A story of feedback; from cold passivity to warm commitment.


A small company of about 30 employees was in a tough situation. The co-workers weren’t talking to each other, the atmosphere was tense and incompliant. In this situation, the company decided to carry out a Columbi Work to find out how the current situation was really experienced by everyone in the group, what was it that was causing the discord? Of course, the management had its theories and beliefs around where the problems lay, but they had not succeeded in turning the situation around despite many attempts.

Would a Columbi really be able to change the situation by means of a workshop, create a positive afternoon together based on a result that demonstrated big problems? 

Columbi’s workshop is based on all the impressions that the participants present in their responses. We go through all these words together and from the substantial list we then choose words to work with in small groups. In pairs, words and phenomena are selected, the impact is considered, possible measures and responsibility for an activity are proposed and then the small groups report to each other and the whole group. A normal workshop procedure. But with Columbi, the issues analysed are their own – not someone else’s.

In this case, during the reporting it turned out that different small groups described certain situations in a similar way. Common themes were found which had not previously been so apparent, but which now united several people in the large group. One example was a form; an order form that many wanted to change and improve. From the outside, this was a relatively small problem, but so important for those who handled the form on a daily basis. And it was a problem that has not in fact been at all apparent to the management. 

Now the group itself found simple solutions that could be swiftly put in place, and with great significance for the work environment. Reduced irritation over a stupid form, joint positive efforts to change the form, efficiency in the orders ahead. A small working group was created on the spot – we can fix this!

After this initial exercise, everyone in the group felt more involved, more positive and more committed. What’s the next theme? How do we solve it together? No one pointed solely at their manager – you there, fix this! No, the group took its responsibility, because all the questions and opinions were their own, so of course they themselves had to be involved and come up with proposals for a solution.

Of course, we even looked at everything that was good, because even in the grimmest of situations there are glimmers of light, and they also need to be highlighted, strengthened and acknowledged. Here there was room for positive signals in the spirit of good camaraderie, consideration and helpfulness.

The atmosphere in the room was noticeably better after only one three-hour workshop. Columbi works!
Narrated by Anne Styre