‘Customer-oriented service in the town hall’:
Dear Joyce, in the municipality of Balen (in Belgium) a process was started around ‘customer-oriented sevices in the town hall’. From the ‘Consultancy in Groups and Organizations’ course we started with appreciative research (Appreciative Inquiry). Joyce was one of three consultants. During a summit of two and a half-days, the employees of the town hall, the management team, the alderman council worked together with a number of citizens on their vision of a customer- oriented service. After the summit, a number of working groups set to work, with more than half of the organization remaining involved in the concrete elaboration of the objectives. Some testimonials half a year after the summit: – We see more cooperation between subservices, eg. effective colllaboration on communication. – Since the start of the entire process and certainly since the working groups, we have noticed an influence on people themselves: the focus has been broadened and the employers are happier. – Naming the cases: formerly there was a ‘dormant communication’. Now positive and negative things are mentioned in conversations. – The focus is more on ‘what is already there’ instead of ‘what is not yet there’. – Involvement: an employee was ill during the summit. She really felt that she had missed something, because of the colleagues’ stories about, for example, the working groups. This person is immediately engaged: engagement from others is contagious. – First time that a steering committee is organized horizontally around a project in the municipality (regardless of rank and position). – There is enthousiasm in the change, to do things differently. – We talk differently, another language is being used. For example, the working groups are asked more often the question ‘what if’, or ‘what do you need to be able to do something with’. – We speak about each other in an appreciative way and this is also being said to each other carefully. – Things that were previously invisible are now surfacing . For example, a number of employees seem to have a lot more to offer (more potential) than previously thought from their own job: the role of these employees (eg. the spokespersons of the working group). – Big difference with the former: now the focus is on the people, not the technicallity of the working file. Working with Joyce in this period was a great experience. Her primary role as a process supervisor and an inspirer she fulfilled by: bringing ideas into the process by asking questions, creative approach, sensitivity on what’s happening and sensitivity on the energy level in the room. Her laughter and enthousiasm led to the process of change in Balen being approached along different dimensions. Her confidence in the process and in the possibilities of participants in the summit, worked contagiously to the participants. Great to work with Joyce on this project!
– Igor Geubelmans, head of the leisure/ Cultural Policy Coordinator at municipality Balen in Belgium. –