15 December 2005

Follow-Up Contracting

Everyone at O1 is high after their historic Team Transformation Retreat. We needed to capitalize on this upward momentum to maximize our results. However, high energy and excited hearts are not enough to bring breakthrough change in the entire company. We axed the traditional 'step-by-step' philosophy and are now ready to incorporate the 'drastic leap' way of thinking. This means following challenging and provocative actions that support strategies which if implemented correctly, will undoubtedly lead to the achievement of bottom-line goals.

The retreat laid the foundation for dramatic positive change in O1. Ideas for follow-up conceived at the retreat are now coming to life.

My first task was to get a contract written up, describing my post-retreat follow-up work with O1. The document laid down my role in terms of purpose, specific actions, people who I would interact with, and time-frames.

This contract is extremely crucial for the success of the subsequent Change Process. Contrary to what you might be thinking, the contract's purpose is more for clarity rather than legality per se. In the futuristic OD world, a true OD Consultant would never embark upon a Change Process without establishing trust with a client. I predict that the fear of legal backlash will diminish when the core competency of the ability to build trust becomes a determining factor in the selection of consultants by potential clients. Positive appreciation and high trust levels will decide which consultant gets hired to facilitate a Change Process.

As one can see, an OD Consultant never would have just one contract with a client. It is in our disposition to provide crystal clear steps and get them sanctioned by the owner of the process. Here is a general progression of contracting documents that an external agent may need to present during the course of the consulting journey:

1. Process steps leading up to the retreat
2. Purpose, outcomes, and agenda of the retreat
3. Post-Retreat Follow-Up contracting
4. Next possible transformative launch steps

A simple but surprising outcome of drafting and re-drafting the follow-up contract was seen with the top Director Team of O1. Although they stormed due to their differing viewpoints on which actions should take top priority, this was still positive to see. Pre-retreat, the Director team had trouble making solid decisions together as a unit. Now, with the exquisite facilitation of the external consultant, they weathered the storm and came to conclusive decisions on actions needing priority and who should be delegates responsible down the ladder.

The most fantastical outcome post-retreat (so far!) has been the decision of the Director Team to discuss one key topic every single day at lunch time. Now that the actions for O1's growth stared at them so compellingly, the Directors will now openly talk together in the lunch room about their personal and professional growth.. all because of an exciting follow-up contract that has them on the edge of their executive chairs.


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