There are several things that can affect the effective functioning of organizations:
- Leadership: the extent to which the leaders and managers of the organization have a clear sense of vision, mission and values of the organization and the extent to which leaders and managers have the skills to manage people and organizations
- Business Process: the extent to which an organization has clear policies and procedures to carry on its business
- Structure: the extent to which an organization is structured in a way that enables effective and efficient functioning
- Culture: the extent to which interpersonal relations, communication and group dynamics of the organization enable effective and efficient functioning
Any number of factors can erode healthy interpersonal and whole-organizational functioning.
Most of them involve issues or organizational dynamics that create anxiety in the organization’s people. For example:
mergers and acquisitions
dysfunctional leadership or management
changes in income or funding, rapid growth, and many more.
any threat to the health or sustainability of the organization–from inside or outside
People react emotionally to such changes and alter their beliefs about the organization, their interpretations of others’ behaviors, and their own interpersonal behaviors—without even knowing that they are doing so. They begin to act and react in fear-based ways.
In a short time, these alterations affect whole departments and the entire organization.
- people begin to hoard information
- become secretive
- develop cliques
- and tensions and conflicts grow that neither individuals, teams nor the organization know how to deal with effectively.
- people become overwhelmed, more spacy, less organized, less able to focus
- people become more reactive instead of logical
An organization’s success depends on a good working relationship among business process, structure, communication and the other aspects of culture noted above.
Here are some examples:
Vision, Mission and Values:
An organization with clear vision, mission and values is able to hire and keep people whose personal vision, mission and values match that of the organization, increasing the chances of an effective and efficient company. Clear vision, mission and values also increase the chances of constant progress, as all the organization’s decisions can be geared toward whether they move the company toward it’s vision goals or not, and decreases the chances of getting distracted by short-term diversions.
Clear Roles and Procedures:
When people’s job descriptions clearly define the extent and limits of their roles, and procedures are clearly defined, the organization becomes stream-lined and the chance of conflicts, redundancies and holes in coverage are decreased.
Companies that develop a number of ways to ensure communication up as well as down the ladder of authority, and that solicit negative as well as positive feedback from employees have way fewer conflicts than those that lack these measures. This also allows for information and ideas that are often trapped in the lower echelons of a company to rise to the surface, and inform management decisions.
Managing people is a skill that can be learned, and effective management increases productivity and decreases conflict.
Training for Vicarious Trauma:
Frequently, health care professionals and first-responders, who work with people who have experienced injury, stress or trauma, absorb the stress/trauma from their clients and themselves experience symptoms of stress and trauma–chronic fatigue, dizziness, emotional numbness, easily triggered to be angry at injustice, depressed sadness or depression, increased anxiety, etc. There are ways to alleviate this vicarious trauma. For more information on how stress and trauma affect us, see my page on Stress and Trauma
I offer services to bring the “people” aspect of organizations back to healthy functioning, be it to develop and support effective interpersonal interactions, to help a group work together more effectively and efficiently, or to transform negative organizational group dynamics into healthy dynamics.
How I help:
- Clarifying vision, mission & values
- Clarifying roles & procedures
- Executive & management coaching
- Team facilitation
- Conflict facilitation & mediation
- Training & coaching to develop clear, direct communication
- Effective people management
- Group & individual sessions for people affected by vicarious trauma
Check out my blog articles on Organizational Consulting.
My clients have included:
Mental Health Clinic–over 300 employees
Small Private School
Local Grocery Store
Humanitarian Organization with Staff Around the World
HOA Management of Remington Post, Boulder–management coaching
COO of a venture capital firm
Board Member of a local grocery store:
“Though numerous consultants have offered their time, energy and advice on how to improve the work environment of (our organization), none have offered as profound an analysis of the problems we face…(Zoe and her colleagues) were able to draw out causes and consequences of a far greater depth than any of the other, often highly qualified consultants I have worked with…Zoe’s facilitation skills allow for the uncovering of the full experience of major players in a manner few consultants could match.”
Rabbis of a synagogue:
“… we are now aware of the dynamics that underlie the difficulties in our congregation and the dysfunctional interpersonal patterns that have appeared consistently over the years in the organizations with which we have been associated. We now have the tools to understand what lies underneath difficult issues, conversations and reactivity in the people in the groups that we lead. Second, … we have changed as leaders and our long-standing patterns of relating to congregants and peers in organizations has become much more effective. We realized that who we were and how we responded to situations was a factor in the difficulties of the groups we led. …we now have the tools to react differently. Third, as a result of our new understanding of group dynamics and the changes we have made in ourselves, we are seeing profound shifts in some of our relationships with our congregants. This, in turn, ripples out to others.”
Manager of an HOA for a large condo complex:
“Managing one of the largest HOA’s in Boulder, I needed professional assistance on building a communication policy for clear, singular messaging to our large community of owners and renters. Zoe spent hours reviewing our unique, self managed, volunteer HOA board, large pool of owners and on-site staff. Zoe was the key consultant in drafting and implementing a common sense, professional policy that has improved community relations and management 100%. I am in her debt for her services to our community!
Manager, Remington Post HOA
Contact Zoe Zimmermann, MA, LPC, Certified EFT Practitioner
Office Address: 75 Manhattan Dr., Suite 206, Boulder, CO 80303
Ph: 303-444-1195 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Organizational Consulting * Management Consulting * Business Consulting *