Service Areas

Human Systems Service Areas

We offer services in a few different areas: organizational direction, leadership development, employee engagement, conflict management, and community engagement. These areas cover everything you need for good organizational health. Watch our video to learn more about organizational health. See our media collection and scientific research collection for the latest research and practice in these service areas.

Click on one of the service areas below to learn more about our approach and the services we offer:

Organizational Direction & Strategy

Why do you need organizational strategy?

Every organization needs to take time on a regular basis to make sure that everyday organizational activities both align with the mission and vision and reflect the resources, needs, and challenges of its environment. In other words, it’s not just enough to have an idea of where you are going and how are you are getting there, you must continually check in to make sure that you still want to go there, that you are going the right way, and that you are on the right path. Organizational direction activities are time-consuming (if done correctly and thoroughly), they don’t often yield immediate results, and your clients or customers aren’t going to demand that you do them, so things like mission and vision analysis, strategic planning, and needs surveys are often neglected. If you want your organization to reach its full potential, and you want to maximize successful outcomes and efficiency, organizational direction activities are critical.

Organizational Direction Services

Mission/Vision Development or Revision

Facilitated workshop that helps your team create or revise your mission and vision from the ground up. Utilize the skills, knowledge, experience, and dreams of every individual to create a powerful mission and vision which can also guide strategic planning and goal development. Read a case study on how Human Systems’ mission/vision creation or revision works.

Mission/Vision Analysis

Ideal for reducing conflict and creating shared goals through a common understanding of your organization’s mission and vision. Read the article Make Your Mission Useful to see how it works.

Strategic Planning/Growth Planning

There is a new generation of strategic planning methods that keep your organization responsive and flexible. Some people now call it “emergent leadership”, “creative planning”, “growth planning”, “enterprise planning” and more, but the bottom line is that your organization has goals, you need to figure out the best way to achieve those goals, and you need everybody on board and on the same page for the most effective and sustainable growth. Human Systems works with you to determine the ideal timeline for your plan, depending on the age of your organization and how much change you are planning to make. Because strategic plans are often enthusiastically developed and easily forgotten, we help you build in a structure and timeline of meetings and benchmarks to keep you accountable. Read a case study about a Human Systems’ strategic planning project.

Organizational Code of Conduct

Just like we need strong ethical principles to be good leaders (we use our HS Leadership Principles), we also need a set of operating principles that everybody can agree on so that workplace behavior is kind and growth-oriented. You will use your vision and mission to stay clear on where you are going, and you need your code of conduct to keep you on track. See Human Systems Operating Principles for an example.

Processes and Policies Analysis

Do you everyday activities reflect your mission and vision? Do your management methods and processes reflect the values of your your organization? Consistent practices and processes that reflect a set of core organizational values are a big part of sustainability, retention, and burnout prevention. Human Systems can help your organization establish a set of core values, or practice principles, using your mission and vision and then teach you how to apply those principles to all of your management methods.

Individual Leadership Coaching

Individual leadership coaching can be a great way to develop some organizational direction activities for your organization. Human Systems can also help you identify systems-level challenges and determine processes for creating positive change in your organization. Visit our Leadership Coaching page for more information.

Systems Thinking with the CIM

Systems thinking is the ability to understand how the whole of your organization functions within its environment. You  might know how your work affects your supervisees and your manager, but do you know how your actions effect everybody in your organization? How do the relationships in your organization help or hinder processes and outcomes? The Human Systems Circles of Influence Model (CIM) is an informative and user-friendly way to learn systems thinking and apply it to your own organization. Learn more about the CIM.

Human Systems Articles on Organizational Direction

6 Steps to create realistic, achievable organizational goals

4 Steps to create a strategic organizational learning plan

Mindful Leadership Development

At the most basic level, leadership is all about change, and management is all about stability. You need both for personal and organizational growth. With a researched-based, multi-level approach to leadership and organizational development, Human Systems believes that everybody should given the opportunity to lead, because anybody can effect positive change. In combination with shared goals and a common understanding with the mission, leadership and management responsibilities that are distributed and shared among all will enable your organization to reach its full potential.

Leadership Development Services

Individual Coaching

Leadership is any action undertaken with the intention of changing the status quo. The best leaders are individuals who have a clear long-term vision, and use a blend of leadership and management techniques to continually commit to their mission. Human Systems collaborates with you to turn our research-based leadership principles into your practical applications using a variety of tools and approaches. Our method is goal-oriented and evidence-based. Review the Human Systems Personal Leadership Definition Worksheet, one of the many tools we could use in your coaching sessions. Read what clients are saying about Human Systems leadership coaching.

Become Your Best Leader-Self Workshop

A leadership development workshop is a great way to increase your self-awareness and improve your leadership ability while enjoying the advantages of discussion with peers. Participants will learn about popular leadership theories and how they are applied in practical settings, and have the opportunity to complete personal leadership assessments and use the results to reflect and create a personalized leadership plan. You will also learn about the principles and applications of teaming, and how to determine whether to take an individual or team approach to a project or challenge. We will explore systems leadership theory and applications. Finally, we will look at a leader’s approach to conflict resolution, both on the organizational and individual levels. Review our Systemic Leadership Article and accompanying Worksheet, one of the activities from this workshop.

Systemic Leadership with the CIM Workshop

Systems thinking is the ability to understand how the whole of you organization functions within its environment. You  might know how your work affects your supervisees and your manager, but do you know how your actions effect everybody in your organization? How do the relationships in your organization help or hinder processes and outcomes? The Human Systems Circles of Influence Model (CIM) is an informative and user-friendly way to learn systems thinking and apply it to your own organization. Learn more about the CIM.

Emotional Competence: Emotional Intelligence + Leadership

You have probably heard of emotional intelligence, but after we are able to identify our emotions and pinpoint their origin, what do we do with them? After developing emotional intelligence, the next step is emotional competence: the ability to balance between managing your emotions and using emotions to propel positive organizational change. Participants will learn why emotional competence is important for organizational functioning, and when and how to successfully use emotions in the workplace.

Human Systems Articles on Leadership

Affective commitment and psychological empowerment

What makes your employees stay? It might be something called “affective commitment”

Identifying and correcting organizational weaknesses with emotional competence

Informal leadership

Engage & Retain Employees

How Do You Engage and Retain Employees?

If you have one employee who is not engaged and enthusiastic about their work, it’s most likely that the employee is struggling with the work or may be having personal challenges. If you have multiple employees who are not engaged, then you probably have a leadership issue, a culture issue, or both. The good news is, employee engagement challenges are fully fixable if you are willing to take a hard look at your organizational culture and your leadership style, and you can exercise some patience. Below are some services we provide to help you get your employees happy and productive again.

Employee Engagement Services

Solution-focused employee engagement workshops

The first step to re-engage your employees is to figure out why they are not engaged. How do you do that? You ask them! We can create a safe space for employees to discuss challenges they are having at work, and what they want. We figure out the source of the challenge, and then we go through a process in which employees develop their own solutions. Read a Human Systems article about the advantages of allowing employees to identify issues and create their own solutions for the good of the organization.

Diversity Intelligence Workshop

Our workforce is becoming racially, ethnically, and culturally more diverse. This change can bring challenges in the form of increased conflict and miscommunication, but it can also bring benefits. Scientific research demonstrates that diversity is unquestionably valuable to organizations; the problem lies in organizations’ ability to both diversify and successfully manage the diversity for maximum benefits. The development and cultivation of diversity intelligence, defined as “the capability of individuals to recognize the value of workplace diversity and use this information to guide thinking and behavior” (Hughes, 2016), can enable your organization to take full advantage of the knowledge, skills, and experience of an increasingly diverse workforce. Participants will explore the full meaning of diversity, learn about combining leadership methods with diversity intelligence, and discover practical and applicable ways to increase diversity intelligence in their organization.

Closing the Communication Gap Between Employees of Different Ages (or, Intergenerational Conflict Management)

Multiple times a day, we will read or hear about different generations in popular media and in conversation. The subject of intergenerational conflict is popular and prevalent, but more and more, social science researchers are showing that the concept of  distinct “generations” with certain attributes is a myth, and that this myth may actually be contributing to workplace conflict. In this workshop, participants will learn about the latest research on the concept of “generations” and why people in different age groups may have different perspectives. We will also learn about how the popular media portrays different age groups and how those portrayals change over time. Finally, participants will learn techniques to resolve conflict in the workplace, including conflict between individuals and groups of different ages.

Teaming Workshop or Coaching Sessions

How do you put together a team to complete a project? Which projects require teams, and which are more suited to individual work? You can’t make a team be successful, but you can create the conditions that will enable success. Based on former Harvard professor J. Richard Hackman’s work, Human Systems can lead you through the conditions for a successful team, and how to manage a team to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Leadership Coaching

Employee engagement and productivity ultimately depends on the quality of leadership and management. Sometimes, all you need is a little coaching to make a huge difference in your organizational culture and relationships. Learn about Human Systems’ leadership coaching sessions.

 

Articles from Human Systems on Employee Engagement

Let’s jettison the performance review: 4 Steps to a better system of validation and feedback

Identifying and correcting organizational weaknesses with emotional competence

Conflict Management

What is Conflict Management?

We use the term conflict management instead of conflict resolution to emphasize that we are in a continual process, not heading towards a conclusion. Conflict is inevitable – you can avoid it, but it will still be there, potentially negatively affecting you, your employees and your organizational culture. We have to experience conflict in order to make changes, and we can create conditions so that conflict is productive and the changes are positive. Human Systems offers several ways to create a culture of conflict acceptance in your organization and make conflict a force for positive change. Watch our video about conflict management.

Services for Conflict Management

Conflict Coaching

A good conflict coach will help you look at all the individual, relational, and organizational influences that may be contributing to your conflict. I won’t tell you what to do, but instead guide you through a process to determine what you want to get out of the conflict, and the best way to do it – all in a safe, confidential environment. As we work together, you will learn great relational and organizational conflict management skills that you will be able to use in all areas of your life, not just work. If you are interested in learning more about conflict coaching, please contact me.

Professional Conflict Resolution and a Culture of Conflict Acceptance

Unresolved conflict impedes communication, contributes to inefficient systems, and often results in burnout and turnover. In this workshop, participants will learn first how to create a culture of conflict acceptance – an organizational culture that acknowledges the inevitability of conflict and enables the organization to manage conflict to its advantage. Second, participants will learn tools supported by recent scientific research to manage and resolve relational and group conflicts. Using the information they have learned, participants will create their own conflict resolution policy, and learn how to contribute to a culture of conflict acceptance in their organization.

Emotional Competence Workshop

You have probably heard of emotional intelligence, but after we are able to identify our emotions and pinpoint their origin, what do we do with them? After developing emotional intelligence, the next step is emotional competence: the ability to balance between managing your emotions and using emotions to propel positive organizational change. Participants will learn why emotional competence is important for organizational functioning, and when and how to successfully use emotions in the workplace.

Emotional Granularity Tools

Emotional granularity is the ability to specify the exact emotion you are feeling. Lisa Feldman Barrett, who has been researching the science of human emotion for years, writes in her TED article that when you specify your emotions, you “issue predictions and construct instances of emotion that are finely tailored to fit each situation.” Are you angry, or do you feel betrayed, persecuted, or harassed? Are you happy, or do you feel proud, overjoyed, or content? Our emotions serve many purposes, one of which is to help us figure out how to solve problems, especially in the case of uncomfortable, or negative, emotions. The way you approach a situation when you feel harassed would be much different than how you approach a situation in which you feel betrayed. Learn how to use the Human Systems Emotion Wheels.

Create a Organizational Communication Policy

Most conflict, especially unproductive conflict, happens because of miscommunication, or misuse of communication methods. Hastily written texts and emails sent in anger, people being left out of the loop due to some oversight, and abuse of the “Reply All” button are just three of many ways that communication can go awry. The best way to prevent these kinds of communication errors is to clearly establish a policy that helps employees determine when a text is the best choice, and when face-to-face communication makes sense. Human Systems will walk your employees through the process of creating an organizational communication policy, which will significantly reduce avoidable and unproductive conflict in your organization. See a Sample Organizational Communication Policy.

Systems thinking with the CIM

Systems thinking is the ability to understand how the whole of you organization functions within its environment. You  might know how your work affects your supervisees and your manager, but do you know how your actions effect everybody in your organization? How do the relationships in your organization help or hinder processes and outcomes? The Human Systems Circles of Influence Model (CIM) is an informative and user-friendly way to learn systems thinking and apply it to your own organization. When employees have a better understanding of how they and their coworkers fit into an organization, they will also have more empathy for their coworkers’ position and the unique challenges they experience in their role.  Learn more about the CIM

Talking Circles

A talking circle facilitates the resolution of particularly difficult group conflicts. The first half consists of individuals sharing their personal experience of the conflict, and in the second half, everybody participates in creating a solution. Depending on the size of your group, you will need one or more 2-hour sessions.  Learn more.

Human Systems Articles on Conflict Management

6 Ways to create a culture of empathy infographic

What to do when an employee can’t meet deadlines: 6 steps, including natural consequences

Assuming the best

 

Community Engagement for Your Organization

Why is community engagement important for your organization?

Community embedding, or creating complex ties between your organization and the surrounding physical community, is one of the best investments you can make for the sustainability of your organization. The mutual resource-sharing that happens between an embedded organization and its community will be invaluable to both you and the community. Community embedding can be accomplished with any kind of organization, regardless of what kind of services they offer. In some cases, purposeful and planned community engagement is absolutely critical to success, as in cases of new construction – whether for a community center, new shops, or new housing. Healthcare in particular is moving towards an intensive community engagement model because we are realizing that preventative care is the most effective and cost-efficient way to keep everybody in a community healthy.

Services

Community Needs Assessment

One of the first things you need to find out to embed your organization is what your community needs and wants. Human Systems can analyze existing documents as well as conduct focus groups and individual interviews to determine what is lacking and how your organization can fill the gap. If you are a human services organization developing programs, you will of course want to know what kinds of programs and program design would be more useful. Possibilities for action could be group volunteering, resource-sharing, information-sharing, or mutually beneficial partnerships with other businesses and organizations.

Solution-Focused Facilitated Workgroup

The best ideas about how to engage with the community will come from the collective knowledge of your employees. Human Systems can provide expert facilitation with a group of your employees to develop a strategy for embedding your organization in the surrounding community for mutually beneficial relationships. From ideas to implementation, we can help you at any and all stages of community relationship-building.

Understanding Your Place in the Community with the CIM

The Circles of Influence Method (CIM) is a tool designed by Human Systems to help you understand how your organization operates in a system that includes other organizations, people outside the system, public agencies, and other entities. Discovering how your organization relates to outside current and potential stakeholders is a great first step to further community embedding. Learn more about the CIM.

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Human Systems Emotion Wheel Positive Affect

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