6 Lessons for Facilitating a Powerful Diagnostic Debrief

6 Lessons for Facilitating a Powerful Diagnostic Debrief

BY Lisa Doig

In the last few weeks, we debriefed a Culture Values Assessment with one of our (favourite!) clients. My partner, Malcolm, and I were floored by the energy and transformation that emerged as a result of these debriefs. We have been debriefing Barrett Values Centre Culture Values Assessments (CVAs) surveys for 20 years now; we always plan for them to go well, so what was so special about these debriefs? We reflected and thought we would share this with you.

1. The Leadership Team is doing the real work of transformation

This client is hugely fulfilling to work alongside because the CEO is doing the real work. By this I mean, he has committed himself personally to his own leadership transformation and is holding the space and intention for his leadership team. When the team witnessed the CEO’s own vulnerability, it transformed their own commitment and the team moved to a whole new level of cohesion. The collective intention of transformation and living their Team Purpose (which was awesome!) became the invisible force in this debrief. Members of the Executive Team participated in these debriefs to about 100 staff. Their job was just to show up authentically and to listen deeply.

2. Create Safety for truths to be voiced

As many of you will know, when we invite staff members to speak up about the culture, creating a safe space for people to be open is paramount. We framed the sessions with Otto Scharmer's 4 levels of listening – seeding that magic happens at a “generative listening” level.  Rather than a “tell” or “download” of the results, the session was a dialogue, to ask the people to make meaning of the results. Having paired shares and small group discussions enabled greater openness and safety.  

3. The 7 Levels of Consciousness Model speaks to the Heart

For those of you who know us, we are passionate about the Barrett 7 Levels of Consciousness Model because it speaks to the heart. It illustrates the ego-to-soul journey and people intuitively “get it”!  There is such appreciation when we share, through our own stories, the journey of being a human being and how our values are formed from our (often challenging) life experiences. Most people do not realise that our values, that are so core to us, are formed from our old stories where we perceived that our needs (ref Maslow – safety, love, self-esteem) have or have not been met. Giving people a somatic experience of this journey, by asking them to stand next to one of the Barrett 7 Levels of Consciousness charts, enables people to connect with how it feels to be in their current state, next in their current culture and finally, how it feels to stand in where they desire the culture to be. When they walk these movements, from contraction (Level 1-3) to expansion (Level 4-7), they have just experienced their own transformational journey. That’s a “wow” moment for participants. It’s not about the organisation, “It’s about me! I am a contributor and creator of the culture!”

4. Share Stories

 In the build-up to sharing the results of the Culture Values Assessment, we first want to honour what is already great about the culture and share stories of when the people in the organisation were at their best.  The energy, connection and pride of these stories had people in tears. 

We could not have scripted this amazing moment! 

It’s not about what’s wrong with the culture, it’s about what is possible, building on their strengths.

5. Hold Emergence for breakthrough

After sharing the results, and discussing in pairs and at the tables, we heard back from the whole room on what were the desired values, behaviours and limiting beliefs keeping them back. 

THEN…was the magic moment, to hold the space and get on a higher balcony. “Now that we have heard from everyone, and we have sensed into the desired shifts and core beliefs that are holding us back... what do you sense is the real shift that wants to happen?” 

All time stood still. 

From different parts of the room, we heard, “COURAGE!”  

These were the frontline people having a realisation – “we need to change, we WANT to change, WE are holding ourselves back.”  

It was an incredible moment. There was just stillness. This was the moment of activating true transformation for the whole system!

6. Spend time, there and then, for people to take ownership 

This was new for us. This was a moment of brilliance from Malcolm. We had planned to spend 15-20 minutes on their personal takeaways and share them with each other at the closing. We were ahead of time, so Malcolm suggested, after people reflected on their biggest insight, their own personal shift, and experiments to test out the new behaviour next week, he asked people to now coach each other with their commitment.  

The room broke up into pairs with intensive conversations – there was a buzz in the room. 

This was an opportunity to integrate, embed, voice with a buddy a commitment, and more importantly, a practical experiment that they will trial next week. They understood that:

“Organisations don’t transform, people do. It starts with me."

I suppose the only other critical piece that I’m taking a little for granted is the deeper intention we hold for the client. We have several practices to prepare the room energetically, connect with a greater purpose and then…let go.

p.s. I want to acknowledge Paul Byrne from the Leadership Circle who has been posting fantastic insights and tips on debriefing the Leadership Circle 360. He has inspired me to share our lessons learned with our #values work.