Last week I had the privilege of interviewing Paul Tolchinsky, a veteran in the field, currently affiliated with Performance Development Associates and TRAIN Consulting in Vienna.
He is a strong advocate of making organization design processes more open, more transparent, and – where possible – more democratic.
The particular approach he has championed is called large group intervention, and, briefly stated, involves arranging working sessions where “the whole system” is in the room. It can be 800 or even 1,000 people in some cases.
And unlike the typical “management conference” in some large companies, we are not talking about a group of managers listening to a presentation by the CEO or a motivational speaker. This is real design, and actual decision making. But delegated to a large crowd.
However, you can’t just invite loads of people to a session on a whim if you want to resolve difficult issues.
As he explains, he carefully prepares each session, ensuring that the leader of the organization is comfortable with the approach and with the agenda, planning the details of the session including the data to be presented and the seating of the participants, and following up afterwards to make sure the ideas that are generated are acted upon and implemented.
You can listen to the interview by using the audio player below.
If you want more information about this approach, I collected some links here.