When was the last time you looked at a Dilbert cartoon and a big smile appeared on your face? Let's face it, if these cartoons make us laugh, it is not only because they are sarcastic but also because we recognize to some extent situations we have indeed encountered in our own organizations. It could stop there and Dilbert would just be funny but what about using Dilbert as an Organization Development tool? But how?
By asking your team if they have Dilbert cartoons which they believe reasonably reflect the malfunctions of their organization and/or their team. You may be surprised by what they will come up with. It could be an opportunity to mix fun and organization development into the same team exercise. Their feedback could then be used to have an open and candid dialogue about what can be done by this team to fix the issues that are under their control. It is very important though to focus the team on what they can influence. If they spend time drafting recommendations for people, who will never look at them, it will sooner or later backfire as your team will feel that their recommendations were not taken seriously. As you, as the manager, drove the exercise in the first place, it is their trust in you that will ultimately get the hit because they will either believe that you did not drive hard enough to get them resolved or that you overestimated your level of influence on the organization. In all cases, you lose... Hence the critical importance of carefully focusing the exercise on the issues that the team can resolve without any outside intervention.