The “Work Out” method is targeted at specific problems, and thus seems ill-suited to the community building on which I had hoped to focus. Bunker and Alban offer:

“He [GE CEO Jack Welch] wanted people to operate in flexible, cross-functional work teams that would meet frequently to fix work-flow problems.” (1997, p169)

However, hope for this method is rekindled when I find that:

“The first Work-Outs were run as town hall meetings. Conducted off-site, they involved a cross-level and cross functional group of employees from a division, led by teams of external and internal consultants.” (ibid, p170)

This certainly appears to be a relevant technique, if I forget for a moment that I’ve still not gone through a process that would identify who the participants would be and how I would transport the community to an “off-site” away from the community. I am beginning to wonder how this method, seemingly very facilitated and structured, is rationally grouped with “Open Space” …

Then, I have my hopes dashed:

“… during the Work-Out, groups of employees were asked simply to generate any issues that they thought were dumb, were a waste of time, or needed to be changed.” (ibid, p 170)

And, I’m at a loss to see how this is significantly different than implementing a Quality Circle, or for that matter simply putting up a plain old suggestion box. This is clearly not a useful method for the purposes I had hoped.

Posted by John Bell on June 8, 2006
Tags: Putting Community In

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