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By Brian Moore - Managing Director
Companies and organisations are either under pressure to transform and include people from all backgrounds in a fair and equitable manner, or once transformed are often challenged by poor inter-diversity relationships and understanding of the need for transformation.
Companies and organisations who need this type of intervention are at a crossroads of danger and opportunity. The danger lies in the potentially divisive nature of such interventions and yet there are huge hidden opportunities to build individual, teams, organisation and to an extent the future of your country.
The first issue at hand is to establish what the challenges are, as seen by the greater team. It is critical to involve your team and/ or its representatives in a wide-spread interactive and inclusive survey to assess the challenges facing your team or organisation. This inclusivity will create greater potential for positive outcomes of the intervention.
Once the challenges are established, as seen by your entire team, it will be necessary to look at the effect on your organisation should changes in structures, attitudes or relationships be made. And what the effects will be if nothing is done.
of the challenges.
Notes on transformation
Transformation and diversity management programmes that isolate, intimidate and ignore people are self-defeating. If any person/ sector/ department or group feels threatened the process will be wasted and more so it could negatively impact your organisation. It is critical for any organisation to ensure that transformation is as non-threatening, unifying and inclusive as possible. Learning should be fun.
Inclusivity has two main dimensions, firstly, everyone should feel valued and valuable and secondly all levels of the organisation should participate fully in the programme.
“In our early days in this field we operated through the shock therapy style of presentation. Some people survived and some didn’t! The main challenge was that we worked from a paradigm that judged people by their backgrounds. We now, through studying international learning methodologies and through personal experience and introspection, have found fun and non-threatening methods of bringing understanding, building relationships and accountability.”
Team members will need to develop intra-personal, interpersonal and inter-diversity understanding and communication skills. A climate of respect for diversity and the power of adding different skills and backgrounds to a team will bring a greater acceptance of Affirmative Action and Employment Equity. A skills development programme can then be used to grow understanding of these programmes.
Any organisation driving transformation, with a focus on real, positive and long-term change, should ensure that there are on-going values-based processes developed and managed by the team. These processes must be formalised, constituted and perpetuated after an interpersonal clearing, relationship-building and diversity understanding programme. It will only be successful with proper assessment, reporting and follow-up both internally and by the facilitation/ consulting team.
In so doing you will have transformed your team. Transformational Team-building©, a phrase coined by Mthimkhulu International describes a process of unity through uniqueness and mutual enjoyment. It creates an accountable environment of praise and honouring, understanding, guidance, support and discipline - all managed by the members of your team.
Selecting the right consultants/ facilitators/ programme.
The only true reference for the success of any training programme will come from the delegates who have completed the programme. In assessing the feedback of a diversity training programme assess the diverse nature of the group and its feedback. This will give you the best picture of how valuable a particular transformation intervention will be for your team or organisation. See below...
Often budget is a challenge. Yet the potential for an organisation to transform and to perform may be severely limited by the selection of the cheapest option. If organisation has a limited budget, rather limit the time of the intervention whilst keeping quality, than going for more time and limited quality. In this way all the members of your organisation can attend an Eye-Opener programme opening them up to more similar interventions when funds are more readily available. Limiting the number of delegates, or sending those “who need it most”, will isolate groups within your team and may disastrous effects on morale.
Another option is to find facilitators, who are proven through experience to be successfully able to work with large groups, and are willing to set “facilitator/ day rates” as opposed to “by the delegate” rates. The right professionals will be able to reduce your investment quite substantially, as long as you are prepared and able to get the right number of people in the right diversities to attend.
Be careful that your cost-cutting does not negatively impact morale. A huge portion of the relationship building happens when people break bread together and if properly orchestrated this time is a powerful unifier of teams and individuals.
“We recently worked with an organisation that decided to save budget by cutting out lunch for their teams. “Let them bring their own food was their call.” It proved to be disastrous. The delegate feedback forms reflected the challenges. “If they cannot supply food for their own team, they obviously don’t care for us so why should we care about them?” and “I cannot think or participate when I am hungry.”“
Don’t try to save
money by using an in-house boardroom or an empty part of a shed
“somewhere in the building.” Facilitate the
programmes away from the work environment. Ensure that the caterers
handle the diverse religious and dietary needs of your delegates
professionally and with utmost care. This is not merely a skills
development programme. Success requires heart, mind, attitude and
action adjustments. If your team feels special and the environment is
right the long-term outcomes of your transformation intervention will
be far more successful.
It is obviously important to find a registered provider. More important is the need to find a facilitation/ consulting organisation that is proven to have the skills to transform your team. Here follow some critical competencies to look for, on a rating sheet to help you select your service provider.
Change has to be experienced
“As the Peace-maker on the Dusi Canoe Marathon, in the war-torn, Kwa Zulu Natal province of South Africa , I was tasked with developing community infrastructure, inter-cultural relationships and minimising violent attacks.
I went out firstly to get the people in the rural communities to think like me, respect my ideals and change their behaviour. I soon found out that there were numerous benefits in thinking and being like the people I sought to change. I changed and in the process became a member of a local Zulu clan.
I then set out to get the pre-dominantly Western community to respect the rural people more. I let them know in no uncertain terms why “they” needed to change.
I was verbally abused and ignored by some of the more threatened canoeists. In that process I learnt that it is not my role to change people, as my actions alienated and isolated the very people I sought to unite and inform. Again I needed to change and thus slowly became a more open and aware member of the human race.
My personal change was reflected in the way that we facilitated “diversity programmes.” Thus a programme of understanding “them and us” and changing because “we have to”, has developed into a transformational team-building programme of respecting & accepting “all of us” because “we want to.”
We began Celebrating Humanity©! In this way we managed to get thieves on the course of the canoe marathon to return what they had stolen, develop into peace monitors and eventually involved community members as canoeists on the marathon itself. On the other side some canoeists actively began to work in their professional capacity on a pro-bono basis on community projects.”
Transformation is more about inclusion than exclusion.
ensure that they are an active part of the process which should unite
individuals, teams, departments, levels, genders, age groups, clients,
families and ultimately, all people who have made your country and your
Through the Transformational Team-building© program Celebrating Humanity©, people will understand their amazing relevance as individuals, team members & members of their organisations