Created by Marc Chmielewski

“When all I could hear was Thai …”

One part of the systemic principles that we apply consistently in all development programmes at Movendo Consulting is working with participants’ real cases and activating all the available perspectives in the creation of solutions.

We do justice to this principle by using different settings and methods in the design of our learning processes. Movendo development programs are based particularly on the understanding that simply conveying theoretical content and tools does not in itself achieve a reliable initiation of learning effects. What participants require to kick-start learning processes are impulses and positive irritations that stimulate them to gain insights by means of individual reflection and by being personally affected. Our day-to-day work shows us that in this way personal development processes can be triggered and facilitated quickly and efficiently.

And what’s more: in our experience, a consistent systemic approach to leadership training is accessible to any culture.
I would like to briefly outline a training experience that underlined this in a highly impressive way. For the last four years, I have been supporting the development of around 60 leaders at a production facility in Thailand with a program that follows both our systemic approach to training and a systemic understanding of leadership. The project is running very successfully and sustainably and the participant feedback is overwhelmingly positive. For this reason, a follow-up workshop was requested recently with the specific aim of working on participants’ questions and cases. The leadership development models were to provide the framework and help participants to break out of old patterns when working on cases. Accordingly, I developed a design that took into account precisely these requirements. Based on a brief reflection previously submitted by the participants on their own cases I selected suitable methods to work on the cases. These methods were then presented in the workshop and the core models from the leadership development programme were briefly refreshed and displayed in the room. After a short discussion, the group came to the conclusion that their work on their cases would be better if they did in their mother tongue, Thai. Thus I was both able and obliged to focus my own role solely on navigating through the different methods whilst the participants directed their energy on working on the content of the cases and were thus able to provide the case owner with a variety of sometimes surprising approaches to solving their problems.

From this point on I was completely detached from the actual content of the cases that were being discussed.
It was impossible to follow the course of the discussion and mentally track ideas for intervention that resulted from them. It’s true that I felt a little left out at the beginning. And anyway, how can it be possible to guide the process of the discussion and the workshop without understanding what is being said? Well, by observing the participants I managed to form hypotheses concerning the course of the discussion and then support the process. By means of very cautious interventions and by offering detailed descriptions of my observations this worked very well and was in turn autonomously incorporated in their case work by the participants.

Even today, I am still absolutely thrilled and fascinated at how profitable and effective the results of this almost ideal systemic workshop were for the participants.
Furthermore, in addition to the enthusiastic feedback from the participants, the fact that there is now a quarterly self-organised workshop for participants’ leadership cases speaks for the sustainable success of our development design. So if we emphasize time and again that we as systemic trainers and consultants are responsible for the design of an effective process and that our participants are responsible for the content as experts of their system, the effectiveness of this philosophy was to my mind brought to life in this workshop in an ideal way.


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