What is a Wisdom Council process?
The Wisdom Council process is suitable for groups that are too large for traditional facilitation with Dynamic Facilitation.
In a first step, a small group of 10-15 people is given the task of identifying and working on urgent issues for the organization. The group is put together randomly – ideally by drawing lots – to achieve a good mix of all hierarchical levels, departments and activities. The important thing is that each of the participants really cares about moving the organization forward as a whole.
This ‘Wisdom Council’ is given 1 – 1.5 days to develop theses and recommendations for the issues that are urgent in the organization. In this process, the group itself determines which issues it will work on and how many solutions will emerge. Experience shows that these are very mixed due to the different interests and positions in the group.
The process is moderated with Dynamic Facilitation in order to find truly new approaches through genuine reflection and intensive exchange. The only requirement is that all theses and solution proposals developed by the group have the full agreement of all participants at the end. This is also where the name of the method originates: the group arrives at recommendations that it feels are ‘wise’.
In order for the Wisdom Council process to have its full impact, the results are ideally presented directly to all interested parties in the organization the next day. Together, the group presents their process as well as the results in a lively, non-fact-heavy and thus engaging way. This allows all participants in the large group to follow up on it, then discuss what they heard in small groups, and then share their thoughts again in plenary. Again, this round is not about concrete action planning, but about reflection that is both deep and creative. It is then up to the individual teams in the organization to draw their own conclusions and, if necessary, to develop concrete measures from them.
Once the Wisdom Council has presented its recommendations, its work is finished. Further Wisdom Councils in other compositions can follow – after a few months or even after a year. These, too, are not given any guidelines as to which topics they work on.
Advantages and results of a Wisdom Council process
- The management gets an overview of the topics that are particularly important for the organization and its members. It also reveals areas that are critical to the success of the organization and that may not be on the management’s radar screen.
- Change happens from within and in the process.
- Innovation and sustainability of the organization is increased.
- The opportunity for reflection reveals useless and even harmful behavior patterns.