Tag: organisational change

3D Ideas 754: We’ve Always Done It This Way

Claire writes: “I was with a group of NHS Managers the other day and we were thinking about colleagues who have worked in the same way for many years and ‘have always done it this way’ and see no need to change.  It reminds me of the words of Marshall McLuhan (born over 100 years ago): “Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s job with yesterday’s tools and yesterday’s concepts.”


Change is weird sometimes.  On courses we invite delegates to suspend disbelief and try a different way of working. Only when you have experienced it can you really decide whether it’s for you.  In that group of managers, we were wondering what will happen if you invite a colleague to work in a different way for a contained amount of time and then review to see whether it’s useful?”


© 2017 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 647: Winning Bananagrams

Goodbye and thank you to James Grenfell who is moving on to work full time for US.

Claire writes: “I’m just back from a month sabbatical, where I carried our faithful Bananagrams bag to provide entertainment.  It’s Scrabble-Like with no board.  Mike hates playing with me because I win.  And I win because midway through the game I see that I am stuck and mix up the letters and create a completely different set of words.  He likes the words he’s made and tried to fix new ones to them.

The long planned sabbatical was to walk the Camino in Spain with Peronel – a 30 day pilgrimage that we had begun to train for, and to which we were looking forward. Then some big stuff happened at home, and the Camino was no longer an option.  I kept the time in the diary but had no idea what would emerge.  Mid April, some things freed up, and a completely new sabbatical time emerged which was as good as if not better than the original plan.  The only similarity was that the essence of space and adventure and downtime was still there.

As I unpacked over the weekend, and put away Bananagrams, I was reminded that at work and in life it’s often important to be willing to push aside some or all of the pieces and use them to create something new.  And that can often be good.”

© 2014 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 645: Buttons

Claire writes: “Two days in a row, people have said to me ‘Help me see the wood for the trees’.  It’s a tricky one when the detail of what’s going on in the here and now makes it hard to see what else is going on.

All of us live and work in systems.  John Donne’s ‘No man is an island’ is as true at work as it is in families and for people living alone.  So how do we see the wood for the trees?  When we are training people to think about systems in one to one conversations, we encourage them to take a pile of buttons and use those to move around and depict the different systems they are in.  It can be remarkably useful.  If you carry out review conversations with others, getting them to use buttons to take an overview of their work can often help them to notice new and different things.  Anything that helps us take a different perspective.”

© 2014 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 640: Unexploded Bombs

Claire writes: “The more we listen in organisations, the more we hear how much people are passing responsibility to others, taking too much of it for themselves or refusing to pick it up.  It’s as though organisations and businesses are full of bouncing balls.  When people catch them, they pass them on really fast to someone else.  And then the music stops, the ball turns into a bomb and explodes, and everyone else steps back while the one left holding it carries the can.  One organisation we work in describes it as throwing cats over walls.

And yet, if we work in a team, it’s not about MY responsibility or YOURS anyway, it is about OURS.  Consistently changing the language of conversations can really help to begin to change a culture.

That means a shift to we language from

  • What do you want me to do? -> It would help me if we could think…
  • I want you to -> What do we need to do here so that you feel ready/able to do that?
  • You have to… -> What needs to happen so that you feel equipped enough to?
  • This is what’s happened -> How can we manage this in the best way possible?

Shifting from I/You to we can stop there being quite so many unexploded bombs. It’s part of the coaching toolkit”

© 2014 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 632: Just Show Up

Today’s Juggling comes with our best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.  It’s a privilege for us to listen to and work with people who are committed to making a difference at work or in society.  We’re also aware that these are tricky times for many, which is why our final reflection for this year comes from Anne Lamott:

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don’t give up.”

H A P P Y   C H R I S T M A S from us all

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 610: Siloes

Claire writes: “I’m not sure where the term silo working comes from, but we hear it all the time – in all kinds of places.  You hear it in the NHS, in business, in the church and in almost any place where you have people responsible for parts.

I heard a great idea this week, attributed to Michael Langrish: You’re not wholly responsible for a part. You’re partly responsible for the whole.

What might that look like?”

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 609: Going Round in Triangles

Claire writes: “It’s not often that a day goes by without hearing someone talking about what has been done to them or hasn’t been done for them.  Whether it’s about parents or children, partners, colleagues, volunteers or bosses, it happens.  It can sabotage adult to adult relationships. We hear it in organisations all the time.  People perceive that others have power over them and are ‘doing to’ them (persecutor). Others feel that they have less power than others and experience feelings of being victims.  And often managers or leaders or vicars or parents or friends or coaches want to or are invited to take the role of rescuer and we end up going round in circles.

Karpman drew from his experience in transactional analysis and noticed that when these three positions are taken, it’s not long before people change roles.  The victim becomes the persecutor, the persecutor is invited to rescue, and so on.  Karpman called it the Drama Triangle.

If you are a manager or leader or vicar or parent or friend or coach and are asked to – or tempted to – step into the rescuer role, remember that you could make the situation worse by taking that power.  It’s not that complex to make a difference because instead of doing that, you can share the power:

  • How can I help you work out what to do now?
  • What can I do now to help you think through that conversation you need to have?

In some teams and organisations, there are many victims, persecutors and rescuers and it is costly in time and money and relationships.  You can begin to shift that one conversation at a time.  In fact, that’s not too difficult.  What is harder is to do that consistently. That’s where culture changes.  But some of us rather like being rescuers.  And in the short term, it is quicker.

© 2013 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 583: Generous Succession

Claire writes: ‘We have been captivated by the Paralympics and last Thursday saw gold after gold go to Team GB.  Most important, I think, is what can be learned from the generosity of Oscar Pistorious who failed to gain a medal and gave a generous interview saying that Jonny Peacock is the new generation of sprinters.

Good succession planning means generously passing the limelight onto the next generation. Business and organisations have much to learn from that interview.  where do we need to be pointing to upcoming colleagues and introducing them to others as the next generation? Where do we need to get over our own need for affirmation and put others in the limelight even when it might cost our ego?

And at the same time, how do we acknowledge to others those in generations before us and also thank them for their part in our journey. Mike Kenny is the British Paralympian with the most medals and has been barely mentioned by anyone this summer.  That’s where British sport and the world’s media may also have a lesson to learn.

What does your organisation need to do differently?  Think about it…’

© 2012 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 489: Jam

Claire writes: “I was having Greek Salad for lunch during one of our courses when a delegate asked me: So is your work thick jam or thin jam?

We began to talk and it helped me to really understand that our purpose is to meet people for a short period of time and then for them to begin to engage differently with their work or career.  Thin jam.

I’m not keen on reusing questions but it has proved to be useful in many different contexts.  I recently asked a Board of Trustees the jam question about their operational work.  It’s a great career change question when people are considering whether they wish to have a deep impact with a small group of people or a wider impact with a larger group.  And if your organisation is restructuring it’s a great question to reclarify your purpose within the organisation.

So what’s your purpose: Thick jam or thin jam?”

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Juggling 492: Commissioning

Jane writes: ‘I was speaking with an Organisational Development Manager at a City Council last week who explained that their current focus was on commissioning.  Ring any bells?  It certainly will if you’re involved in the provision of health or social care, whichever sector you are operating from.

Lynn and I are currently designing a leadership development programme for an NHS organisation, and one of their requirements is that we help participants explore their responsibilities in relation to commissioning and delivery.  The outcomes required are changes that improve the quality of, and access to, patient care.

We won the opportunity to undertake this work through a competitive tendering process.  We were successful because we offered an approach to leadership development based on our belief that the people in the room will know the answers to the questions they need to answer – our role is to help them find them.  They may find them by drawing on their collective experience, knowledge and other resources.  They may find them through others or via research.  But they will find them.  And by finding them they learn how to find answers to questions that haven’t been asked yet – the questions of tomorrow, next month, next year.  They will also develop new networks of useful resources, and learn how to help others to do the same.

How do we achieve this?  By asking purposeful questions, with confidence that they can be answered.

Here are some examples of questions we may ask about commissioning:

  • What do you need to know?  How can you find out?
  • What might you need to predict?
  • What tools and techniques can you use to engage with/understand client needs?
  • What might you need to keep/make flexible/integrate/separate/let go of?

Here are some examples of questions we may ask about service provision:

  • What is the service and what does it deliver? Different viewpoints – stakeholders/partners/ team members/clients…
  • What is the context in which it is delivered? Now and in the future.  What do you know? What can you anticipate?
  • If you weren’t providing this service, who would be?
  • How can you be a proactive provider?

And here are some questions for everyone:

  • Who do you need to be speaking with? What’s stopping you?  What do you need to do?
  • Where are you now?  What else do you need to do?  Who can help you?

We will also introduce, where needed, relevant tools and techniques such as LEAN and Experience Based Design.

Who do you know that is involved in some way with commissioning? How could we help them to find the questions they need to ask – and the answers?

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com