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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: April 2017

By Ian Dodds – The Inclusion Builder

Inclusive Leadership turns organisations round in times of crisis

Last week I met up with a long term colleague who specialises in helping organisations in crisis. He now has his own consultancy; but previously was the OD Head in a major bank and prior to that an oil company. Hence, he is very experienced in Organisation Development (OD). I wanted to obtain his opinion on the methodology I have been using to turn organisations round in times of crisis. This was developed by me with the guidance of Prof Dick Beckhard on a chemicals factory with 4,500 employees which was threatened with closure because of its poor productivity and employee relations. The process included:

  1. Working with the Executive Team to develop a vision of success for the factory in 5 years time and communicating this across the factory and obtaining feedback from each team on what would help and hinder the factory in delivering this vision.

  2. I then worked with the Executive Team to develop a strategy for delivering the vision taking account of the feedback from step 1. This strategy was communicated across the factory and each team had to offer a plan of what it would do to deliver its contribution to delivering the strategy.

  3. Next I worked with the Executive Team to help them identify the behaviours that they needed to role model to drive the implementation of the strategy.

  4. Then I trained all of the managers right down to the front line to be inclusive leaders by being interactively effective, empowering people and helping people identify their talents and develop them.

  5. I then, with the Executive Team, carried out a delayering of the factory’s organisation so that there were only 5 levels of management. We also reviewed the operational and people management systems used on the factory to ensure they were aligned with the vision and the strategy.

  6. Finally, the Factory Director communicated progress on delivering the vision at 6 monthly intervals and I collected success stories that could be used in these communications.

The Chairman of the Group, ICI, then the largest Chemicals Group in the world, came 5 years later to congratulate the factory on becoming one of the best in the Group. Despite the earlier threat of closure the factory is still operating many years after the the 6 step intervention described above.

I have used this approach many times to turn organisations in crisis into success. Particularly memorable was turning round in 3 years an international business of 11,000 people that was losing money into becoming profitable. Another striking example was the largest office in the Inland Revenue which was one of its worst performers. In 2 years the 6 step process above turned it into one of the best performers in the Revenue. It was so good that the Board of the Revenue invited a reporter from the Sunday Telegraph business pages to be a fly on the wall in that office for 2 weeks.The full page article he published as a result was glowing and the following is a quote from it:

I don’t think I have ever been in an office with a stronger sense of purpose, contentment, candour, coherence or vigour.”

My crisis expert colleague was impressed with the 6 step turnround process and thought it was the whole systems approach and the training of the managers in interactive effectiveness that made it successful.

Dr Ian Dodds FRSA, 



27 Mar 2017

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