Team Restoration and Relationship Partnering workshops are group facilitation processes that Agree uses in situations where the workplace community needs to address complex issues or require a re-setting of the community norms around respect and civility, or interdependencies and accountabilities. These interventions provide growth experiences for each member of the team and build a cohesive working team. Team Restoration workshops are often part of a continuum of a Workplace Assessment, and sometimes preliminary interventions such as mediation or coaching.
There are a wide variety of situations in which a skilled facilitator can assist a team and organization in maximizing their internal resources’ ability to deliver. Agree has successfully designed and delivered workshops to address:
- Teams impacted by a previous workplace investigation, or those with one or more difficult relationships impacting the entire team
- Teams with a history of generally poor communication and conflict management skills
- Teams with poorly defined roles and responsibilities
- Teams with a history of rotating, absentee, ineffective or weak leadership
- Teams impacted by significant change in deliverables and/or reporting structure. This can be facilitated as a restorative exercise, or proactively in advance of an anticipated change
- Partnering and Relationship by Objective workshops are a service unique to Agree. These workshops are especially effective for departments or units that are inter-dependent and need to align their processes around shared deliverables. Agree employs a structured approach which is respectful of participants’ knowledge and beliefs while challenging many of the core assumptions people make which prevent them from recognizing alternatives. Agree uses an interest-based approach and asks the kind of questions that address the underlying individual and organizational needs that ultimately give rise to opportunities and creative, effective solutions
THE WORKSHOP PROCESS
An Agree Facilitator will consult in advance with an organizational representative in order to develop an understanding of the organizational and workplace issues, clarify expectations and develop a plan for group restoration.
Frequently, Agree conducts a Workplace Assessment in advance in order to ensure the most appropriate intervention is implemented. An Assessment allows management and the facilitator to prepare for the workshop by identifying key issues to be addressed, positive leaders within the workplace to engage during a group process, and to devise strategies to re-direct or de-emphasize the impact of negative, outspoken leaders. A Workplace Assessment can also provide an opportunity for staff (and management) to begin moving from a mindset of “dwelling on the problem” to reflecting on possible solutions and how they can each contribute to those solutions.
Typically, a workshop is designed so that the workplace could participate in a GAP analysis. The facilitator assists participants in identifying:
- Where do we want to be?
- Where are we now?
- How do we get there from here?
Agree helps participants focus on what they would characterize as the “ideal” relationship and then move them to identify the challenges and barriers that are preventing the attainment of that ideal. This process proceeds in a way that is “soft on the people and hard on the problem.” In other words, the emphasis is not on who is to blame, but rather on how can the parties work together cooperatively to achieve their goals in the future.
Where a the workshop needs to focus on respect and civility, we often recommend an exercise in which the group develops a set of community norms of behavior, or “Workplace Charter” that everyone signs onto (e.g. coming to one another directly if there is an issue, speaking respectfully to and of one another, etc.). The Facilitator assists the team in identifying “Rocks in the Road” to achieving a better relationship. Some groups may decide to establish Task Teams to be responsible for implementing new processes – eg. Potluck lunches, adjustments to inter or intra-departmental communication pathways, changes to the physical environment, or access to equipment to reduce opportunities for friction, an agenda for meetings around shared responsibilities, opportunities to build awareness through job shadowing, team-building meetings, mentoring, etc.
If the assessment identifies structural issues that are influencing workplace behaviour, we may design a segment on “Roles and Responsibilities”. The Facilitator assists the team in identifying understanding of their respective roles within the team and expectations of each other. The focus of the “Rocks in the Road” may be on how to achieve effective workflow that respects each other’s time and accountabilities. The Facilitator assists by clarifying any gaps of understanding or misalignment of expectations.
Similarly, a workplace that is about to undergo a change in deliverables would be provided information on the new directions, then led through a process, as a group, to identify the day-to-day implications. Depending on the circumstances, some may feel excited about the change, others fearful or resistant. Agree facilitators are skilled at recognizing the varying concerns of participants and re-framing their concerns into “Mutual Problem Statements”. Agree facilitators work closely with the organization’s contact to ensure that nothing is over-promised, while at the same time ensuring that the team feels heard, and concerns are addressed in an open and transparent way. To encourage a future focus and team ownership of changes that impact them, often task teams are assigned to investigate specific aspects of the change (eg. technology, office layout, training) with timelines established for reporting back to the group with options and solutions.
Throughout any workshop, staff are supported by the facilitator with short directed teach pieces, in areas where it has been identified that the team would benefit from skill development. As part of their Conflict Management practice, Agree Consultants regularly provide workplace conflict resolution and communication training and can draw on a number of training modules to provide the team with tools and techniques that enhance collaboration and respectful interactions. Some of these modules are described on our training webpage.
Depending on the objectives of the group process, Agree can facilitate workshops for small intact work teams (3-4), or larger groups. At a certain point, the ability to effectively deliver interactive exercises and real-time feedback diminishes with larger groups; 24 – 30 is typically a maximum size. Due to the subject matter, our clients regularly provide us with feedback that for groups of 16+ the attendance of 2 facilitators delivers a more effective experience by providing for different perspectives, an opportunity for one facilitator to step back and assess participants’ responses in order to clarify any gaps in understanding, and real-time coaching during exercises and role-plays.
The Next Best Step: We invite you to call our office to discuss the most appropriate conflict resolution process for your situation – 1-800-524-6967.