The underpinning framework we have developed in Amara to enable leaders to move with agility is called The Amara Way. This describes and embraces the embedded practice of Inquiry-in-Action, which is influenced by Action Inquiry, the only approach statistically confirmed to generate both individual and organizational transformation.
Systemic Organisational Transformation Programmes
We offer systemic transformational processes and programmes, working in 2-3 year partnerships with organisations that have seen the benefit and need for next level of leading, thinking and acting according to their ambitions. Every programme is uniquely designed based on the needs and aspirations of the organisation including both a carefully designed plan and leaving room for issues to emerge as challenges or potential situations come into sight.
Amara doesn’t try to come in to be the stars by performing the rock’n’roll of consulting. Neither do we come in as the wise people to be put on the pedestal for offering an illusion of “knowing all the answers”. We come in to walk beside the organisation through joyful development and the challenging situations that organisations face in everyday life as well as in the change curve to develop their next level.
We work in partnership with:
- The top management, to whom we report, have conversations with on a regular basis to build a trusting collaboration.
- The division, regional and country management, keeping the view of the big picture/the system and the more local opportunities and challenges.
- The management team and its individuals in becoming a high performance leadership team.
- The chosen individuals, that have potential to make a significant, positive impact with individual support and with those who hinder change in the team and wider organisation.
We engage in developing capacity for leading transformation and the core skills required for strategic projects, developing organisational culture and improved longer term performance. New or enabling structures and processes that are needed to be built into the organisation’s infrastructure to provide a fertile climate for the desired changes.
We believe it to be essential to attend to the context with the opportunities and constraints that exist and at the same time consider the position of individuals within it. At a personal level people are at unique stages of their own development that may be better supported by their context to release potential for the benefit of both individual and organisation.
Examples of interventions in systemic organisational transformation programmes:
We start every engagement with a new organisation, country, function, team etc. with a well worked out ‘diagnostic process’. For a management team it may mean conducting deep interviews with each participant, applying an online assessment and analysing an existing survey result. A process of deep reflection and analysis takes place by our consultants and the insights are shared with key players to check their accuracy before planning starts. The next stage in the diagnostic phase is a workshop which collaboratively takes the analysis further. After this an informed and tailored plan is worked out for the following 6-12 months.
Rather than offer one off events that aren’t easily integrated into normal routines, the diagnostic phase points to the required areas for attention: leading others, accomplishing the tasks and promoting development of its members and caters for the healthy and productive dynamics of the group.
Typically the development programme includes 2-day events, online team coaching, assessment tools and individual coaching for key stakeholders, managerial and leadership skills development. Emerging issues often include: embedding skilful feedback, making meetings more effective and resolving significant unhealthy power dynamics.
We help the organisation or team inquire into what they think functions well and what they would like to improve and need to change. We support them to define and implement their chosen structure, e.g. meeting principles and behaviours with a clear commitment to change. These may appear to be simple practices, yet, changing even 1-2 things (such as not using mobile phones or listening actively in meetings) has the potential to shift a team and, if applied more widely, to another level of functioning and engagement of all.
Ingredients for a successful partnership
We find that the success of a programme depends on many factors and a few that are important for the organisation to consider prior to starting a larger programme
- The key decision makers and stakeholders need to be involved and engaged in the programme
- The programme is approached as strategic and business critical
- A governance structure is set up with key stakeholders from the organisation and Amara consultants
- An operational project group is set up
- Planning and feedback sessions with line managers are in place for each larger intervention
- One person from the organisation is closely engaged in all larger interventions
- Measurements are defined, assessed and monitored
- We invest in the relationship between the project group, steering group and Amara team – this is a long partnership and we will need to have fun and enjoy the ride!
In the book, Street Smart Awareness and Inquiry-in-Action we present practices that are simple and manageable, underpinned by sophisticated techniques that will open up your thinking and acting, and develop and enrich your everyday life both at work and beyond.
Co-founder of Amara Collaboration Bill Torbert explains the importance of the timely action in the practice of Action Inquiry. Action Inquiry is the life work of Bill Torbert.