Organizational Consultation XXII: Empowerment (Part Two)

Organizational Consultation XXII: Empowerment (Part Two)

Setting the Agenda. Among an almost infinite number of reasons for the failure of groups to be more effective in addressing conflict, the lack of a clear agenda for meetings must rank among the most prevalent. Virtually, all group process experts who have written about the improvement of meetings and managing conflict begin with an emphasis on explicit, clear agendas. The lack of focus and progress demonstrated by many groups often can be traced to an unclear or even nonexistent agenda. Several steps should be kept in mind when preparing an agenda and several procedures might be considered in the improvement of existing agenda setting processes.

First, a decision must be made as to whether or not a group is the appropriate vehicle for dealing with the conflict at hand. Is there a less costly way, in term of time, money and raised expectations, to obtain the desired results than convening a group? Second, if a meeting is warranted, then a specific assessment must be made concerning the status of the issue with which the group must deal. What are the responsibilities of the group with reference to this issue? This assessment and an answer to this question regarding group responsibility will further clarify the function of the group meeting.

Where is the group right now with regard to resolution of this issue? The answer to this question should tell one whether the meeting is primarily concerned with the management of a conflict or if it is primarily concerned with information sharing, problem solving or decision-making. Can the issue be resolved through the sharing of more information? Then an information-sharing meeting should be convened. If sufficient information is available, but the central issue is not clear, then the group should be conflict-focused. If the issue is clear and the group has effectively addressed the underlying conflict, then the group should focus on an appropriate and feasible solution to the problem embedded in this issue. If the solution has already been found, then the group is ready to come to a decision regarding how action will be taken to implement this solution.


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William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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