Cross Organization Conversations

Issues involving the direction and strategy of your entire organization have a level of importance and complexity where they are often both of timely interest to all staff members, and require the input of diverse voices. Cross Organizational Conversations are designed to address these kinds of topics in a way that is both effective and inclusive.

Cross Organizational Conversations provide an invaluable source of information to inform strategic decisions in way that reflects and embodies work being done on the ground and the direction in which staff members wish to move.

Participating in the small group discussions that make up the Conversation enables staff members to have real input in decisions that affect their work and in doing so, creates a sense of buy-in and esprit.  At the same time,  they provide  a valuable way to develop and hone your organizational brand.

Lighthouse Technology Associates has developed a successful method for holding effective Cross Organizational Conversations.

Cross Organizational Conversations take place in seven stages:

1. Identify a key goal (e.g. developing a new Strategic Plan)

2. Design your Cross Organizational Conversation and create the infrastructure to facilitate the conversation. This will include implementing a room in your intranet to hold the participant list, share key documents, post a blog for seasoning the message, etc.

For an example see Projects: Building a Framework for a Lasting Peace

3. Invite participants broadly and recruit key participants

4. Organize participants into small working groups

5. Convene a series of small group discussions via video and audio conferences

6. Capture the information that they yield; extract and summarize your key points and recommendations. We refer to this as the ‘What We Heard’ aspect of the project.

7. Use what you have heard to inform policy

We can guide you throughout all aspects of this process. As well as providing technical and logistical support we bring a team with insight into facets of what can be a complex undertaking, including:

  • recruiting participants
  • effectively moderating discussions
  • extracting and analyzing themes that emerge and their relevance for your work

Through our experience we have developed a set of best practices that ensure your Conversation is both effective and enjoyable for all involved.