What are they doing with the approach now? Capability building and creating high performing work teams in Shell

An interview with Dwayne Koch by Sarah Hill

Sarah: Can you say a bit about you, who you are, when and why you trained as a Structural Dynamics Interventionist?

Dwayne: I’m Organizational Development Consultant for Royal Dutch Shell.  I’m responsible for capability building, creating high performing work teams, this includes Shell’s Leadership Team Effectiveness remit globally. I am also the in-house Subject Matter Expert [SME] in Structural Dynamics, Blanchard, I-OPT and other psychometric tools. Further to this work, I’m responsible for helping the organization manage large scale business changes; including diagnostics, development of change and business strategies, planning and implementation. I act as an executive coach supporting senior leaders across Shell at all levels across many different business units.

A bit more about SD, I was first introduced to Structural Dynamics [SD] and the Kantor Institute Behavioural Profile in 2010. At that time, I was a bit hesitant about the product and the impact it would have. However, after testing SD with leaders and teams, I learned quickly the power of SD as an intervention and quickly became hooked using the approach regularly.  SD became my “go to” framework in my toolkit and I began widening my skillset by completing both the Changing Behavior in High Stakes and Building Change Models programs. I’m pleased and honored to have completed all the Kantor-Dialogix SD programs.

Sarah: How does SD and Generative Dialogue feature in your professional and personal life?

Dwayne: Within Shell, being the SME in SD allows me to work at the senior levels of the organization both individually and with teams to improve their health. Fortunately, at Shell, SD is widely adopted and used. Its reach is far and great. Over the last 8 years we have worked very hard at building a strong organization foundation in SD. We have over 150 faculty that are trained and intervening in teams at all levels of the organization touching approximately 4500 employees. As we have built an in-house ‘train the trainer’ program, I have spent much of my time training HR/OD professionals in the approach. Since we now have such a strong bench strength in Kantor, I’ve shifted my focus to paying attention to the health of the Kantor Community within Shell.

More personally, over the last few years, I’ve been strengthening my own competencies and capabilities in how to really foster an environment of Generative Dialogue within teams. I would say this continues to be a challenge and one that is conceptually easy to understand but hard to accomplish. I’ve been working with a few teams over many years in building Generative Dialogue and I’m learning, it isn’t something you accomplish, it’s something that needs constant nurturing and maintenance.

Sarah: What stands out most for you about the impact of integrating SD and Generative Dialogue into your leadership and/or coaching practice?

Dwayne: Since I started my learning journey over the last 8 years, what really stands out for me is the ability to read the room in real time and separate the moral story from the underlying structures in dialogue. This allows me to make real behavioural interventions, in real time, with real teams/individuals that have the largest impact.

Sarah: What are you most proud of?

Dwayne: First and foremost, I’m proud to be one of the first people certified as an Expert Structural Dynamics Interventionist worldwide. I’m also extremely proud that Shell as an organization has stood behind the SD approach and allowed me to train a large faculty base and community. We have done something special at Shell with SD, that many other large organizations are frankly envious of and would like to replicate.

Sarah: What challenges you the most about continuing to apply the learning?

Dwayne: The challenges continue as I continue to intervene with SD with individuals/teams. I’ve been really taking what I know and trying to use it in different ways to strengthen myself as a SD interventionist. This continues to challenge my model, beliefs and judgement as an interventionist.

Sarah: What excites you the most?

Dwayne: I get most excited when I see individuals, teams and our faculty base struggle with SD. It’s fascinating to watch learning in real time, and to see how people lean in, learn and are engaged with SD.

Sarah: Where do you hope your practice will take you from here?

Dwayne: My intent is to continue to work on “how” to use SD in interventions and really focus on strengthening myself as a SD interventionist. I’m not sure exactly what success will look like and if I’ll ever get there, as SD is such a deep product and the end state could be always changing.