February 2018 - Symposium Learning

February 27, 2018

Reading Time: 2 minutes

5 Building Blocks to Harmony in the Workplace

CONSTITUTE your organisational tribe

Harmonious group dynamics and stimulating work relations are essential to the everyday life.

Motivational theories have demonstrated that financial return is not the only motivator drive organisational performance. Vast literature proposes an underlined theory of impact driven by shared purpose and vision and the desire to contribute to a culture, an objective, a tribe.

The organisation, its departments and teams epitomise modern tribal affiliations which can closely resemble familiar relation.

The entrance to the organisational ‘tribe’ occurs via selection completed by both the employer and the employee and here we outline 5 building blocks for any size organisation, or team to use to strengthen work relations.

(1) A Guiding Covenant

Rules of engagement and values shared by the teams and to which all can defer to.

Include simple and human rules of engagement such as: Freedom of ideas; Listening with the aim to understand not to respond; Courtesy and Respect and Ask for help.

A covenant will facilitate the on boarding of new people and reassure existing members of their individual values recognised by the organisational tribe.

(2) A Charter of Roles & Outcomes

Access to individual and team roles & objectives and encouragement to share challenge and success stories on achieving goals.

Understanding participation and recognition of contribution will enhance organisational cooperation towards achievement of business goals.

(3) A Communication Path Outline

Agreement on how projects updates are shared and via which medium.

Organisations information repository is essential and ease of access must be validated and reviewed.

Discuss Email policies as well as internal social media usage to ensure that there is an understanding and clear expectations on effective communication. Meetings, frequency and meeting rules be also agreed upon members.

 (4) The Decision-Making Framework

How decision will be brought to the group and which decisions will be open to proactive participation enables team to be prepared and alert.

The Framework aims to set clear expectations upon transparency and anticipate how affected parties can be involved in shaping decisions.

(5) The organisational Journey

Chart the last decade or last year of the business journey: the organisational tribe can see its stability or its transient nature.

Display your MILESTONES: each person will be able to recognise him/herself in the path and new employees can see how their role can fit in the overall organisational culture.


Employment allows the individual to participate and be part of a tribe.

Tribal behaviour is observable in organisations like Google, Facebook, Apple – the employee’s social life occurs within the periphery of the organisation.

Understanding group behaviours is also fundamental to small and medium organisations where more than 70% of Irish workforce is employed.

We recognise harmony in music when the totality of sound is pleasing to the ear. We know Harmony when we see it.

Harmony in the workplace follows the same aesthetic goals of pleasure and absence of strident noises that we find in nature. Harmony is not accidental – it is a durable entity built upon defined foundations.




February 12, 2018

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It came once a day when I found that process maps expressed better that which my mind was creating. Faster and larger in scope: the details within each cloud-shaped thought were bullet- pointed words carefully chosen to express concepts and complete ideas. My thoughts had become encapsulated in slogans. The minutia of tasks listing was no longer a boredom as quickly they resolved into milestones.

I then realised I was journeying my thinking from a tactically driven output to a strategically charged input.

Almost suddenly it was not enough to be given recognition of a well-completed project or brief. I craved the satisfaction to know how it would fit in the overall scheme of the larger project I knew it belonged to. The discovery that no master thinking, that no vision, that no world map may exist to welcome and house my projects generated great and painful dissatisfaction.

The journey from tactical to strategical had brought me to a cross-road of choice.

Tactical abilities are essential to the achievement of high-quality performance and care of the particular. Attention to tactical choices influences directly cost control, customer satisfaction and high product specifications. Tactical choices are, however, broadly defined by cruising plans, definition of destination and discriminatory result-outcomes.

When planning a banquet, the occasion will determine the menu and the menu will determine the recipes and preparation time. An attentive tactical execution within the parameters given by the occasion, which will inevitably include budget, will signify the quality of the banquet and the overall experience of the execution itself.

The questions that interest me are: is the journey from tactical to strategical automatic? Is it necessary and is it an actual journey of knowledge acquisition and discovery?

The relevance of the question aims to understand how career paths and, more crucially, career expectations can be generated, evaluated and managed. Career here can also be more loosely interpreted in terms of ‘life-span’ of a product, a project team as well as referring to a specific individual growth.

It can be observed that some professionals always initiate the conversation by drawing ‘the big picture’ and only after this can they move to the tactical aspects. One can also admit that same professionals are rarely occupied with the outcome or the larger setting where an item or a task might find its place.

At the same time, it is my experience and conclusion that sustainable strategical planning exists when a significant tactical apprenticeship and experience has occurred. Even there where talent for lateral thinking, for finding creative and imaginative solutions is available, the transformational of innovative ideas into tangible innovative outcomes only occurs when the creative mind has gained sufficient acumen on delivering high-quality projects and tasks.

The chef who is able to recognise the flavour and texture of a pea taken from a frozen bag from one freshly squired from a pod will successfully generate menus that will match and deliver on the banquet sense of occasion.

The journey from tactical to strategic seems therefore not to be automatic: there, where talent and interest are available, the path to sustainable and successful strategic planning is filled with restrain and patience. Often frustration might lead to a change of direction by the actor.

There, where enforcement of quality and attention to detail is prevalent, the move towards strategical thinking is to be encouraged, nurtured and occasionally imposed. It will require coaching and mentoring and external motivators.

This evaluation does not, however, make me doubt that the term journey appropriately applies and as such a sense of adventure and discovery will accompany those that commence it.