I spend quite a lot of my professional life working in difficult situations with stressed people. Consultants in my area of expertise are usually brought in rather late to help fix a situation and so we spend a bit of time managing the crisis down to acceptable levels before getting on with delivering a permanent solution.
That means that sometimes I am rather jaded about organisations - I don't see many close up that are working well.
This week, however, I had a pleasant surprise when visiting a regular client. We have been working on communication skills (between the Board, lawyers and staff) as well as mentoring senior managers in general management skills. This week there was some real evidence that a change was starting - communication is better, staff morale is better, efficiency is up and, possibly most important of all, the perception of everyone in the organisation is that 'things are better'.
It is, of course, early days - but I am pleased to see that everyone has embraced the new ways of working, and that they have noticed that it appears to be working.
Let's hope that is a sign of the year ahead!