The magic is in the collaboration

Carol Markusse is one of our most recent additions to the Blue Monarch team.

Her extensive business experience, education, and work in human psychology brings to our clients unique insights to optimize the workplace in leadership, staff retention, engagement, and productivity. Carol holds a master’s degree in Project Management and a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology. She is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Industrial & Organizational Psychology with a specific focus on leadership.

And she has a particular passion for collaboration; it runs deep through both her private practice and her corporate work; as she says “Collaboration creates a space for growth and creativity, a chance to bring our unique perspectives into a safe space of sharing.”

We sat down with Carol to talk about her practice and her new role at Blue Monarch. It was immediately apparent that the promise of her expertise has clear and compelling value to both our internal team members as well as to our clients.

First, Carol, what is organizational development (OD)?

Organization Development is a behavioral science approach drawing from the fields of organizational behavior, management, business, psychology, sociology, and anthropology. OD addresses organizational struggles through a bottom-up change focusing on improving employee relationships.

It is a specialization under the I/O psychology umbrella. OD is not change management (CM). Although CM is concerned with organizational improvement it is different from OD in that it is actually a practice area under OD. Both share a focus on human dynamics, recognizing the importance of individual employees in the success of an organization and improving organizational effectiveness.

How can an OD professional bring value to a client’s organization?

An OD professional is able to view an organization through multiple lenses. On the business side, we tackle issues around structure, strategies, policies, and procedures; on the people side, we focus on relationships and human interactions; and we provide clarity around such issues as politics, organizational culture, and values.

What benefits do you see in working collaboratively with other practice areas at Blue Monarch?

Well, as Henry Ford said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”. In a general sense, collaboration is mutually beneficial with shared goals, responsibility, mutual authority, and shared resources and rewards. Specific to Blue Monarch, though, collaboration between our practice areas will certainly provide invaluable opportunities to learn from each other. And on that point, I’ve already had the opportunity to work with our Business Analyst team to craft a client solution. The exercise itself was truly illuminating – each of our many practice areas tends to exhibit a particular way of thinking and processing information, so my time with the analyst team gave us all a new perspective on and appreciation of the client problem we worked through together. And best of all, for the client, our collaboration again proved the old adage ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’.

Can you expand on that thought?

Sure, there’s great value in asking, ‘what happens when the abstract collides with the logical’? Our functional specialties provide a safe and predictable place from which to analyze a client’s situation. In this particular case, the analyst team tended to operate in the black & white while as an advisor I am more comfortable in the grey. A single lens can be rather limiting, so by recognizing and valuing our different approaches we were able to create a safe space to explore ideas not immediately apparent to the sensibilities of one or the other practice area.

The magic in this collaborative setting was that both parties were willing to say and hear hard things. When our ideas didn’t align, we became quite comfortable explaining the why and the how and became open to seeing things from different perspectives. A necessity for the hard projects, for those really interesting client problems, is our willingness to spend some time in the grey before we can get to the black & white!

Carol is a wonderful addition to the Blue Monarch team. Reach out and share with her your own learnings, successes and cautionary tales about collaboration.

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