A Place To Think - A group of diverse people sitting around a table featuring the A Place 2 Think Logo

Introducing ‘A Place to Think’ specialist consultancy for public and voluntary organisations

I’ve been around charities and public sector organisations for many years. My experience includes leading and setting up local charities and senior leadership roles in a national charity. I’ve also worked in local government, academia and spent many years as a consultant and trainer.  For the last five years I’ve been studying organisational leadership and consultancy. I’ve done a master’s and will complete a professional qualification in 2024.

In this blog the first of a new series, I want to share some of my thinking and learning in the hope that it will be useful for people leading, working and participating in public and voluntary organisations.

Emotional dynamics  

We may think that organisations are, rational, logical places and can get very disappointed when they don’t live up to these expectations. In reality organisations are profoundly human and emotional places. Even in organisations which are set up around ideals of co-operation, inclusivity, and equality; difficult emotions such as fear, loss, and guilt are probably going to be present in some form. Being part of a group is a conflicted and anxiety provoking experience for many people.  We want to be part of the group at the same time we also want to assert our individual identity.  We may both love and hate being part of a group. We often do our best to ignore these aspects of organisational life by focussing on the task in front of us. And especially during a crisis that might be the right thing to do.  We may feel that if we disregard difficult emotional dynamics they will go away. But they will still be there lurking under the surface. If we ignore them for too long, they may emerge in disruptive and unpredictable ways. Another way of thinking about emotions is to consider them as data. What is the way we feel telling us about our organisation? How can we use this information to improve our understanding of team dynamics and organisational effectiveness?   

A place to think

We tend to be very task focussed. We often feel that the best thing to do is to ‘just get on with it’. The thought is that if we can just get through the next few weeks or months, then maybe we’ll create some breathing space.  It can feel somehow risky and dangerous to take time out for reflection. We think that we must simply get stuff done and anything that gets in the way is a distraction or ‘naval gazing’. This is why many people seem to hate the idea of away-days or team reflection days or external supervision. We might think that making space for these things is a waste of time and energy. But in fact, issues such as unresolved organisational dilemmas, an unclear sense of purpose and difficult internal or external relationships, take up a huge amount of time and energy. If problems keep festering it can lead to poor decision making, high staff turnover and eventually burnout. An independent person can observe organisational dynamics without being carried away by them. This external perspective can help make sense of what is going on. Attending to such issues in a safe setting with a skilled facilitator can be enormously re-energising and can really support getting the work done. 

If you think it might be helpful to find out what some independent organisational consultancy could offer your organisation why not get in touch and arrange a chat. Costs are flexible to suit your budget.

Contact pete@coproductionworks.co.uk or use the enquiry form