||Re-organize Senior Management
||Vice-President (2600 employees)
||About $250,000 saved and effective communications
BACKGROUND: During a management re-organization; the management
structure, performance and relationships were examined. The following
case history outlines one part of this larger project.
ISSUE: A senior executive officer was part of the
original startup team, and was involved in all core initiatives, but
experienced difficulty relating to the CEO, peers and subordinate staff. The
management team had worked together intensively for six to twelve years.
Although the executive was widely regarded as a "genius project manager",
the CEO and most senior management minimized personal contact
with him, describing "fearsome mood swings". The cost of
replacing him was estimated at $250,000; plus a few months of chaos and a
probable "unfair dismissal" lawsuit.
SOLUTION: Individual systemic coaching with the executive.
The goal directions were to clarify the issues, identify the causes
and change the patterns. Background data was collected during
interviews with the CEO and staff, including perceptions of the
relationship structure in which the executive worked.
Clear goals were identified and mutual expectations established.
SYSTEMIC DIAGNOSIS: The executive was aware that his workplace
attitude was problematic - but he was shocked to find the extent.
During coaching, he realized
that he sometimes communicated to the CEO as if to a partner; to senior
executives as if to siblings; and to junior managers as if to children. The
executive was stunned to realize that he often used "close-family"
relationship language and nonverbal behavior with these employees; and that
he experienced and communicated unpleasant emotions if they did not respond with similar
He soon realized that he transferred
his relationship needs onto his
co-workers. These needs, together with his unpleasant emotions about feeling "rejected"
by his co-workers, motivated him to behave in ways that they preferred to avoid - behaviors that they
called "fearsome mood
As the executive focused on systemic solutions, he understood how changing
his perceptions would benefit his company by maintaining and increasing team productivity. A
strategic change plan provided a logical sequence for the executive to develop his
The plan was designed to
create effective and pleasant workplace relationships and less counter-productive behaviors.
He implemented the plan over six weeks, with the coach's ongoing feedback and
RESULTS: The executive quickly learned how to achieve better
results through effective relationship management. He gained insights and
skills for making relationship choices that served both him and his organization.
He understood how his relationship
entanglements inhibited corporate success (and recognize that these
entanglements may have precipitated his "early
retirement" or termination). His newly identified behaviors, reinforced through feedback
and coaching, replaced less productive habits.
As the executive clarified his work relationships, he could better focus on strategic issues.
Simultaneously, his changed outlook allowed
increased empowerment of the junior managers. Relationships with the CEO and
peers improved dramatically (and the changework
generalized - the executive reported more enjoyable relationships within
Within six weeks the executive reported
that many of the peers and junior managers who once avoided him
were offering friendly co-operation. He reported significantly more energy
for his work and his life generally; and other executives requested
individual systemic coaching.
NOTES: Most human beings need close relationships, and react in
predictable ways if their relationship needs are not met.
Appropriate reactions include finding a partner and raising a family.
Inappropriate reactions include depression, distractions (addictions etc),
dissociating from co-workers (acting as if
unconcerned or detached) and, commonly, relating to co-workers AS IF the
co-workers were family
members. Although all of these reactions are common, the latter probably
produce the most confusion in companies and other organizations.
Many managers spend more time with their management team than with their
families. A deep (unconscious) need for "belonging" (for
experiencing partnership and parenthood) can motivate managers to inappropriately bond to co-workers.
Difficult scenarios occur when other employees have similar needs and
simultaneously create complementary emotional bonds. This results in systemic entanglements - codependent
relationships that distort the thinking and limit the actions of the employees.
Following a systemic diagnosis, systemic solutions may seem obvious.
Some organizations use entanglements to control
people. Entanglements are also a defining feature of cults, some illegal
organizations and some extreme
organizations. To assist employees to leave such organizations, see
Emotional freedom results when relationships are evaluated and clarified,
and appropriate relationship skills are learned, practiced and used.
Systemic Solutions accelerates
Case History 2: Manage Families in
History 3: Manage Conflict in Organizations
Case History 4: Entrepreneurial Management in a Bank
Systemic Coach Training
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