Getting back to blogging after a busy fall…starting though with a thought that has stayed with me since a session I ran in November 2010. In Organization Development, the whole group you are working with is your client. Not the sponsor, or the lead or the manager of the group!
This important lesson is one that was highlighted for me at a week-long training session I attended a few years ago. Contrary to mainstream consulting perspectives that focus on contracting with and ‘managing’ the client who foots the bill, we dialogued at this particular session about the notion of taking direction from the whole group (not matter how big), based on the work of Chris Argyris on models in action. In broad stroke, Argyris argues that the dominant mental model in action in organizations is a competitive one that replicates unproductive behaviours (unilateral control/single-loop learning), and that organization learning is possible when a mutual learning perspective is used, where open dialogue by all involved in the conversation is encouraged (mutual learning model/double-loop learning). This is a perspective I agree with that has guided my practice with groups and organizations.