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When you understand the issues affecting organisational effectiveness, finding a solution becomes simpler.| Kaya Consulting

When you understand the issues affecting organisational effectiveness, finding a solution becomes simpler.

Understanding. It’s arguably the most important step in improving organisational effectiveness. After all, you can’t rectify a problem and affect positive change without first understanding the nature of the problem. And so, within our clearly defined five-step methodology, it’s the Discovery Phase that begins and defines the organisational improvement story.


While our proprietary methodology follows a clear process, it’s fluid too. We adapt the tools and technologies we use at each stage of the organisational effectiveness journey to suit each of our client’s unique needs – a process of customisation that starts with the Discovery Phase.

Case study: A journey of discovery
For a good example of the role discovery plays in the journey to improved organisational effectiveness, take a look at the work we’ve undertaken for one of our South African clients – a large platinum mining organisation.

They hired a new CIO to head up their IT department, but in addition to an experienced IT team, the CIO inherited a culture that was widely acknowledged as being negative and even destructive. The IT department was in a bad place – disconnected from the rest of the business and frontline operations, and stuck in a particularly rigid and ineffective rut.

Working relationships were poor. People were working hard, but ineffectively, creating a cynical, fire-fighting mentality that meant the department was caught in a downward cycle of underachievement.

On top of this, the management team supporting the new CIO featured many first-time managers. This inexperience was compounded by incumbent managers who embodied the negative culture.

The need to transition to a culture of engagement and accountability at all levels was therefore an imperative for the new CIO.

Designing a two-pronged strategy
With the department set on a defensive, war-like footing that had become the norm, we approached the situation on two fronts: emotional intelligence development and leadership development.

We decided on this strategy by conducting a range of discovery assessments, notably 360-degree emotional intelligence assessments for the entire department and 360-degree leadership assessments for the management team.

Discovering the big picture
Our 360-degree assessment tools enable us to build up a comprehensive picture of an individual’s level of capability in a given sphere. In this way, we’re able to create a complete, balanced profile for individuals and then aggregate that data for the team.

In the case of the IT department and its management team, we assessed performance appraisals and conducted interviews, as well as personality, cognitive capability and team-role assessments. We also combined self-assessment with assessments from managers, subordinates, clients and peers, all of which enabled us to pinpoint a number of individual and collective areas of concern.

Our emotional intelligence assessments flagged up the need to nurture interpersonal communication and relationship skills – specifically the capacity to empathise and build trust. Stress management and the control of impulsive aggression within the context of decision-making were also identified as important areas to develop.

Furthermore, our leadership assessments highlighted the need to improve managerial practices, leadership behaviour and capability, as well as emotional intelligence.

How discovery enhanced design and delivery
The Discovery Phase clearly identified strengths and weaknesses within individuals and the team, which enabled us to carefully tailor a program of coaching and workshops. More than that, it also enabled us to tailor the delivery for maximum effect, structuring the workshops and coaching sessions to overcome some of the deeply entrenched cynicism within the group.

The results were felt by everyone
After the two-year intervention program was complete, we went back and conducted more 360-degree assessments. The comparative analysis was conclusive – as a team, the IT department’s emotional intelligence scores had jumped more than 10 points.

At an operational level, the impact was equally telling. The improvement in emotional intelligence scores translated into a palpably enhanced working environment. From high staff turnover and low levels of satisfaction and trust, the team had transformed into one where loyalty was high, with a marked improvement in the successful completion of IT projects.

Learn more about the five-point methodology we’ve developed to analyse and improve organisational effectiveness. Read more of the real-world stories that demonstrate the value of organisational psychology. Alternatively, let’s talk about your unique workplace and organisational effectiveness challenges.


Jan Sipsma is an organisational psychologist and founding partner of Kaya. With over 20 years of international experience as an organisational effectiveness consultant, he specialises in strategic planning, organisational architecture and design, change management, capability and performance enhancement and the identification and development of leadership. He has a Masters of Commerce (Industrial Psychology) cum laude and is a registered member of the Australian Psychological Society.