Dialogue Associates

Working Dialogue

Leaders come and leaders go, but whatever you may be trying to do, organisational health and effectiveness always depend on good management decisions. Working Dialogues make managerial decision-making simple, inclusive, and thorough.  We can train your staff to use Working Dialogues wherever they are needed, including across internal and external organisational divisions and boundaries.  

The Working Dialogue applies our Dialogue skills and principles to any change initiative. We first introduced them to a US state government agency of some 12,000 staff and within a couple of years, they had become a standard business practice in all units and offices. Making a simple and thorough change management pattern and methodology available to all staff members is more revolutionary than it might appear…

Why Working Dialogue?  The simple logic is that when you want to make a change or address a problem or opportunity, you should get all the relevant people together, sit down and work out how to proceed. Few would disagree with that. But few do it! Key people are often missing, and plans unravel later, on the basis of “Well of course if we had known that…” Then if you are lucky enough to have all the right people there, they start by exchanging solutions, rather than pausing to understand why the situation is like it is, or what everyone believes is really needed. Finally, having agreed to a great plan, some don’t deliver their part and it is never completed. It is encountering these kinds of problems a few times that leads, generally, to a command and control culture to get things done.

How does a Working Dialogue work?  We designed the Working Dialogue to make good change simple. It defines the roles and phases of change in a clear sequence.  This begins with sponsorship, clear purpose, convening the right group of people, and understanding the current situation before seeking agreement about the desired outcome and the changes that are needed to get there.  Only then is a plan formulated.  Accountability for delivery sits with people who have been involved in the whole process, and follow-up ensures delivery is acknowledged, lessons learned, and further plans implemented. The process includes a series of gates that have to be opened successfully to proceed to the next phase. The gates ensure the conditions that are necessary for inclusive effective change are met.

What difference does the Working Dialogue make?  More effective and sustainable decisions are made about what changes need to be made by whom. Over time, the method becomes a way of thinking about others whenever a change is proposed. It becomes a part of the culture and leads to better understanding and respect across organisational silos and divisions. Because the process is independent of content, it is relevant to many different situations, providing a simple and easy way of being thorough. Wherever people are frustrated by the actions and apparent lack of understanding by others, a Working Dialogue is helpful.

Interested?  Read the full invitation, published papers documenting the impact of Working Dialogue... or Let's Talk 

All Dialogue Associates Working Dialogues are facilitated by Professional Dialogue Practitioners accredited by the Academy of Professional Dialogue.