Recently I was involved with an organization who had to address the issue of quality and how they would achieve it and know when they were there as part of their accreditation process. It occurred to me that while thinking about this, there would be as many definitions and ways to get there as there was people in the organization and possibly more. In other organizations I am familiar with, it has been the top eschalons who have decided this as it is perceived they have the wisdom and knowledge. It then leaves others completely puzzled, with no commitment and even implementing something completely different. In working through the issue, it seemed that we needed a technique that involved shared experience, shared wisdom and knowledge and developed a shared commitment.
In response to this, a narrative based workshop was designed. People were asked to respond to an open question that had been collaboratively designed with representatives of the organization. Their responses were about their experiences which they shared with their small groups. Issues were noted as we went along. We then undertook a process of grouping issues, naming them and letting ideas of quality emerge from shared experience. The issues were then taken by the small groups and a simple action plan for each was devised dealing with the how to get there and what it might look like.
Amongst all of this people also chose to express their ideas via drawing, words and collage providing for a creative way of thinking about things…there were some nice results. These are retained by the organization and provide an ongoing point of conversation about the idea of quality.
If you would like to know more about this or engage in a workshop for your organization please contact me.