«The Quadrant Quest» – Accelerating Organizational Change

A highly customized approach to identifying change topics in any organizational setting. 

Von Caterina Mustone (2024)

The workshop was designed for a medium-sized hotel with 120 employees. The hotel was facing several challenges related to cross-functional collaboration, communication, customer satisfaction, and outdated organizational structures. The new director wanted to address these issues in a comprehensive and collaborative manner. He wanted to increase customer foucs throughout the organization, reduce excessive control and intervention, and to empower the team to take on more responsibility. 

During 2 x 105 minute sessions with the leadership team, the most pressing issues were identified, assessed and prioritized through a highly structured and documented process. Discussions were prompted by a curated set of cards that shed more light on the driving principles of operations and the underlying dynamics. Based on the collaborative approach, a shared understanding of the organizational issues emerged, which formed the basis for developing clear ways forward, with commitments from both, the leadership team and the director. 

How might we cultivate transparency and openness to achieve organizational alignment, improve teamwork, enhance leadership effectiveness and increase customer satisfaction? 

Initial situation

The starting point for the workshop was the recognition that the hotel needed to move beyond outdated structures and address several pressing challenges related to collaboration, workflow, leadership, and optimizing customer interactions. Key challenges included: 

  • Unclear roles and responsibilities 
  • Employee and customer dissatisfaction 
  • A desire for more efficient processes and improved leadership. 
  • Efficiency improvements in collaboration and communication. 
Approach & application of method

Preliminary Discussion 
A preliminary meeting with the client – usually 30 minutes – was held to understand the underlying issues and dynamics related to the desired change, and to outline the general purpose of the workshop. We arranged a half-day kick-off session with the leadership team during a two-day off-site event. 

Based on the preliminary discussion, 15 appropriate color-coded statement cards were selected from the existing set, plus 5 custom cards. 

A list of participants with job descriptions and tenure information was collected. Group formations were planned in advance to ensure diversity and to avoid grouping existing teams together.  

3 game tables with each 

  • 1 «Change» poster in A0 format 
  • 20 curated statement cards 
  • 4 blank cards 
  • Sticky notes, markers, M&Ms 

are set up. 

1 A0 «Action» poster hanging on the wall, ready for the plenary discussion. 

The Workshop 
The workshop with the leadership team (group of 12) began with an introduction led by the director, outlining the intention to address the most pressing issues and to involve the entire organization in order to increase internal commitment. 

Warm-up video and brief sharing. 

Work sessions: 

  • Participants, including the director, were first divided into groups to play «Quadrant Quest». 

  • 12 out of 20 curated statement cards had to be pre-selected by the group before starting in-depth discussions could begin.

  • An additional personal statement was allowed to be introduced via a blank card. 

  • The cards prompted reflection and deep insights on decision making, cross-functional collaboration, teamwork, streamlining processes, customer interactions, and information sharing, revealing key areas of concern, strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. 

  • The «Change Map» and «Action Map» helped assess and prioritize the most pressing issues during the plenary session. The «Wild Cards» added an interactive and fun element to further explore organizational narratives, underlying team dynamics and collaboration patterns in a third round of play. 

Conclusion and Round-up/Outlook:  

  • The workshop concluded on a positive and forward-looking note, with a clear commitment to address the focus issues over the next 6 months: new mission statement, workflow coordination, and changes in the set-up. 

  • Continued commitment and collaboration were emphasized as critical to achieving lasting improvements. Participants left feeling validated and motivated to continue their involvement in the change process. 

Results & reflections

A deep understanding of the organization's DNA is critical before embarking on any cultural change initiative. Rushing into the next reorganization only perpetuates old patterns and familiar behaviors under the guise of new structures, roles and titles. Sustainable change requires leadership commitment at both the team and organizational levels. 

«The Quadrant Quest» facilitated an open dialogue across the organization and allowed participants to express their concerns and expectations. The method was effective in visualizing complex issues, in providing a structured approach to decision making, and in further developing actionable plans. 

Insights, pain points, open questions, vetoes or dilemmas should be continuously documented with sticky notes and mapped onto the posters in order to identify issues that arise during the discussions. Such artifacts can be used in follow-up workshops and/or to communicate/iterate the outcomes of the session within their respective teams. 

Time stamps will depend heavily on the size of the workshop group and the change dimension. 

Change Poster
Change Poster
Culture Cards
Culture Cards
Politics Cards
Politics Cards
Operations Cards
Operations Cards
Wild Cards
Wild Cards
Action Poster
Action Poster