leading to misunderstanding, conflict, rivalry and delay.
Whether you need to reach across the room or across a continent, we can help you design the processes.
  • We tailor the approach. We won't sell you some dismal standard package but help you to learn in your own environment and context in order to create the knowledge, skills and processes that are suited to it.
  • There’s good evidence that innovative teams have clear objectives. We therefore set great store by the Team Charter, i.e. Mission, Vision, Strategy, Processes and Measurement. In a dispersed environment, the Team Charter creates the drumbeat that connects the team members to each other and enables the team leader to manage people by the required organisational ends, not micro-manage them by the means. Using excellent facilitation, we help the team get the Charter done so they can move on to what they are there for.
  • As an OD organisation, we've worked in a dispersed context for nearly 20 years. We understand the communication technologies and how to make best use of video, teleconferencing and email.
  • We equip the teams with the processes needed to reach rapid consensus on actions, decisions and solutions. We equip the team leaders to be process facilitators, skillful in the art of helping people navigate the processes that lead to agreed objectives in a way that encourages the participation of all. We use an efficient coaching system to help them achieve competence in designing and running meetings, both online and face-to-face.
  • Dispersed teams face two cultural challenges. The first is recognising that there are important cultural differences in worldview, even amongst fellow nationals. Even then, understanding culture is not enough. What do you do about it when it surfaces? If we do it my way, I win and you lose. If I try to mimic your culture, it lacks authenticity. We’ll help your organisation reconcile cultural differences and build win-win relationships.
Two examples of our work in action

Project one

An IT software design organisation had restructured into a global framework, which meant that groups of people who – together – were tasked with achieving a set of objectives, were now based in different continents and in differing time zones. This necessitated most of the communication to take place by audio teleconference and it soon became apparent that the cultural differences and a lack of agreed structure severely impeded successful team working. OPDC facilitated a number of multi-cultural dispersed teams to overcome these differences and commit to a Team Charter, which led to highly effective and enjoyable meetings with high levels of equal participation.

Project two


Following an acquisition, a telecoms organisation asked for help integrating the different functions and teams. OPDC offered a ‘Menu Approach' of Facilitated Team Events, offering a variety of agenda items aimed at enhancing newly merged, virtual teams. Many issues were cleared up, leaving all team members to get on with their work with a clear focus, reenergised and uncluttered.

To discuss how Managing Multi-Cultural, Dispersed and Diverse Environments could help your organisation, please contact us.

Level 3: Supporting the Navigators

EXECUTIVE COACHING

There’s no doubt that coaching hones and develops top class performers. Just look at the world’s greatest athletes – whilst maximum performance requires ability, coaching takes that ability to the next level. We have a deep knowledge of coaching and have made original contributions to the field.

Situations in which you might benefit from coaching include:

  • A feeling of burden that comes from spending a lot of time on the frontline, whether it manifests itself as a lack of freshness, or more seriously as shut-down or burnout.
  • You're currently a powerful advocate for a big change, which threatens vested interests or just the status quo, and everyone’s giving you a kicking. What if their attack contains a grain of truth? Some of your behaviours may be 'unaware' and if they were revealed and addressed in a coaching relationship, it could make life easier for everyone.
  • There are no problems as such, but an issue you want to work on; you know you’re at your best when you award yourself structured reflection and thinking time with an outsider who can be a good foil.
  • Perhaps you work in a hostile or highly politicised environment and your ideas had better be fully baked before they’re given to your diners; the various angles, traps and pitfalls carefully thought through.
  • Maybe you’re having a private crisis you’d like to talk through in safety (these normal events can come to pass, but they can be tricky to handle from within your organisation – allies are one thing, true confidants another).
Situations in which your own people might benefit from coaching include:
  • A recently appointed direct report who has ability but needs some fast track coaching to get up to speed.
  • Someone you don't want to lose who is struggling with big change.
  • You have a direct report who has been the subject of a harassment complaint, accepts they went too far and needs space and time to reflect on their management style.
What we can do, whether the issues are intellectual, interpersonal or personal
  • Our coaches have the necessary gravitas to work with senior people, balancing high support with high challenge (and the sensitivity to work with senior people who have been through a tough time).
  • We bring the models and frameworks that help you work on strategic issues.
  • We can coach you in developing a skillful approach to tricky interpersonal work situations.
  • We can help you debrief stressful or even distressing issues, leaving you feeling clear-headed and functioning at full capacity again.
  • We help you think systemically, expanding your understanding of issues until you have a sufficiently rich view of the context to act.
To conclude…

Our consultants have installed whole organisation coaching systems, trained coaches, trained trainers and provided help with policy development, audio-visual materials, even standards, audit and evaluation of coaching. We live the model ourselves, using coaching to reflect on our own issues.

OPDC is a member of the European Coaching Institute and all OPDC coaches abide by the European Coaching Institute's Standards and Ethics.

Two examples of our work in action

Project one

A global software solutions company uses OPDC Coaches to support their managers who are promoted into new roles with significantly increased levels of responsibility. A clear coaching agreement is drawn up at the start and coaching support is generally offered over a period of six months, on a monthly basis. The organisation's HR Director feels that, “This way, our managers are set up for success”.

Project two

OPDC Coaches have worked with many executives in a wide range of organisations and in all sectors over the past 20 years. The focus of the coaching agreement is different for each relationship, from working on ‘life-work balance' issues to ‘cracking tricky business problems'. Our coaching contracts range from an agreement with an individual manager to contracts with a whole management population in an organisation.

To discuss how Executive Coaching could help your organisation, please contact us.

MINDFULNESS

 
Only a few years ago the term was used exclusively to describe Buddhist meditative traditions. Now the corporate leadership world is taking a closer look. Recently neuroscience studies from Harvard University have shown that mindfulness training significantly increases brain grey matter concentrations in areas associated with Attention Control, Emotional Regulation and Self Awareness. Further evidence links mindfulness training to increased pre-frontal cortex activity, which is related to happiness and well-being. It has gained worldwide application as a distinctive method to handle emotions.

Currently, in the medical world, mindfulness programmes are used to help with physical problems such as stress, anxiety, hypertension, depression, heart disease and chronic pain. There are further connections, however, to how being mindful in our approach can help us to become more effective business leaders.

People who have trained in mindfulness have been shown to make more rational decisions. During times requiring pressurised decision-making, meditators activate a different network of brain areas compared with non-meditators and that enables them to uncouple negative emotional reactions from their behaviour.

Meditation has also been found to be a highly effective means of training managers in corporate social responsibility. The training significantly raises managers’ levels of care and concern.

Mindfulness programmes have also been shown to raise one’s level of emotional intelligence and improve relationships. Those completing a course of mindfulness  show significant improvements with respect to emotional intelligence, perceived stress and mental health compared to others.

Whether you’re looking to develop yourself, or your company, OPDC provides a tailored programme to help unlock your potential leading to improved performance, growth and, ultimately, success.

What to do next...

All our programmes can be customised to fit your particular professional and personal objectives. For more information please contact us.

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